Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Perfect Little Movie

This has been a depressing six to ten months for movies for me. To understand this fully, you must understand that I saw approximately seventy to eighty films in 2008. At least. In the theatres. (That is not counting DVD's and on TV.) And 2008 wasn't an incredibly unusual year for me.

This year has been more unusual. We are almost half-way through, and I'm barely into the double digits.

Last fall's TIFF was disappointing, and I don't know if it was that, but somehow I lost my typical enthusiasm for going to the movies. Part of this is because I got caught up on some great TV like Battlestar Galactica and Mad Men and The Wire and True Blood and Project Runway. But part of it was I just didn't feel inspired to go out to the movies, and every time I did, I ended up thinking I'd have spent my time better watching high brow TV like Make Me a Supermodel or Paris' BFF.

Other than Star Trek, I hadn't seen a film I enjoyed in a really, really long time.

And while I did enjoy Star Trek, a lot, it's not really my favorite genre of film, and since this was my highlight, it felt like AGES since I'd seen a film I truly loved. A film that made me laugh and cry and feel better (or worse) about the world. Last week I went to see The Taking of Pelham 123 (boring) and My Life in Ruins (inane). Not sure why I went to either of those films except that there was little else playing I wanted to see more.

But I finally saw a great film tonight. Away We Go.

What a lovely, smart, well acted, well written, well directed film. Just about everything worked for me in this movie. Okay, can't think of anything that didn't work for me. Don't know why I hedged that.

And nice to see Sam Mendes doing a movie with a true heart after the great but depressing Revolutionary Road. Away We Go is basically about a couple searching out family and a sense of home when they're six months pregnant. Kind of nesting on a big scale. And it's just so genuinely funny and tender and real. At least I'd like to think people like their characters exist in real life. That relationships like theirs exist in real life.

I went in knowing almost nothing about this movie and I'm glad. In fact, if you can avoid seeing trailers, avoid it. Just go. Not that there are any real spoilers in the trailer (I saw the trailer just an hour after seeing the film, because I also went to see Easy Virtue... not as good).

Instead of talking about the story, (or how great Maggie Gyllenhaal was in her small part) I'd just like to mention why I'd like to buy the DVD when it comes out. I've been taking an online class on body language in an attempt to take my characters beyond smiling and shrugging... And watching the pitch perfect performances of the actors in this film made me want to study bits of it frame by frame and then try to describe the facial reactions. One scene in particular, where Allison Janney is listening to her husband talk, while the two of them are out for dinner with the Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski characters, was priceless. With just her face, we see frustration, embarrassment, anger and then a combination of acceptance, defeat and maybe even a hint of love. Brilliant.

And Jim from the Office can act. Wow. LOVED him in this movie. Seriously loved him. Want to marry him now.

So glad I got my movie mojo back.


Kimber Chin said...

I'll put this on the watch list.

And I SO agree about needing something other than smiling or laughing or eyes lighting up (I use that one a lot) with description.

Heidi the Hick said...

I just love him. I don't usually go for the geeky cute type like he plays on the Office but he's just perfect. He can say so much with one eyebrow lift.

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

I'll have to check this's been a weird movie year for me too. There's been so little I actually wanted to see! And of course, living in a fairly rural area, Sunshine Cleaning didn't make it here, which I REALLY wanted to see, because I love Amy Adams. Did you catch that one?

Simone said...

Oh, I would marry Jon Krasinski any day. Any. Day. Beta heroes are my thing. I want to see this one but I suspect I'll have a hard time convincing hubby.

I've had a blah year for movies too. The best movie I've seen all year is "Adventureland", which I adored. It's gone from theatres now, alas.

Sinead M said...

I do want to see this movie, and the reviews have been great, and now with Maureen's recommendation, well of course.

My favourite movie so far, tough one. Loved Star Trek, but I love a good summer movie where things go boom, and saw the Hangover and laughed and laughed, which puts it at the top of my list right now..

Molly O'Keefe said...

What are movies?

Maureen McGowan said...

Kendra, I did see Sunshine Cleaning. I enjoyed it. But it wasn't AMAZING. But good. Worth seeing, though.

Simone, I really wanted to see Adventureland. Not sure why I didn't muster up the energy to get out to see it. That's totally my kind of movie. I imagine it'll be on pay-per-view or something, soon.

Sinead... I must've been in a foul mood the night I saw The Hangover. I was hoping for belly laughs and instead only managed a few chortles.

Okay, starting to think I have seen 10 movies this year in spite of my claim. But about six of them have been in the past six weeks. Definitely had a dry spell.

And yes, Molly, Sinead, I am so sorry. I know my dry spells are like flash floods for you guys with small kids.

But seeing Away We Go made me see the downside of my life in a big way...

Maureen McGowan said...

Ha! I checked rotten tomatoes on this film and it looks like many critics didn't appreciate it as much as I did. Some people have no taste.

Chevy Stevens said...

I've seen the previews for this and thought it looked great. Glad to know it lived up to them! Can't wait to see it. And it's been a dry year for me too. I just haven't seen anything that I HAD to see.

M. said...

What you wrote about Allison Janney reminded me of something similar I thought about Charlize Theron's character in 'Hancock', at the point in the film when the viewer doesn't know what the connection is. Did you like 'Hancock', BTW? I thought the concept was great (anti superhero) and am more impressed with Will Smith than I used to be. Plus, anything with Jason Bateman is good for me.

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