Netflix just put Dangerous Beauty in its rotation as a new arrival. This 20 year old film was a treat. It’s based on the true story of a real, very badass, woman. Continue reading “Review: Dangerous Beauty”
I find it interesting that 2010’s Fair Game is back on Netflix now as a trending selection. This is the true story of how the George W. Bush administration used disinformation and the outing of one of their own CIA operatives in the run-up to the Iraq war. Continue reading “Review: Fair Game”
The Glass Castle gut punched me when I read it about 10 years ago. It’s now a film. As a film, it still conveys the emotional wreckage of a dysfunctional family upbringing in vivid ways. Continue reading “Review: The Glass Castle”
For all the problems and rebranding involved in bringing 3 Generations to the screen, I expected it to be a mess. It was actually quite good. The emotions were real and alive. The performances were excellent. Continue reading “Review: 3 Generations”
Gypsy is a new Netflix original starring Naomi Watts as a therapist who is apparently more twisted and in need of help than her patients. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for Gypsy”
The Sea of Trees is a mystical, mysterious, spiritual journey about love. The trees are a forest called Aokigahara, known as The Sea of Trees. It’s a dense forest at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji where people go to commit suicide. Continue reading “Review: The Sea of Trees”
St. Vincent is one of those feel-good movies where you cry a little at the end but everything works out fine. I love that kind of stuff, so I enjoyed watching this movie get there. Plus, it has a fantastic cast and boasts outstanding performances from all of them. Continue reading “Review: St. Vincent”
Elle Fanning stars as a transgender (female to male) teen in About Ray. Ray’s mother is played by Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon plays his grandmother. Tate Donovan is his absent father. It’s an incredible cast, although there may be some criticism that an actual transgender actor didn’t get the part of Ray.
The film looks to be partly about Ray’s journey, but also about how Ray’s family reacts and reaches acceptance of his transition. It appears to be a bit of a bumpy ride, as you might expect. Ray is still in high school – does he want to change schools? Oddly, Ray’s grandmother Dolly, who is herself a lesbian, doesn’t understand the distinction between sexuality and gender. But Ray’s younger siblings might get it immediately. Here’s rooting for Dolly to figure it out.
The director is Gaby Dellal, who also wrote the story for the film. The screenplay was written by Nikole Beckwith. The story is set in New York City. The release date for About Ray is September 18, 2015.
Let me explain what you’re looking at in the poster for Adore. If it makes you cringe, the you don’t need to bother to read the rest of this review.
From the left you see Lil (Naomi Watts), a 40 something mom. She’s holding hands and making googly eyes at Tom, (James Frecheville) the 20 something son of her best friend Roz. Next you see Roz, (Robin Wright) a 40 something mom who is snuggling with Ian, (Xavier Samuel) who is the 20 something son of her best friend Lil.
Still with me?
Okay, I’ll back up a bit. Lil and Roz grew up together on the sun-drenched coast of New South Wales in Australia. They lived near each other, they swam together and worked together and stayed friends. As married women, they raised their sons side by side and the sons were BFFs just like their moms.
As the moms hit their 40s several things happened at once. Lil’s husband died. Roz’s husband moved to Sydney for a job and they divorced because Roz wouldn’t leave her idyllic home by the sea. The two boys turned into young men who were almost godlike in their beauty.
And then there was sex. Did the sons seduce their best friend’s mom, or was it the other way around? Either way they all consented.
It sounds incestuous and vaguely distasteful, but it didn’t feel that way to me as an observer of the film, or to the people involved in these delicate arrangements of love and passion. The characters had depth and nuance and subtlety as they explored the relationships between the four principal characters.
I don’t want to give you too many spoilers, but I will say that the two women came to the conclusion that the arrangement had to stop. The young men both married women their own age and both had daughters, who learned to swim in the beautiful sandy bay where their grandmothers adored and worshiped them. But that isn’t the end of the story. I won’t give you the end.
The film was directed by Anne Fontaine, a French director. This is the first film she’s directed in English. The film had a non-judgmental Frenchness to it where love and sex are concerned, and this allowed the actors to give a lot of meaning to their relationships. Odd as it may seem to say, this was not a purient movie. It was an intricate exploration of friendship, parenting, love, loneliness, and desire.
On of the most telling lines in the film came in a scene between Lil and Roz as they talked in a crisis moment toward the end of the film. Roz thinks it’s all her fault. Lil says, “it couldn’t be your fault, because you’re the only one who isn’t behaving badly.” Roz answers, “Then it really is my fault.”
The look of the film, with scenes of sun-dappled ocean, sand, gorgeous vistas, beautiful homes and beautiful people was breathtaking.
Have a look at the trailer.
If you’ve seen this film, I’d love to hear what your reaction to it was.