Thursday, January 25, 2007

January 25th Log

2006, Laurie Collyer, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

SherryBaby is a film that both thrives and succeeds on its outstanding lead performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal has proven her abilities in previous independent features (most notably in Secretary or Happy Endings), but this performance may be her finest to date. She completely carries the film as a young women released from prison who is trying to survive the everyday world and reclaim the love of her daughter who has been taken care of by her brother and sister-in-law. Her love for her daughter is her motivation to stay clean, but as the character develops we understand her selfishness and need for attention. Through Gyllenhaal’s remarkable performance, the character becomes one of sympathy even for her flaws. Aiding the emotional core of the film is a well developed supporting cast, most notably Brad William Henke as her brother. There is a deeply strong bound between the two and this connection grows more powerful as the film progresses. This is the feature debut of writer-director Laurie Collyer and she gets great performances from her strong characters. Of course, Gyllenhaal is at the center of it all and you can’t help be moved by her convincing performance. If the film is flawed it is in the forceful moments of clichéd background devices (particularly the sexual abuse of her father). However, the performances work and Gyllenhaal has a complex appeal over this character that the emotional result is very effective.

2001, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France / Germany
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Since I am rewatching all the Jane Austen adaptations this month, I decided to include some films that have been inspired by Austen. Among them is this loveable French film from Jean-Pierre Jeunet. While not a direct adaptation, Amelie shares the spirit and charm of Austen’s Emma, though through the imagination of Jeunet. The result is a film of pure and joyous charm. Maybe too much charm for some tastes, but I can’t resist how appealing this film is. Every second of Amelie leaves a smile on my face. Jeunet creates a visionary fantasy-world of beauty, wit, and humor that is sure to win the hearts of many viewers. As will the lead performance by Audrey Tautou, who plays Amelie, a thoughtful, lonely dreamer who wants to help others. Amelie also longs for love, and when she meets Nino she becomes shy and afraid. This is a very funny movie that everyone can both relate to and enjoy. While the story is smart, funny, and heart-warming, it's matched by the beautiful visuals, and color of the film. A gem all-around! It's wonderful films like this which explain why I love, loving movies! It's just such a true joy to watch, and easily rates among the most irresistibly charming and endearing ever made.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home