This weekend brings the Oscars (very late on Sunday night here in Barna, so check your local cable listings), and as these two movies presented today are the last two big Oscar nominees to be released on our shores, I wanted to give them a mention, as we most certainly will be back after the weekend with an Oscars wrap-up.
The film Brooklyn immediately draws yours truly in, as the last half of my life was spent in Brooklyn before making it to Catalonia. Taking a look at the Irish immigrant’s perspective, this sleepy, gorgeous piece is also a study in homesickness. It’s the early Fifties, and Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) is unable to find a decent job in her hometown of Enniscorthy, which is when her bookkeeper, elder sister Rose arranges for her to move to America, where Eilis will have a job behind a counter at a big department store and a room at a boardinghouse with young Irish ladies like herself. The movie, directed by John Crowley, would be too formulaic and somewhat vapid without Ronan’s exquisite presence…which is not to say it would not be a delight…just a bit flat if she were not in it. Nick Hornby (fave contemporary British, male author for this critic here!) wrote the screenplay based on Colm Tóibín’s novel, and he has not tainted those soft touches from his novel, though how I love the Brooklyn depicted here (Italians vs Irish!) and though I personally feel the film doesn’t truly capture ‘Brooklyn,’ per se, it does however grab firmly onto a feeling that perhaps being Irish is gloriously epic. Absolutely a slow delight from start to finish. ###-1/2
In the mornings, little Jack (Jacob Tremblay, whom I swear I thought was a girl for the first 15 minutes of the film!) gets out of bed and greets the room and bed and lamp and other inanimate objects. But what little man Jack doesn’t understand is that his mom (Brie Larson) has reared him on the illusion that their cozy but overly stuffy and dilapidated single room, hence the title of the film Room, is the whole world instead of what it is: a prison fashioned by a psychopath who kidnapped her seven years earlier. The film was apparently inspired by the experiences by Felix Fritzl, the youngest child of an Austrian woman held captive by her father for 24 years and found back in 2008, whilst also recalling the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping and the abductions of three women by Ariel Castro across the pond who were discovered in 2013. Screenwriter Emma Donoghue, along with the performances of the two main stars, under the quiet yet frenetic mandate of director Lenny Abrahamson (Frank) have created a tale so heartbreakingly striking, you feel as if it’s the most visceral experience in recent cinema that you will likely never have to face, thank the Maker. And then comes the midpoint choke hold of the film, which I shan’t reveal here, but thank G-d Joan Allen and Willian H. Macy step into the older mother/father roles. This is a movie that will leave you somewhat pensive and numb afterwards. The performances by all involved, and most certainly mum Brie Larson are riveting, but when she is standing up on that podium receiving her award come Sunday, as she should in my opinion, if you have seen the film, you will understand why after having taken that dark adventure into many psyches with her in this film. ####
And that about wraps it up for this quick, mini-edition of A Bitter Life. Enjoy the weekend, try and catch the Oscars and if you do, give us a shout here at Metropolitan. We love hearing your comments. See you soon all!