Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Soul movies

Maggie says:
Movies are more than movies these days. They're feeding my soul. And I've only seen a quarter of those on my list! Here's what my soul's been getting lately:
  • Capote. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I cannot underestimate the performances of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Chris Cooper. I adore these three actors and could not have been more impressed by what they did with their roles. I'm a huge fan of internal performances, and each of these are very much that. Keener is absolutely breathtaking. As Harper Lee, there's a shot of her by a window with the light illuminating her face that will just level you with her beauty and strength. She's not meant to be a beautiful character - she's strong, she's smart (and we can't be beautiful, right?) - but her wisdom is elevated in the way the camera highlights the lines of her face. The story here - we all know the story - is very well done, especially when it comes to portraying the era and the absolute shock these murders instilled in everyone, and in how Capote's initial curiosity becomes a morbid obsession and something of a vanity project. I love that the movie didn't try and show the community viewpoint of the Kansans in the town of the murders, which would inevitably be full of stereotypes and "let's watch how backward Kansas citizens are" moments. The movie didn't need to go there, didn't draw sweeping conclusions that would have been as backward as the supposed reactions of the residents. See this one. See it to know the story, to appreciate these performances, and to marvel at how the conscience of the movie becomes the woman who's technically not part of the story at all. Oscars all over this one.
  • Good Night and Good Luck. I already wrote briefly about this movie on m-pyre, but here it is: this movie will stand as a great testament to a moment Americans need to remember. It's a testament to the power of the media and a time when the media was willing to take a stand, to make a difference. The acting's great; the casting is superb; this movie is just plain excellent.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I saw this with not one but three dates - my favorite NC girls. Sophie was beaming at the dance scenes, Sally was laughing at the silly moments, and Zoe was breathlessly clapping every time her crush Cedric came on the screen. Then we all tried not to cry at the end, and talked about how ready we are for the next movie. Not to mention the next book, which of course these three are anxiously awaiting along with me. There's nothing like driving your three little cousins home while they're blowing kisses to the guy in the car next to you after the movie because, you know, he looks just like Victor Krum.
  • Shopgirl. I'm hoping Mikaela will write more about this one (she's seen it twice now). M3 saw it last night and we just loved it. Two older couples walked out during the first quarter of this movie, but we couldn't stop laughing and being touched all the way through. The movie's very subtle, and it very delicately balances two seemingly opposite men and the young woman caught between them. The Nation is right: Claire Danes is phenomenal. Her face perfectly shows us her doubt, her insecurity, her uneasy happiness, her fears, her tentativeness, then finally, her true happiness. The line that floored me went something like this (with apologies to Steve Martin for undoubtedly messing it up): "He realized that only loving part of her, instead of loving all of her, had hurt them both." This was a movie that touched me by the sweetness of one character versus the elegance of another, its portrayal of being loved by the last person you'd ever guess to be, and the notion that happiness can find us when we least expect it to, via someone we'd never have guessed.
So what's next? Walk the Line (still waiting for a chance to see this one with someone who'll be into it as much as me), Syriana, Brokeback Mountain (what I'm most anxious to see), All the King's Men (absolutely loved this book), Memoirs of a Geisha (enjoyed this book, although I didn't love it), and The Family Stone (can't resist this cast).

Are there more? Probably. In other words, you can find me in the theaters until Valentine's Day.


Anonymous Jessie said...

Honey, Walk the Line is high high high on my list! Call me if you wanna go together.

And Brokeback Mountain will undoubtedly be one of the hottest movies of all time, if the previews are at all accurate. I cannot wait for that one!

1:29 AM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Hi Maggie! Congratulations on finishing your thesis--feels great, huh? Anyway, I just wanted to throw in my two cents about Good Night and Good Luck--G. and I loved it and kept talking about different aspects of the movie for days. Unassuming, yet so powerful. I want to see it again and show it to all of my classes (even US Hist 1301 which doesn't directly deal with that topic). Go see it now.

11:44 AM  

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