Brief comments on film by Amy.
Some old, some new. Domestic films and foreign too.
Atonement — I went into this movie with pretty low expectations, but wanted to give it a try since it was nominated for several Academy Awards. When will I learn? This movie was like a puzzle that should fit together nicely but somehow everything doesn’t come together. The lovers separated by lies and war, the soldier trying to get home to his girl, the wrongdoer trying to make things right. What’s not to like? Unfortunately, a lot. For me the characters were difficult to understand and the ending was one of the most dissatisfying I have ever seen. It seemed as though the makers of the movie and the writer of the novel (that’s right, I read the book just to make sure I wasn’t missing something; I wasn’t) were trying to say “Atonement isn’t possible in the real world. Everything is senseless and without meaning. Atonement is just the fantasy of a sick mind.” Uplifting, huh? I don’t mind “depressing but true” but this one only qualified for the former.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly — Now here is a depressing but true movie. True in both the sense that it is based on a true story and in its themes and message. I want to give as little away as possible but the basic story regards a man trapped in his body with only a limited means of communication. He faces the choice of sinking deep inside himself or struggling to the surface in order to touch those around him. Ironically, while The Diving Bell would certainly never appear on any “Top Ten First Date Movie” list, and movies like Atonement (am I beating a dead horse, here?) are touted as great love stories, I believe The Diving Bell portrays the truest, deepest love and makes Atonement look like a cream puff (a stale cream puff, no less) by comparison. One disclaimer, however: the technique used to film this movie can be a bit tough on the stomach. If you are prone to motion sickness, grab a Dramamine beforehand.
The Privileged Planet — Our boys are forever watching a Discovery Channel something or other and have learned to patiently listen as I drone on about how just because the narrator says we evolved from primordial soup it doesn’t mean that it’s true. So The Privileged Planet was a nice change of pace. Lots of really smart guys talking about how perfectly placed (as in by an intelligent designer and not the lottery of the cosmos) our planet is both for sustaining life and observing the universe. While not as detailed as others of it’s kind, such as Planet Earth, it was interesting and informative.
Sense and Sensibility — I know what you are thinking: how many versions of the same story line can you watch? Answer: at least one more. This recent adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books somehow manages to tell a story that I have read and watched innumerable times and still have me in tears and breathless to see everything turn out all right. Whether you have failed to see any of the adaptations of Jane Austen’s works or you are a diehard anglophile, this is a winner. I would also recommend Miss Austen Regrets, a fictionalized account of Jane Austen’s later life, and Cranford, an excellent adaptation of several Elizabeth Gaskell novels.
If you want a great classic serial also try North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell and starring Richard Armitage.
A little less light and fluffy than your average Jane Austen but absolutely stunning performaces throughout.
The DVD is 4 hours long but, if you can, watch it all in one go. Pure magic.
The Accidental Guru
The scene in the train station where he gives her the rose from Helston gives me chills every time. I also enjoyed “Wives and Daughters.” I really enjoy the way Gaskell mixes thoughts on class and justice with a great love story in such a natural way. You are right, pure magic!