Films – late March/early April
Wednesday 3rd April 2019
No cinema films other than one late screening of a release that is about 2 years old.
I saw Puzzle as it was an ‘if you missed this first time round’ screening at Scotts. But you can hire it or buy on Amazon Prime. Puzzle is a lovely film, very gentle and quietly sad – but also up-lifting. It is about a woman with a grown-up (teens) but not yet moved out family of 2 boys and a husband whose character is probably the most interesting. I know that the woman is the main character, and she is beautifully played, with a powerful understatement that highlights her almost locked-in life-style along with submerged and re-emerging gifts. Her main gifts are numerical and the ability to see patterns – notably, in jigsaw puzzles. But the man is also a compelling mix of old-school life-choices, inflexibility and puzzlement. So I think the film title is not really about the world of competitive jigsaw puzzling. I think it is more about these people working out a new pattern. There is a story, and the ending was perfect for me though I note that the end was criticised in some reviews. The end is perfect and what I hoped for. Don’t get your hopes up if you’re after a whizz-bang film. A lot of the film is spent with us watching (it feels almost like spying) on the woman as she does her daily tasks. Gentle, not earth-shattering, mildly funny in parts. I really liked it.
Next I saw Disobedience which is free on Amazon Prime. This film is British with a great cast. It is a story of forbidden love and it is set in an Orthodox Jewish community in London. It moves one of the main characters from New York back to London following the death of her father from whom she was estranged. Brought up within this community, she disobeyed one (or more, but especially one) of its key laws and she left. So the film sees her thrust back into the community where she re-connects with old friends, her peers – and also the rest of the group. The film is a very powerful love story, with sometimes slightly menacing undertones – and it is sexually explicit. The explicitness, which is not gratuitous, is important as without this, it would be much harder to convey the depth and enduring nature of the love and also its absolutely forbidden status. I have thought about this film since watching it and I think it is a little gem.
Edie, on Netflix is a ridiculous tale about a woman in her 80s, played by Sheila Hancock, who decides to hike up a very severe mountain in Scotland which includes a lot of solo-camping, and carrying a back-pack that is literally twice her size. I only really watched it because she was in it and despite her presence, in fact sometimes because of it, the film is just terrible. Riddled from top to toe with cliches, weird scenes where there is a lot of scrambling about/falling down/dream-like gazing at a mountain. Worst of all: at every awkward moment, the woman happily stumbles upon the kindness of strangers who pop up and help her despite her being a humourless, sour and unpleasant person and who she repeatedly tells to leave her alone. They really ought to have done that. And it has no ending. I mean, it does end, obviously, or I’d still be at it, but it just stops. I was knitting a Fairisle chart and correcting a lot of (my own) pattern errors otherwise I’d have switched to Brexit or something.
I rented The Dressmaker on Amazon. Kate Winslett stars as the dressmaker who returns from Paris to somewhere very remote in Australia and it is set, I think in the early 1960s. This film is absolutely surreal. At times it is like a macabre fairy-tale, at others, it is slap-stick humour – all very bleak – and at others, very sad. So if you fancy a bit of ‘where the actual f is this going?’ along with haute couture in the outback, murder, sorrow and revenge, have a watch. Great dresses. One or two parts did upset me – not violence, really but just a bit shocking or sad. Worth it though, for the scenes where Macbeth meets Mikado, for example, and the town’s only (apparently, ever) policeman connects with his inner-diva.