I promise I do plan on continuing to blog about other things during awards season, but not today. My parents came to stay with me for the holiday, which I thought would slow down my award season viewing, but it really didn’t at all.
This show is almost unbearably tense. I meant to finish watching it before my parents arrived last Sunday, but I couldn’t watch more than one episode at a time. You can never tell which characters you should trust and whenever you start to feel yourself liking someone they start beating themselves with a belt maybe, or turn out to be a rapist… I know that this is the position that Robin (Elisabeth Moss) is in, but as a viewer you aren’t always clear if you can trust her. Every plot twist manages to take things to an even darker place up until the last minutes. (And the premise here is that a pregnant twelve year old girl has gone missing in remote New Zealand – it manges to find many, many ways to get darker than that.)
Overall I was left with an overwhelming feeling of “what the fuck” at the end of this: what the fuck are these people supposed to do? What the fuck did I just watch? What the fuck is up with Holly Hunter and those women living in shipping containers? (Actually I have a theory that they are there simply to give Robin a release valve, somewhere she can go in Lake Top to get away from the relentless violent misogyny.)
On a completely different note, I have to say I do not envy the Golden Globe voters, how do you compare something like this (a seven episode fully immersive mystery series) to something like Behind the Candelabra? They just simply aren’t the same medium, it would be really hard for me to choose.
I knew from the trailer that I was going to love this movie. And I was right. It’s brilliant, my favorite Coen brothers since O, Brother Where Art Thou? (Maybe I just want them to make more folk music movies? The Coens present “Americana Throughout the Ages”…? I would totally watch that.) I went to see this one with my parents, because it’s about my Dad’s “era” (as he is very fond of saying). I usually make fun of him for his constant claiming of the early ’60s, but this movie really captured a moment in time, and he gave it full marks.
Aside from the paternal seal of approval, what I loved about this movie was its dreamlike quality. It managed to have a plot while still feeling removed from linear time. That might seem like I’m saying that stuff seems to happen though nothing really happens, but isn’t that sort of the essence of a lot of life? And Llewyn’s life is punctuated by the most heartbreaking moments and populated with wonderful (and ridiculous) people. (In particular to see Adam Driver, Stark Sands, and Garrett Hedlund.) Oscar Isaac does a great job at playing numb and then emoting like crazy while singing. (Have I mentioned yet that the music is amazing? Well, it is…)
During The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable this year, Amy Adams referred to David O. Russell as the only “method director” she’d ever come across, meaning that his style seemed to drastically change between The Fighter and American Hustle. And I can see what she means, this movie is both a totally departure from last year’s Silver Linings Playbook and almost a companion piece to it. (How many forms of human desperation and yearning for connection can we fit into one crime caper?)
The costumes, beauty, and set dressing decisions make this initially feel like high camp, but even with their ridiculous hair these are still ridiculously human characters. I’m really glad they got an ensemble nomination at the SAGs because they totally a team here. With a few standouts of course – Amy Adams (whom I have loved since Junebug) is brilliant in this, switching from vulnerable to badass in the course of one accent-switching monologue. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are also captivating in smaller roles.
I had a complicated reaction to Christian Bale in this, he carries the meat of the movie well, but I would love to see him act in a role without torturing his body into the character or hiding behind a mask. I trust that he has commitment, but can he act?
Also “Dirty Work” is an amazing song.
Without planning it, this past week was all about the music for me, that’s always the best part of a Disney animated movie and this one (ironically) warmed my musical theater nerd heart. Idina Menzel! Santino Fontana! Jonathan Groff!
But aside from the songs (which are good) this is a wonderful little modern fairy tale. (And that ice must have been hard to animate – that castle was intricate a beautiful.) Firstly, I agree with pretty much everything this Jezebel writer said. And I second her applause for Elsa’s “wait what? You’re marrying who?” reaction to her sister’s love at first sight betrothal.
Secondly, I highly recommend going to see this during the day on a Saturday, yes I know little kids are distracting, but they are who this movie is for and it was really charming to listen to the little girl next to me try to figure out whether the sister was “nice” or why Hans was suddenly “mean to the princess.”