I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie (which also brings up the point: Always go into movies with low expectations.). It had a decent plot that moved along while “moving” the audience; the performances by the main characters were, in my opinion, terrific; and the supporting pieces of the movie (scenery, music, supporting cast) along with the camera work were very well done. All-in-all a good, solid movie (not Best Picture quality, but good).

The reason this picture is getting Oscar buzz is because of Julie Christie’s performance of a wife beset with Alzheimer’s. This was a fantastic performance by Ms. Christie and I think she deserves a nomination. She is very convincing in her portrayal of a woman in the grips of a fast progressing, mentally degenerative disease. One example of the complexity of her performance is the obvious “acting to fake recognition of people” after she is in the community. However, while I think she definitely deserves the nomination, I don’t think she should win the Oscar. For one thing, I think Gordon Pinsent does a better job.

Mr. Pinsent plays the husband who has to sit back and watch his beloved wife sink further into the depths of the disease, and, in the process, forgets her loving husband and begins a relationship with another man. Mr. Pinsent doesn’t have a large amount of lines, but his body language and, most of all, the range of emotions that he is able to display throughout the movie was astounding. On Broadway and in theater, the ability to “project” oneself is key. On screen, the subtleties and nuances a performance are the difference between good and great. Both actors were able to convey a range of emotions in body language, tone, cadence, and projection, but Pinsent did a better job at it.

The camera work in the movie was good. I especially liked all the outdoor and landscape shots. They helped to give the audience a good feel of the location and the barren landscapes also added to the bleakness the audience felt as Christie’s condition becomes more and more apparent. The soundtrack also added to this feeling. It was very mellow and did a good job to enhance the scenes.

Another thing I thought I would mention was the much better handling of “time-traveling” in this movie. In my review of La Vie En Rose I criticized the movie for not being able to make good shifts in the plots timeline. John defended that movies handling of it by saying it was intentional – I still do not agree. However, as a rebuttal, I offer this movie. There were numerous flash backs and flash forwards in this movie but it was done in such a way as to be 1.) seamless, 2.) easy to follow (and tell which time period it currently was), and 3.) made sense in the overall movie.

A couple of random thoughts:

  • The old woman saying “cluster fuck” was both one of the more disturbing and hilarious moments of the movie.
  • Gordon Pinsent wears the same sweater in 95% of the movie.
  • The play-by-play commentator was easily the best background character. I thought he stole every scene he was in.
  • Moral dilemmas of the day: “Is it cheating if your spouse can no longer remember you? Is it cheating if you can no longer remember your spouse?”