Don’t worry, I’ll be getting a post up about the Golden Globes later today, but I didn’t get a chance to post this yesterday and I have a lot of movies planned this week and didn’t want the next nominee post to be 10 pages long. Last week was a very European one for me (which I guess is appropriate given that the BAFTA noms were announced last Wednesday…)
The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)
Italy is beautiful, and this movie revels in that, it’s very visually alluring, and Toni Servillo saunters his way through that beautiful land in a charming way. But I seriously thought I had been sitting in the theater for four hours when it ended (it’s actually only a little over two hours long.) Towards the end of the film I started counting the number of times I thought “this has to be the last shot.” I got to 10 before I was right.
This may have been because I was tired, or maybe I just don’t get Italian movies. I had a very similar reaction to the much raved about I Am Love (Io sono l’amore) a few years ago. In fact my thoughts about that film – visually interesting and concerned with questions about identity and love and creation but had me checking my non-existent watch – are pretty much identical to how I felt about The Great Beauty. (Though I will say that it’s critique of conceptual art was pretty on point. And it managed to film debauchery filled parties without making me ill.)
I have been meaning to watch this whole trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight) a collaboration between director Richard Linklater (whom I love), Julie Delpy (whom I idolize), and Ethan Hawke (whom I have no problem with) for years, but then my expectations were so high that I got scared that it couldn’t have been anything other than a disappointment.
Well I shouldn’t have worried. These movies are close to perfect. They are essentially one long conversation separated by ten years each. This should be dry I guess, but it isn’t Delpy and Hawke are so connected that watching them come together/fracture/mend/laugh/cry/scream is nothing but a joy. All three of these are filmed in gorgeous European locales, but it doesn’t even matter I would watch these two people talk to each other in a nondescript hotel room for hours.
I got so emotionally involved in their relationship that at one point in this new installment when I thought for a moment it would end badly I protested out loud that “Celine and Jesse are not allowed to break up.” And I stand by that statement.
I’ve loved Delpy since my sorority sister and I make everyone watch 2 Days in Paris so I’m glad she got a much deserved Golden Globe nod.
I don’t understand how this can be categorized as a mini-series, when we are on season 3…but whatever, I only watched the first one, because it was streaming on Netflix. It’s terrifying. I literally had to cover my eyes and hum so I couldn’t hear the screams of the victims in a few episodes. But I kept watching for two reasons: 1-Ruth Wilson as the psychopath in obsessed with Luther is the most perfectly cast woman of this award season, and 2-Idris Elba is so crazy compelling and this character is so wonderfully complicated and perfect for him. But seriously I’ll be having nightmares about this one for a while.
The Hunt (Jagten)
So this movie sat on my nightstand for over a week before I could bring myself to watch it, but the premise – a male kindergarten teacher, played by Mads Mikkelsen, is wrongly accused of pedophilia and his life is ruined – is off-putting.
From a purely artistic point of view this movie is very well done, and the atmosphere of the woods and this town’s isolation were established beautifully. And Mikkelsen’s face is fascinating to watch even when he isn’t doing anything, but I couldn’t figure out what this film was trying to say. Taking on an issue like this isn’t done lightly; so I’m sure that the director was trying to make a point here but I can’t figure out what it is. My best guess is something as confused as “we should trust children, but only sometimes and we shouldn’t lead them into saying things but then not trust them later when they deny what we told them happened happened?” I have no idea.
Saving Mr. Banks
And now for something completely different.
I really love Mary Poppins and every single actor in Saving Mr. Banks. Especially Colin Farrell, I’ve loved him for a long time and he is his at the height of his boyish charm with a dark side here. And I want to grow up to be Emma Thompson. (And to have the costume designer from this film make all my clothes.)
But that’s it. That’s all I have to say about this. It’s a lovely piece of Disney fluff. (Though I really enjoyed the snippet of archival tape at the end of the credits…that was pretty cool.)