This is a gem of a movie. Small near perfect personal study of a couple who lose their son and are trying to cope with his death. The dialogue and direction are excellent. The story is realistically told ,not manipulative, leaving you feeling like you are supposed to be crying for these people. Instead you are pulling for them, just as they are pulling themselves together as best they can.
The acting is wonderful- Aaron Eckhart is wonderful as the husband, Sandra Oh is great as the support groupleader, Dianne Wiest is marvellous as the mother of the wife, the young man who plays the driver of the car is incredible.
The problem with this movie is Nicole Kidman. Nicole Kidman used to be a great actress with courage in her roles, emotion, diversity. She still is. Unfortunately, in this film she does not appear to belong in this lower white middle class family she is from which she is supposed to come .
Worse, she has no ability to make facial expressions anymore. Her crying and anger and laughter are all just as well played as ever but she doesn’t have a face to match. She appears to be expressing everything from behind a mask. So sad to watch- in fact ,sadder than the story of this family. She is the real tragedy and a cautionary tale. A brilliant actress lost but still alive and making movies. The Heath Ledger story without the corpse.
Having said that, it is still on my top ten for 2010 for the beautiful script, lovely low key honest story and the other actors. See it, flaws and all. Oh yes, and did I mention that I would go to see Aaron Eckhart read for two hours out of the dictionary ? Any edition.
True Grit- A True Blue Western
True confession: I don't like Westerns and don't get the point of them. Unforgiven was a recent exception. So is True Grit. I loved this movie. It is like a crotchety old friend who has no filter for his words or deeds but you know he has a heart of gold. The casting was perfect. Jeff Bridges was ideal and Matt Damon was creditable and not too cute. The young girl Ashlee Steinfeld played Matty to a T. The dialogue was funny and fast paced and the direction flawless. If you feel like seeing a great Western, or evn , like me, if you don't you will be won over. Great work, Coen brothers.
Barney's Version- A version from an earlier generation
You either get Mordecai Richler's schtick or you don't. I do. I was a little girl in Montreal when guys like Duddy Kravitz and Barney Pernofsky were around. They were post-Holocaust Jews who faced terrible discrimination in Canada. They did whatever they had to do to make money and to feel secure. They had a passion for life too and played as hard as they worked.
Paul Giamatti, whom I have previously utterly detested, has finally been cast in a part in which I find him credible, an ugly, crass cigar chomping entrepreneur. Dustin Hoffman as his father is Dustin Hoffman as his father, if you know what I mean. I found this film funny and poignant but at the screening I attended with my housemate, we seemed to be the only people laughing. I suspect the other, older crowd was too busy looking down their noses at our shmuck Barney. Me, I'm a Montreal kid, turned Scarborough teen. He made lots of sense to me.But then so did Duddy Kravitz.
Happy New Year,
Dame Velveeta Peron