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A movie isn't never as much great as it can speak personally. This
movie does it for me and I'm lucky. This review is thus very subjective
but it comes from the heart....
First, it is a rare movie in which I feel my favorite town, New York as my neighborhood. The town really appears as an endless collection of big cubic buildings, but under the soft menace of the green invasion (trees, garden,...). All the roof scenes are memorable...
Then, McDowell plays an almost introvert woman in contrast to the French extraversion of Depardieu. Sure, being French, I support our national icon, who is particularly in his turf here, but I was more over captivated by the development of the Bronte character and her feelings. From her initial motivation, then indifference to exasperation and finally complicity & deep devotion, it was a remarkable evolution to behold and understand.
Finally, there's also a lot of subtext & subtlety here and it's great for the brain: I mean some things talks to our unconscious and the connection isn't immediate. For example, think how Africa is the main background: the emigration subject, the Afrika bar, the drums, the safari life ... There's also the sweet translation from Green Card to Green House, and the role of ecology... Like I already said, the green tries to grow in every free space left from the rock buildings, which is a poetic metaphor for the emigration...
So, a great romantic story in a wonderful setting & which leaves many doors to open...
Usually, romantic comedies are all the same, concerning their tone and their
dialogue. Green Card` by the great director Peter Weir (Truman Show`,
Witness`!), is a little different, which alone makes it
The film evokes interest right at the beginning because if people don't know exactly what it is all about, they might not get immediately what's happening. Brontë is already married to Georges the French composer. Other directors or screenwriters would have shown their wedding in detail, peppered with gags. But Weir sees that this is not necessary, it would only follow the convention.
Later we have unexpected plot twists and changes in the characters that are not always convincing but give the film an interesting, not too light base tone. And actually, Peter Weir is a too enthusiastic director to make a visually rather undemanding romance film. So he introduces some wonderful visual ideas like the scene where Georges is standing in front of Brontë's door, covered with a blanket, calling her name, while the camera shoots him from inside, through the watcher`. I'm not particularly fond of Andie MacDowell because she always seems even more nervous than my English teacher, always presenting herself with a pained smile. In Green Card` of course, the fact that she is not at all likeable (to me at least) fits perfectly, and one little wonder of the movie is that Gérard Depardieu can convincingly play that he is falling in love with her.
A comedy surprise.
For those looking for an offbeat, uplifting romantic comedy, this one fits the bill. Andie McDowell plays Bronte; she is a young city gardener who has her eye on a beautiful apartment with a greenhouse. The problem is she must be married in order to apply for it. Enter Gerard Depardieu. He plays an immigrant Frenchman looking to marry an American so he will have permanent residency status in the United States. A mutual friend arranges a paper marriage between the two. Bronte gets her apartment; Depardieu has what he wants, also. Unfortunately, the INS suspects it is a bogus marriage and the two have to "temporarily" move in together in order to prove their marriage is real. From the start, Bronte and her immigrant husband dislike each other. Yet, strange things can happen. This is a sweet story with plenty of laughs sprinkled throughout. McDowell looks stunning and Depardieu, despite carrying a lot of extra weight, charms and delights. Nice little touches, such as the scenes where the couple take fake photographs of their honeymoon, are prevalent. Take a chance on Green Card; it's guaranteed to give the viewer permanent smiling status.
Green Card is a good movie. Worth watching. The first time I saw it I wasn't impressed, but then watching it again I found it realistic and refreshingly charming, in that "simple/against the tide" sort of way that is so Peter Weir. He's also done The Witness, Dead Poets Society, and The Truman Show; and Green Card, most certainly, is another of his films about people who don't quite fit in their environment or in the world of their aspirations but are drawn into finding life where probably they were not looking for. The scene about finding the bathroom is both hilarious and very suspenseful. It's funny how in a house, or even in a small apartment, we're never quite sure where the bathroom is. Our first instinct is to ask, even though it probably wouldn't be a difficult move to find that on our own. Now imagine having to deal with that bathroom situation (something you only care about when you need it) pretending that the place where you're in is your house. It's almost like in those nightmares where there are so many doors but which one is the one that will take you to that next level you so much need but have not the slightest idea of what it might really be? I guess the metaphor here is that you keep on opening a chain of wrong doors until you find the right one for you. It's frustrating, but the door was always there, always, with the exception that you never noticed it. Just like in everyday life, love and spirituality might flash into your face as banal sight at first, but they're made of hopes and fears that are always bigger than us, unexplainable, maybe fate. We don't have control of it (the Greeks knew it), we're still the same but again we're not. And here we are, groping, surviving. How do you relate to people and to your present circumstances -- whatever they might be --that is what Green Card is about.
It is no so often that good films like "Green Card" are made.But when they are made,it is not so easy for dedicated viewers to remove such cinematographic gems from their minds as they captivate us to such an extent that we tend to think of them on all occasions."Green Card" is not only a good film but also a film with serious purpose.It tackles albeit in a non political manner, the need to obtain a green card in order to make a life better.By making,"Green Card" Australian director Peter Weir has created a film which highlights the importance of good things of life such as friends,love and music.Much of this film's strength comes in the form of fine performances by lead actors Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell.They look like a real life couple madly in love with each other.As Gerard Depardieu is at the top of his acting abilities it can be said that no one would mind his accented English.A film with an obvious title "Green Card" might be perceived as a movie with a lot of drama but the cinematographic genius of Peter Weir is revealed in the form of his decision to relegate drama to back seat.This is the reason why he has shown credulous romance to make us all believe in the power of love in our lives.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film was a sensual master piece with a ending that leaves you spell bound and mystified as to the fact when will they meet again and embrace the reality of the love that transformed from a relationship that was never to be. I especially loved the garden it was so magnificent and to even imagine that such beauty could exist in a city of concrete and pavement. Bronte has such passion for this magnificent garden that she is willing to forgo all obstacles in such blindness that she does not even see the beauty with in the beast of her new husband until it is too late to really let him know how much she cares for him. in the end you can feel the pain that both lovers have as they no longer have the ability to be together in the garden of eden as with Adam and eve where Adam and eve were cast out of the garden Bronte was left with the garden all alone.
This movie is strangely addictive. Gérard Depardieu displays a very
and charming character who is at the same time a simple and gruff man.
doesn't do the pretentiousness that is so common today. He is
unsophisticated yet not uncomplicated. Andie MacDowell plays her part
wonderfully. You just want to smack her silly at times, which proves
McDowell is a great actress. She is also one of Hollywood's "Classic"
beauties. She is a pleasure to watch not only for her first rate acting
also because she is such a handsome woman.
My wife hooked me on this movie. I am a typical American man, who is usuually into action and SciFi movies. I usually run screaming from romantic movies. The fact that this is a Romantic COMEDY made it fun to watch. Depardieu plays the large "oafish" commoner to a "T". He is a very funny man indeed, as well as a first rate actor in his own right. He is not in enough movies, IMNSHO.
I wish the studio that owns this would release it on DVD in the US.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Green Card was made at the time Peter Weir had been making an attempt
to break into the Hollywood mainstream. In his native Australia, Weir
made some offbeat but effective horror/fantasy films, in particular the
beautiful, atmospheric and very eerie Picnic at Hanging Rock. After the
move to America, Weir's output has become somewhat sporadic, but his
films are never less than interesting and have a refreshing
intelligence among the predictability's of US fodder.
Green Card was Weir's first film after having huge success the year before with the excellent Dead Poets Society. And while perhaps a little more straightforward than what he usually goes in for, Green Card is a superior rom-com that mostly avoids the clichés that come with the genre.
Green Card has a plot that could easily be built out into a US sitcom. An American woman marries a Frenchman so he can get his green card. And she can get the apartment of her dreams, which is available only to married couples. When Immigration start snooping around, they have to put on the pretence of being married, and that includes friends and family. Naturally they're different in every way. She's a prissy, prim and pretentious snob. He's a crude, rude, and lewd slob. But they're falling in love anyway.
Its a credit to Peter Weir's skills as a storyteller that he can make such a contrived scenario fly. But he does. Obviously a personal project for Weir, he wrote, produced and directed it. Which means his unique vision is stamped upon every aspect of the film. In the hands of a more pedestrian writer/director, Green Card would have you running for the nearest exit, but Weir's confident, assured direction hits a lot of the right notes.
There's a common theme that runs through much of Peter Weir's films. An outsider in a foreign land. In The Truman Show, Jim Carrey was a real man surrounded by a fictitious world. In Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams was a free-thinking teacher at a conservative prep school. And in Green Card, Gerard Depardieu is a foreigner in America.
I think Peter Weir shares a special kinship with Depardieu's character, Georges. They're both foreign men trying to work in an alien land. Weir's script refreshingly avoids all the usual clichés. It never has Georges as a bumbling, blithering idiot bound by the language barrier, as other filmmakers would have been tempted to do just to get easy laughs. Green Card attains much of its mileage from Georges quiet awe of his adopted country, and his slow discovery of the woman he married out of convenience.
In his first English speaking role, Gerard Depardieu does very well. In fact he does much better than he has in any of his subsequent film roles. He never overplays his hand, or makes Georges too broad as a character. His acting almost verges on minimalism, but he gets across to the audience without ever sacrificing his realism.
Andie MacDowell spends all her time now promoting Loreal, but Green Card shows there was a time when she actually did concentrate on an acting career. I've never been much of a fan of Andie MacDowell. Although radiant, she often seems rather remote as an actress. Like she prefers to keep the people she works with at a distance. Despite the occasional gem like Groundhog Day, MacDowell hardly ever impresses as an actress.
In the case of Green Card, Peter Weir has made the wise choice of creating a character for her she's suited too. Bronte is supposed to be an aloof, distant society gal, and its something that fits Andie MacDowell's temperament perfectly. Her quiet exasperation with Georges' lifestyle is very amusing, and even if her timing is slightly off, most of the lines Weir gives her are usually on the nose.
Green Card is one of the few films where we have the rare pleasure of seeing the extremely underrated Bebe Neuwirth in a major role. And she doesn't disappoint as Bronte's spontaneous, larger than life friend Lauren. Bebe Neuwirth always has tremendous charisma, and never fails to dominate the screen. Best known for playing humourless ice maiden Lilith Sternin in Cheers and Frasier, Neuwirth is one of Hollywood's unsung actresses.
Lauren's observations over Georges and Bronte's 'relationship' are hilarious. Neuwirth has an uncanny ability to be eye-wateringly funny and then turn serious at a moment's notice. In fact one suspects she would have made a much better Bronte than MacDowell does. Bebe Neuwirth is by far the better actress, and its sad she's not in the film more often. She lights up the screen whenever she's around. Love the look on her face after she hears Georges' piano concerto at a plush dinner party! Worth the price of admission alone!
Peter Weir's films are often lush and attractive to look at and Green Card is no exception. We get to see some beautiful photography in Bronte's greenhouse. Lush greens and relaxing streams. Beautiful sunsets highlighted by the Manhattan skyline. Accompanied to a wonderful whimsical film score by Hans Zimmer, with haunting vocals from an uncredited Enya.
As things draw to a close, Green Card becomes quite intense. We know that Georges and Bronte are getting closer, but the Immigration interview hangs over them both. They desperately need to get their stories straight if they ever hope to get through this. And much as he did in Dead Poets Society, Peter Weir shocks one and all by ending things on a real downer. They don't succeed. And Georges is deported back to France, just as they've admitted their love for each other.
Green Card may not be one of Peter Weir's classic films, but its a refreshing antidote to Hollywood's sugary sweet romantic comedy genre. It has an intelligent stride that is very fulfilling, and an ending that will leave you depressed for days afterwards.
A romantic comedy-drama really, with far fewer laughs and much more sentiment than typical for the genre, though seemingly based on the favourite romcom premise that two people thrown into a position of intimacy for an extended period will inevitably fall into a touching and romantic love no matter how incompatible they at first appear. Depardieu comes across very well, though really doesn't need to try very hard to pull off the fairly stereotypical 'big french feller' he plays here, and MacDowell is her usual droney-voiced, moody-faced self, there to look pretty but prim rather than inspire any great feeling. The story ambles along nicely, taking in most of the standard licks of the genre ? impressing the friends, the family, high jinks with the neighbours, bad behaviour and heroism, shouting and laughing together to illustrate how love can emerge from conflict. Not hugely funny or romantic, but very nice to see that a romantic leading man could still smoke, drink and eat lots of butter in health-obsessed Hollywood back in 1990.
I'm normally not too much a fan of Gérard Depardieu, at least not when
he plays a role in a movie that isn't French. But this time I was
willing to make an exception and the main reason for that is because I
was interested in the subject of fake marriages in order to be able to
stay in the country permanently. It's a problem that is all too known
known over here as well and I couldn't think of any other romantic
movie that dared to use this subject. That's why I was curious about
George Fauré is a French citizen who has been offered a job in the U.S.A., but before he can start working, he'll need a work permit. Since it's very difficult for him to get one, the easiest way is to marry an American woman. Brontë Parrish loves plants and has dedicated her entire life to them. Now she has found a wonderful flat with its own greenhouse, but there is one problem: the flat is for married couples only. The best solution for both is a marriage, but to convince the immigration officers that they are married for love and not out of convenience, they must move in with each other and try to cope with all the difficulties that this will bring...
It wouldn't have been a romantic comedy / drama if there weren't the necessary complications between the two people, so in that perspective this certainly isn't an original movie. But there is one difference: normally this kind of movies never shows a marriage of convenience, as it is something that doesn't belong in the perfect image of love and happiness that this kind of movies wants to portray. Fact is that it is a 'daring' move - although only to a certain extend - that really works. I really didn't have any problem to believe that in reality Brontë and Georges would never marry because their worlds are too far apart. And I admit that I was still a bit surprised when seeing the end of the movie. Of course their ideas about each other change, this is still a romantic movie, but it was all done in a very decent way.
Overall the acting in this movie is quite good. Despite the fact that I had my doubts about him before watching the movie I must admit that I even liked Depardieu, probably because he didn't have to conceal his awful French accent when speaking English. He more or less could be himself this time and that's good. Also nice was Andie MacDowell's performance and I loved Jessie Keosian as the noisy landlady.
All in all this is an interesting romantic drama - I wouldn't really call it a comedy - that offers a good story and some nice acting. It's perhaps not the best in the genre, but it's certainly better than average. That's why I give this movie a 7/10.
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