Brief comments on film by Amy.
Some old, some new. Domestic films and foreign too.
The Fallen Idol and Daisy Kenyon — Both of these films date from the late 1940s and are fair to midland as far as quality. However, what struck me about both of them, and many other movies of this era when I took time to reflect on it, is their surprising acceptance—and in the case of The Fallen Idol even glorification—of adultery. I often lament this in today’s Hollywood but see now just how far back that thread of influence stretches. The Fallen Idol is a pretty good film, and the performance by Bobby Henrey as the little boy is great. I watched Daisy Kenyon because I love Henry Fonda. Unfortunately I forgot how much I dislike Joan Crawford. I kept waiting for her to pull out the wire hangers and start beating the daylights out of Dana Andrews. This is one of my favorite periods in film history, but there are many other movies from this era that I enjoy much more (e.g., All About Eve, Only Angels Have Wings, and To Have and Have Not).
State of Play — I love a good thriller that doesn’t involve a character who is a member of Parliament by day and transvestite psychopath by night. You would be surprised at how many political/legal thrillers this excludes. State of Play happily is not among them. This mini-series has so many of my favorite actors who aren’t big stars that I can’t name them all. (And since they aren’t big stars, frankly half the time I can’t remember their names and then have go to IMDB in order to remember what they were in that I liked so much). State of Play has all the great elements of suspense: murder, affairs, lots of people with cool accents running around the city of London. If you like this one, you might also want to check out Horatio Hornblower which A&E did along with the BBC. While it takes place in a different period, isn’t political at all, and is set mostly on ships in service of His Majesty the King, most of the actors in both of them are British.
Lars and the Real Girl— While certainly not for everyone, I loved the spirit of this movie and the performances were great. Surprisingly clean for a movie in which one of the major characters is a sex doll. Perhaps that deserves a bit of explanation. Lars is a loner living a very quite life in his brother and sister-in-law’s garage apartment. He begins “dating” Bianca, a sex doll he ordered through the internet. Upon the advice of their family doctor, Lars’ family and friends go along with it. I love the dig at modern medicine and its propensity to want to drug everyone in sight and the message that love and acceptance can be the ultimate healer. And this isn’t Hollywood “If you don’t agree with me, then shut up!” acceptance. It’s acceptance motivated by genuine sympathy and compassion. There are even multiple positive Christian folk in the movie. That has to be a first!