Friday, August 18, 2006

Two Films

We watched two films this week which, by coincidence, dealt with the dynamics of family life; in particular the emotional fallout from divorce. And that’s about the only thing they had in common. The Squid and the Whale is a well-intentioned, but simplistic moral tale marred by a predictable screenplay and one-dimensional characters. I couldn’t escape the feeling that what we were watching was a mere transcription of the director's own life with none of the magic, the je ne sais quoi that elevates the mundane into something special. In complete contrast, The Ballad of Jack and Rose is a moving, multifaceted experience with complex, unpredictable people (though one of the sons does come close to your common-or-garden angsty teen), and an unexpected, but totally plausible narrative. Alongside Transamerica, this is the best film I've seen this year, followed by Breakfast on Pluto, Brokeback Mountain, and The Wind That Shakes the Barley.


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