Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Hello. Thanks for coming back!
STILL ALICE was my first film today. Based on a famous novel, this is the story of a linguistics professor who is dealing with early onset Alzheimer’s. We learn in the film that diagnosis can come late in highly educated people – as they learn to have tricks to help retain their memory. Julianne Moore plays the lead in this film, and she’s terrific. This is a sad story due to the fact that we’re watching the terrible effects of a hideous disease…but Moore brings such humanity to the role that you can’t let go.
There’s no trailer for this film yet, but you can hear Julianne talk about the film below.
With a screenplay by Nick Hornby (who attended the screening), WILD is based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed’s hike up the Pacific Crest Trail. Played by Reese Witherspoon (Oscar buzz is well underway), the story starts at the middle of her hike and circles back to the beginning…but the beginning of the hike isn’t the beginning of the story. Through a series of flashbacks, we fully begin to understand why she’s taking this grueling journey. For the first 15 minutes of this film, I was skeptical…but then it reeled me in. The real Cheryl Strayed attended this screening, and had a lot of eloquent things to say about her journey – both physical and emotional.
PHOENIX was next. This is the story of Nelly, a concentration camp survivor who has reconstructive facial surgery upon coming back into society. After she recovers, she begins the search in post-war Berlin for her husband – who may have betrayed her to the Nazis. Upon finding him, he doesn’t recognize her, and they begin a tension-filled game that is bound to reveal the truth. The concept of this film is a little hard to believe initially. Really? He didn’t recognize her? But if you let that go, everything else is spectacular. The production design, the tension and the performances.
Sorry…no subtitles trailer yet.
My last film of the day was TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT – the new film from the Dardenne Brothers. This gem stars Marion Cotillard as Sanda – a mother and wife who has just found out that her job is in jeopardy. Other employees have been given the decision to chose between getting bonuses or retaining Sandra’s position at the factory. Majority rules…and the vote will be taken Monday morning. Over the course of the weekend, she attempts to visit the other employees and plead her case – even though doing so seems degrading and hurtful to an already fragile state-of-mind. In true Dardenne fashion, the film is truly a piece of realism with keen insights to what makes us work.
More tomorrow! Thanks for checking in!