Film I gotta watch in the near future. Roger Ebert raves on it; my wife does not. I'm generally harsher critically than she is. Who will will: Roger vs. Jess?
Posted by Cosmoetica at 9/26/2011 03:08:00 AM
Posted by unarex at 9/18/2011 07:31:00 PM
I watched this french film tonight and it was good. It's about a mother who is treated like shit by her sons. It's not over the top, but they are lazy, ungrateful, spoiled brats who are about 30 yrs old and mooch off their parents. She ends up putting aside her own desires because of them. Does an excellent job of showing off the family dynamics via body language.
Posted by unarex at 9/17/2011 09:27:00 PM
I checked this one out tonight, as I've been going through the IMDb 250 recently and watching the ones that I haven't seen. It's an endeavor that's been occasionally very rewarding at times but somewhat unbearable more often, as there are a number of films on that list that barely scratch mediocrity yet are highly lauded. This is one that falls somewhere in the middle.
It's a film that is, in many ways, much better than a lot of the movies made at that time. The acting is naturalistic and subdued, the plotting mostly avoids anything overtly melodramatic, and the writing does a pretty good job of making the situations realistic and believable (not to mention some good cinematography from iconic cinematographer Gregg Toland, of Citizen Kane fame). Aside from the over-the-top musical score, which plays rather loudly over most of the scenes in the movie (though is strangely absent from some, to the movie's benefit), the movie doesn't feel particularly dated, at least not compared to most of the movies of that time.
And yet, I found as the movie went on that the initial surprise of the fairly realistic acting and writing gives way to something of a disappointment, for about an hour or so into this nearly-three-hour feature, you realize that there's not going to be much gazing into the interiors of these characters. The situations are right in terms of the writing, but the characters don't really have a ton of personality to make them or the film truly memorable or to justify why it is we are watching these three returning veterans instead of three others. The lines are right, but there's not that "something more" to the characters. We understand their problems, but we don't truly understand them; like many characters in Production Code Hollywood, the good characters are a little too good even with their blemishes, and the bad characters - like the shallow, money-obsessed but also buxom wife of Dana Andrews' character - are just a little too defined by their own flaws to be believable.
Still, there IS some good stuff in the movie, so I don't want to denigrate it too much. If nothing else, it's recommendable for its place as an interesting depiction of America directly after World War II has ended, and despite its detriments, it has effective moments and scenes throughout. Still, though, it's hard not to be disappointed when you sense in your gut that something could have been truly special, that you could have had something more if things had been done just a little bit differently. Still, watch it; you will enjoy what's there.
Posted by Keith J. at 9/07/2011 01:17:00 AM
Watched this last night (streaming) with Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn. At 1st you think it's just a movie about two old people trying to connect and romance one another, but as it goes on, you realize there's something deeper going on. A good 1st film from this new director.
Posted by unarex at 9/01/2011 01:56:00 PM