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a brilliant movie with the best performance by an actor this year
I loved this movie. I'm puzzled as to why Joaquin Phoenix isn't winning every single Best Actor prize that's out there. His performance is amazing, phenomenal, one-of-a-kind, brilliant - the best best of his entire career! This is a film about loneliness, social isolation, the invasive negative qualities of corporate capitalist technology, relationships, sex, fantasy, instant gratification, the messiness of love, breakups, friendships, desires...it's all there.
The screenplay is Jonze's best. His direction is his best. I loved every moment of this movie - the editing, camera work, music, sound, and the fascinating choices of clothing for his character, which made him dorky yet interesting.
I have a tradition of going to a movie every Christmas morning and this was the one for 2013. It started off the day on a high note! Scarlett Johansson deserves an Oscar nomination (she's been ruled ineligible due to her work being voice only) - she gives a FULLY realized performance! A+!!!!
I love EVERYTHING about this movie! (:
First of all, why isn't this film better known? I discovered it by accident on DVD and what a total delight it is! (: Every single aspect of the filmmaking works! The camera work, sets, costumes, editing, (witty) script, performances (esp. Louise Bourgoin, who should be a major major movie star!), direction (I don't always like Luc Besson, but he's brilliant here), great special effects, the best use of animation with live action I have ever seen. I love every single thing about this movie! I love that it is 1:47; some of these types of films are too long but this movie is just the right length. I absolutely implore you to watch the film in FRENCH, and not in English - it's a totally different experience and it only works in its' native language. (Simply go to the setup and switch to French).
French actors get a chance to do something completely different and without exception everyone delivers! I was captivated every single moment of this movie! It's a must-see! And why isn't Louise Bourgoin a better known French actress? She's a total delight!
Le prénom (2012)
a wonderful French comedy/Drama (:
I had a big smile on my face during the end credits because I thoroughly enjoyed this French movie from 2012! Yes, it's essentially a stage play, almost the entire film is set in the upper-middle class Parisian living room of the couple who have invited another couple and a single friend over for dinner. The dialogue is exceptional, the acting is superb (it's my understanding they performed this as a play with the same cast in Paris before making the film; this is why they seem so cohesive).
Two of the cast members were known to me: Charles Berling and Patrick Bruel. Three of the cast members were new to me: Cesar winners Valerie Benguigui and Guillaume de Toncquedonc; and Judith El Zein (as Anna, Vincent's wife, who is very late arriving at the party, so she can reveal that they aren't really naming the baby Adolphe/Adolf, but rather Henri). Francoise Fabian has the small role of Vincent and the wife's (Babu) mother.
I didn't like the film version of Carnage at all, and this film resembles it very closely. This one is MUCH better.
I was surprised the film didn't feel static. It moved right along without any sagging. It's almost all talk but interesting talk. I would be interested in other plays by Matthieu Delaporte, who co-directed and co-wrote the screenplay.
I love French cinema. It's a cinema of actors and dialogue more than cinematography. Films often look similar but feel different.
The one suspenseful moment is that I thought Claude was going to declare his love for Babu. We are misled into thinking it's Anna he's having an affair with, but it's actually Francoise, the mother! Nice touch! Especially since everyone, including the audience, thinks he's gay! (:
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
Superb phenomenal brilliant wonderful movie! (:
A+! Wish I could give it more than a 10! Let's start with Emma Thompson's tour-de-force comedy performance as Mrs. Travers. I think this is the best work she has done since "Howard's End", and she has been wonderful in so many movies and television projects since then; she hits every right note! I hope the Academy has the good sense to nominate her for Best Actress (Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson and one other actress TBD, as far as I'm concerned).
Colin Farrell is brilliant as Travers Goff, Helen's (Pamela's) alcoholic father, who works at a bank in the Australian outback. The Australian scenes were strange to me at first, but grew on me, and made sense by the end of the picture just fine. The camera work is absolutely astounding! The little girl is terrific, and so is everyone else in the flashback scenes. The costumes, sets, writing...everything is brilliant! Tom Hanks is terrific in a supporting performance as Walt Disney. He doesn't sound or look all that much like the real Walt but he is still quite good. His long speech at the end works effectively.
Paul Giammatti plays Ralph, Mrs. Travers Hollywood driver during her stay there working on the screenplay with the Disney team. He was quite touching. He's an actor I don't usually like but I like his work here.
The use of the music from Mary Poppins, the actual scenes from the movie, the film editing...everything works! (: John Lee Hancock deserves an Oscar nomination as Best Director - doubt he will get one, since he isn't well known, but he deserves one for the fluidity of the scenes, the meshing of the different components, and the fact that the film is a drama and yet has a comedic masterpiece of acting at it's center.
I loved everything about this movie! A+!!!!
The Dark Corner (1946)
Mark Stevens and Lucille Ball are wonderful in this fascinating noir!
Why didn't Mark Stevens become a bigger star? He is charismatic, a good actor, sturdy, and interesting. He had a few good roles and then faded away. Even the billing went against him: why is he fourth billed, when he is the lead in the movie? Lucy is terrific in her best dramatic role of her career. Romantic, solid, moral, believable - she's wonderful.
Love the contrast between the two New Yorks: the seamy side of lower-class lives and the beautiful wealthy New York that Webb and Kreuger inhabit.
Joe MacDonald is the real star of the movie: his camera-work, combined with superb editing, makes this movie visually appealing and exciting throughout.
Sorry to read that Lucy had a bad experience with Henry Hathaway, the director of the movie ): His bullying didn't hamper her excellent performance.
I particularly love the 1945-1953 black and white movies at Twentieth Century-Fox - they moved out of the studio but unlike later the films were still in gorgeous black and white. It was a big mistake starting in 1967 to make almost all movies in realistic color ): This movie is definitely worth seeking out.
Bus Palladium (2010)
a wonderful french rock musical (:
This is an excellent rock musical with a twist: the rock group is French! Marc-Andre Grondin and Arthur Dupont excel in the lead roles - 2 best friends who have unexplored jealousy and deeper unexplored secrets each is keeping from the other.
The music is terrific and I don't even really like rock n' roll all that much! The editing and sound of the music sequences is excellent, and I especially like the scenes in the studio and the creating of the music.
Each and every character is differentiated and interesting. The camera work is stellar and all aspects of film-making add richly to the finished film.
What I like most about this movie is the complexity of each of the characters and the intelligence of the characters. If this was an American film, the dialogue would be "dumbed down".
The women are the film are fascinating, particularly the female record producer and her relationship with the drummer in the group.
I am grateful for TV5MONDE for airing this movie! (:
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Echoes of A Streetcar Named Desire
I kept thinking about Blanche Dubois and Streetcar during this superb Woody Allen drama. Jasmine (jeanette) = Blanche; Ginger = Stella; Derek = Mitch; Chili = Stanley (sort of)... This is a superb film about mental illness, money vs. not having money, class, self deception, complex sister relationships...
Cate Blanchett should definitely get an Oscar nomination for her work as the unlikable (but I wound up caring about her, which is the sign of an extraordinary performance) mentally ill once-wealthy now poor very delusional woman at the center of the drama. Sally Hawkins should be nominated for Supporting Actress. Interestingly, they are Australian and English actresses playing American roles (perfect accents). American actresses could have played these roles but these actresses are great too.
Surprises: Andrew Dice Clay (Augie) can act! The film is set mostly in San Francisco! Bobby Cannavale can act a very scary character - I liked how we are kept ambivalent about his character - should we like him? dislike him? be afraid of him? Take Ginger's point of view, or Jasmine's? Did anyone else notice how she starts to climb out of her mental illness when she gets involved with Peter Sarsgaard's Derek - the more she gets her life back, the more she's o.k. This fascinated me.
I felt so badly for her when the dentist took advantage of her in the office; this film was truly scary. Why didn't she press charges? I think this is just about perfect; Woody Allen's direction is superb. The film moves fluidly between the present and the past and maintains strong interest.
This movie is definitely worth seeing! (:
The Benny Goodman Story (1956)
These films are always "inaccurate" but the MUSIC is fantastic!
I loved this movie. Yes, it's "inaccurate" - from all accounts Benny Goodman was a horrible man to work for and with, difficult, and conflicted - but this film IS accurate - musically! (: And what music! Big band swing at it's brashest and most beguiling! I also wish Barry Truex, who played the teenaged BG, had made more movies - he's marvelous! He is completely convincing as someone secure in his musical knowledge and know-how.
Yes, it is bothersome that they don't do enough with period detail - 50's clothing and feel instead of 20's and 30's (the film ends with the 1938 Carnegie Hall concert; he was more interesting AFTER that concert!) It's also a HUGE pleasure to hear Martha Tilton sing too!
Week-End with Father (1951)
The Brady Bunch meets The Parent Trap
a warm wonderful witty cross between The Brady Bunch (she has two boys, he has two girls) and The Parent Trap (fun at summer camp). Everyone in this film is hilarious: likable funny kids, Virginia Field as Phyllis, who assumes she's engaged to Van Heflin, Richard Denning very funny as a fitness nut, Patricia Neal poignant as the boys' mother, and especially, in a comic gem of a performance, Van Heflin - he is a marvelous comedic actor, taking pratfalls, and getting in to one scrape after another. This is a Universal film, and is surprisingly directed by melodrama specialist Douglas Sirk (one of his rare comedies). The film is great to look at, totally enjoyable, has a wonderful early 50's look and attitude - oddly, it reminds me of my own childhood in the 1970's, so I guess things hadn't changed all that much in 20-25 years! A completely enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half. Thank you, Turner Classic Movies, for showing it. Just wonderful! (:
Le fils de l'autre (2012)
One of the most achingly beautiful movies EVER! (:
What can I say? I love love love this perfect movie! Superb direction (I want to see more of her movies!), beautifully written, excellent camera work, editing, sound, extraordinary use of varied music, locations, casting - the acting is the best ensemble acting I've seen a very very long time! Emmanuelle Devos (Orith Silberg) is the best known, and she is her usual superb self, Areen Omari is a revelation as the arab mother, Khalifa Natour and Pascal Elbe play the "politicized" fathers with an aching poignancy, Mahmud Shalaby plays what could be a caricatured "villain" as a complex young man capable of growth, and the two leads: Jules Sitruk (Joseph Silberg) and especially Mehdi Dehbi (Yacine Al-Bezaaz; I want to see him in more movies!) play such complex characters with warmth, intelligence, bravery, and brilliance.
This movie gets an A+. It's the best movie I have seen in 2013 (it was released in 2011 in France; this is the first I have ever heard of it now in 2013).
the "making of" featurette is fascinating. It made me appreciate the movie even more.
I urge anyone and everyone to see this one of a kind extraordinary humane complex intelligent moving and exceptional motion picture!!!! (:
A New Leaf (1971)
One of the finest comedies of the 1970's (:
Since others have recounted the wonderful plot (shades of Kind Hearts and Coronets, but with only one intended "victim"), and others have mentioned how brilliant Walter Matthau's comic performance is, I would like to add how amazing and brilliant Elaine May's zany performance is. She wrote, directed, and was the female star of the movie, in a time when only a few men ever wore so many hats.
This movie is SO worth watching. It took a little time for me to settle in to the odd unusual rhythms - it's almost a half an hour before Ms. May appears at the tea party and turns the film upside down.
The little girl who is "touching things" at the wedding is priceless. The loafers who are cheating Henrietta, her lawyer (Jack Weston in a comic tour-de-force), so many funny lines, situations, and laughs - the odd thing is the affection that builds between Henry and Henrietta WORKS. Not sure if the 3 hour May version would be better or even as good - perhaps we will never know, but this cut of the film is near perfect and so worth watching! I wish Elaine May had made more movies; her voice was so unique and enchanting. I am one of the few people in this world who loves "Ishtar", and of course "The Heartbreak Kid" is a total gem - I haven't seen "Mikey & Nicky" unfortunately, but would love to see it. She scored as an actress many times, esp. in Woody Allen's "Small Time Crooks" (the first funny half of the movie in particular).
If you get a chance to see this movie, give it a chance - it's worth the time and effort to find it!
Les bien-aimés (2011)
absolutely beautiful! (:
I made the mistake of thinking the Sundance channel was showing the excruciating Oprah Winfrey "Beloved" one night and missed this movie as a result. So I had to wait until I could see it on DVD. All I can say is: I simply love Christophe Honore movies (: Is it that he has a gay sensibility? Is it that I love Alex Beaupain's songs? "Love Songs" is one of my all-time favorite films as well, and for many of the same reasons.
The actors in this movie are all simply superb. If I single out Milos Forman it's only because I was so surprised by his acting choices. But the trio of female stars are all wonderful, fresh and amazing. Louis Garrel and the polish actor who plays the younger Jaromil are terrific too. Paul Schneider is an actor I hope to see again in other things.
I found the film exciting, not boring; the camera-work, the editing, the pacing, the music, the colors, even the length of the movie (2 hrs., 19 minutes) exhilarating! This is the kind of film that you have to surrender and allow yourself to be "inside" the movie during it's running time, without reservation.
This is a movie for people who love french cinema, as I do - it's my favorite country, without exception, for movies these days.
a brilliant movie
I just don't get other human beings. I didn't find this film disturbing. I saw this movie about compliance; the way Americans in particular will allow degradation, corruption and meanness to prevail, so long as they get what they want from life, they will continue to COMPLY with a corrupt evil government. This is a microcosm of the degradation most Americans are guilty of on a daily basis.
The performances are superb, especially Ann Dowd as Sandra, which is one of the best LEAD performances (why was she considered a supporting actress?).
I do believe that many Americans WOULD comply with the police, without asking for credentials. After all, juries often side with the police in trials even when the evidence is clear that they are guilty. We learn from a very early age to trust authority. We have to unlearn this behavior and most people can't do it. This movie understands this.
the scam is a smaller version of the scams we go through all the time with our elected officials and our fellow human beings.
The direction is AMAZING; the editing, use of music, the feel for suburban America, and an Oscar-worthy lead performance by Ann Dowd that is haunting, original, and honest.
Truly a great masterpiece of American independent cinema.
Superb movie! (:
Brilliant Andre Techine film, erotic, romantic, with feminist themes, and absolutely outstanding acting performances by the entire cast.
Juliette Binoche had her first important role in this movie, and she shows the promise that she has kept: she plays pretty much all of the different personas she has played throughout her career in this one film! She is sexy, elfin, a "free spirit", confused, afraid...she deservedly got her first Cesar nomination (Best Actress) for this role, losing to Sandrine Bonnaire of Agnes Varda's "Vagabond".
Wadeck Stanczak won the Cesar award for "most promising male newcomer" for his role as the somewhat shy lovesick Paolot. His is the male lead role in the film. I have never seen him in anything else; this often happens with the "most promising actor" Cesar winners. His name seems polish to me? Very handsome and very likable.
Lambert Wilson is smoldering in his intense and driven performance as Quentin. His is really a supporting role despite his receiving his first Cesar nomination for this role (losing, inexplicably, to Christophe Lambert of "Subway"). I have always loved Lambert Wilson, even if I haven't loved the films he has been in (my favorite: "Private Fears in Public Places"). This movie came out 28 years ago and he is still smoldering and sexy today! (Does Quentin commit suicide or is it an accident?) Jean-Louis Trintignant doesn't show up until late in the film but he is his usual brilliant self as an older man who brings out the jealousy in Paolot.
Andre Techine brings out so much in his actors in all of his films. He has a gay sensibility, even when all the characters are straight.
Absolutely worth seeing!
Holy Motors (2012)
I hated every single thing about this movie ):
What a huge disappointment! I really wanted to love this movie. I had read only good things about it so imagine my surprise when I finally saw it and it was a piece of garbage! Stupid, inane, "intellectual" (in thee worst sense) - I didn't care for the visuals, the lack of any character development, the lack of any STORY.
It's always fascinating reading through the reviews on IMDb. There is a snobbishness in the positive reviews. you know, I'm just too dumb to get it. But I do understand it - it's stupid. It lacks meaning because it has no meaning.
I didn't even like the acting, not even my beloved Edith Scob, who has nothing much to do. What a disappointment! I love french cinema. It's my favorite country for movies. But like all Leos Carax movies this one is awful. He really shouldn't direct movies.l I've read how wonderful the visuals are in this film - huh? Dull camera work to say the least.
There's nothing else to say. A complete and total waste of time. Save your sanity and avoid this movie!
The Master (2012)
a complete and total waste of time
Inane, stupid, idiotic, poorly written, poorly acted (yes, I believe so), a total waste of 144 minutes of ones' lifetime. Why was this movie even made? The characters don't grow, change, or have any real meaning. I hated all of the characters intensely. Anderson had talent early in his career but has completely lost his way. Boring! I can understand completely why this was a box-office dud - in movies, you need at least ONE character to care about and enjoy.
I hated this awful movie - dreck! I'm offended by the critics who gave this such a high score. As usual, the critics are wrong!
The camera work was highly praised, but I found the film was very flat for me. What is is with Philip Seymour Hoffman? He is one of a few actors who I really wish would leave the profession - they aren't interesting, have zero charisma, and the camera doesn't love them (Paul Giamatti is another actor who I feel this way about).
Joaquin Phoenix came back to acting for this exercise in ego and futility? TERRIBLE acting performance! Sorry, I just HATED this movie, and I really did think I might like it - "dianetics" and "scientology" would be interesting topics for real movies, fiction or non-fiction.
Les petits mouchoirs (2010)
Guillaume Canet's comedy/drama of french friends
I love this movie! French actors are simply the best and everyone delivers top-notch performances. Superbly directed, written and acted - my very favorite is Benoit Magimel as Vincent, who thinks he's in love with Cluzet's Max. Francois Cluzet gives his best ever comedic performance. I'm not familiar with Valerie Bonnetton, but her scene when she really lets Max have it for his boorish behavior is a standout. Gilles Lellouche deserved his Cesar nomination for his selfish self-absorbed yet likable frenchman who has a case of arrested development. The actor who plays Antoine was new to me and quite good in his role. Marion Cotillard plays neurotic women very well. I was unfamiliar with some of the other actors and I enjoyed all of their performances.
I always find it interesting when they use English language music in french movies - do they not have as much attachment to french songs and performers? This movie is definitely worth spending the time to watch and enjoy! The film is long, a little over 2 1/2 hours, but I was engaged throughout - wished it wouldn't end.
Portrait of addiction
I particularly loved two of the performances: Kelly Reilly (Nicole) and Tamara Tunie (Margaret). My favorite scene in the movie was when Whip (Denzel Washington) is asking Margaret to lie for him at the hearing. Her intelligence and her heartbreak at his request is truly great acting.
I had mixed feelings about Denzel Washington's performance. There were several scenes that just didn't work for me, but other scenes soared. Why was he paired with two much younger women in this movie? Tamara Tunie is closer to his age and is such a great actress, why not pair him with someone of her stature and age? I found myself really disliking all of the drug-taking scenes. However, Nicole's recovery was well developed.
The two scenes of turbulence on the plane were really tense and well-directed scenes. My biggest complaint about this movie is it's length: 2 hours and 18 minutes. I think 20 minutes could have been cut (all of John Goodman's role would be fine by me, and a few of the scenes at the farm went on too long).
I loved the ending. Telling the truth is so rare in movies today. Showing that cover-ups sometimes don't happen and justice can be served - it made me think about today's politics of justifications and cover-ups for heinous crimes against humanity. I was so glad he confessed and he had some consequences for his actions. I would not want to be flying on a plane with someone who was drunk and/or high on drugs! That's the real reason he goes to prison, not the plane crash, at least in my mind. He's finally free. Sweet ending. His son asks him "who are you?" and he says "that's a great question". It's the question we all have to ask ourselves.
Irene Huss: Tatuerad torso (2007)
Superb Swedish Prime Suspect type detective drama (:
Completely absorbing, with a superb performance by Angela Kovaks as Inspector Irene Huss. Great location work in Gothenburg and Copenhagen. The film is a cross between Prime Suspect the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson. The direction, writing, camera work, and especially the acting, are all superb.
Since there are no more Helen Mirren Prime Suspects to see this is the next best thing (and for the very best, the french film classic Le Petit Lieutenant with Nathalie Baye as the female chief inspector). I've only seen The Torso and have two more mysteries to go on this DVD collection! Grade: A! (:
This made for British television movie has astonishing performances. Michael Gambon, Michelle Dockery (of Downton Abbey), Hayley Atwell, and especially Charlotte Rampling. The film is well directed and keeps up the suspense all the way to the end.
Some of the reviews of this have been quite astonishing. I have no idea (other than Michelle Dockery is in both) a reviewer would compare it (unfavorably!) with Downton Abbey - the best British television series EVER. Also people saying there are all these alleged "plot holes". Actually, it all makes sense and is brilliantly done and very entertaining.
But I want to give my greatest praise for the brilliant actress Charlotte Rampling as the older Eva. I suspect she will win a well deserved Emmy as Best Supporting Actress next September. She has a steely determination and a feeling of paranoia after years of stress over being found out.
My only complaint has to do with the commercial interruptions on Sundance - once it comes out on DVD the maddening commercials will be gone.
Mince alors! (2012)
a wonderful french comedy (:
I was pretty shocked after seeing this movie to see that this wonderful movie only gets a 5.1 on IMDb! Huh? Did these people actually see this warm and wonderful comedy? All of the performances are terrific and the chemistry between the characters is palpable and real. I stayed up and watched this movie on TV5MONDE specifically to see Lola Dewaere (a new actress to watch) because she got a Cesar nomination for Most Promising Actress for this 2012 film. I wonder if others are bothered by the subject? Overweight people? It's very kind and compassionate towards all of its characters. I especially love the warm bond between the young woman and the overweight boy (sorry I'm not good with names of characters). The overweight woman who is fine with being overweight is a total delight. This is a fresh look at french society. The direction is really good and I look forward to seeing more of his work.
Keep the Lights On (2012)
an extraordinary movie
Puzzled by the strange reviews of this movie: I have to wonder if they somehow saw a different film than I did! (: This movie gripped me from the very first moment to the last; the acting is beyond superb, and not only Thure Lindhardt, but also Zachary Booth. I understood both of these characters, while admittedly am more like Eric than Paul (albeit I've never done any drugs at all). My only discomfort with this movie was the drug use; I need gay-themed movies than don't have drug use in them, but this particular movie is about a relationship with someone who is addicted to drugs, so it was necessary in that sense (but I wish Eric hadn't done drugs). I could relate to scene after scene - telling someone you like what they are doing when you don't. Staying in a dysfunctional relationship because you love them and learning that it's best to say goodbye; and the mistake of putting too much importance on sex. I've been in a very similar situation than these two characters with a drug addict back in the 1990's and could completely relate to it. (This is why I find it odd that some of the reviewers said this didn't reflect gay culture - perhaps not for them but certainly it rang true for me).
Ira Sachs direction is superb - and artistic. So many gay-themed films are entertaining but not very artistically satisfying, which makes his achievement here all the more special. The script is spot on. All of the acting performances are wonderful (the bit with the guy being interviewed in the documentary Eric is making was particularly great). The chemistry between the two leads is astonishing. The sex scenes are vivid and real (and hot too). I'm surprised this film is so low-rated - it was #7 on my top ten films list of 2012! (:
Louise Wimmer (2011)
Interesting slice of life movie
Just saw this movie today on demand - it's nominated for 2 Cesar awards: best actress for Corinne Maserio (she played Matthias Schoenaerts sister in Rust & Bone) and best first film. It's simple, very low budget, only 80 minutes, and very hypnotic after a slow start. Loved the use of Nina Simone's songs (mostly "Sinnerman") and the fact that the film is very much like a happier Dardenne Brothers movie - she definitely lightens up by the end of the movie, despite all of the hard things that happen to her as a homeless person. The movie isn't perfect - it's too slow, especially at the beginning, and leaves out too much information (back story) but it worth seeing for the central performance by a really interesting french actress.
To Sir, with Love (1967)
I love the supporting cast of this movie
I give this film 5 out of 10 specifically for the great supporting cast: all of the kids and all of the other teachers and adults, except...SIR. I absolutely can't stand this patriarchal sexist jerk of a teacher! he is so incredibly obnoxious and self-righteous.
It's fun to see Patricia Routledge in a film role (she played Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances and Hetty Wainthrop on television). Lulu is great and sings the great theme song.
I love the sense of place and the sense of time (1967). The music, the look of this movie is great.
But the film's attitude is basically the same as Sir, which mars this film too much for me.
There was an American film that was similar in 1967 called "Up The Down Staircase", where Sandy Dennis (splendidly) plays a first-time high school teacher, but in an American school. That film is so much better because it isn't marred by all that sanctimony - patriarchal and sexist attitudes.
I didn't understand that oven scene either, good grief! (;
Les adieux à la reine (2012)
Backstairs at Versailles with Marie Antoinette and her reader
This is a beautiful film, exceptionally well directed, written, acted, edited, costumed and designed. What struck me is that I was completely absorbed in the story from the very first scene to the last one. I enjoyed a different take from a different perspective of the beginning of the French Revolution. Historical figures can be seen from so many different vantage points and I thought a lesbian Marie Antoinette was quite an interesting possibility.
This film for me was mostly about the extraordinary actresses: Lea Seydoux, perhaps not a showy performance but one that kept me interested in her throughout; Virginie Leyoden, a mysterious woman, the object of desire; Noemie Lvovsky, so different here than I have ever seen her in many of her other roles; Julie-Marie Parmentier, still giving interesting performances 12 years after "Murderous Maids"; and especially Diane Kruger, as a young adult Marie Antoinette, spoiled but intelligent, indulgent, she simply doesn't know better, and very much in love with the duchess. I hope Diane Kruger gets a Supporting Actress Cesar nomination this coming Friday.
Marie's impulsive decision to have Sibonie dress and pretend to be the Duchess Poulignac fascinates me. The psychology of being kow-towed to, and the the psychology of doing the kow-towing (british people still bow & scrape for the queen, and all that stupidity).
The design elements of this film need special mention: the superb camera work, editing, score, sets, and especially the costumes, which add so much to the enjoyment of this film.
I hope this film gets 9 Cesar nominations this coming Friday, but particularly for Diane Kruger's performance, which is quite superb!