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Giles De'Ath is a widower who doesn't like anything modern. He goes to movies and falls in love with film star, Ronnie Bostock. He then investigates everything about the movie and Ronnie. After that he travels to Long Island city where Ronnie lives and meets him, pretending that Ronnie is a great actor and that's why Giles admires him. Written by
When the mailman delivers mail to Ronnie Bostock's mailbox,he raises the mailbox flag, presumably to signal to the resident that mail has been delivered. (Ronnie's girlfriend, seeing the mailbox flag has been raised, seems to interpret the signal accordingly.) Although it may be the convention for mail delivery wherever the director/writer is from, it is not the case on Long Island, where it is the custom for the resident to raise the mailbox flag to alert the mailman that mail is in the mailbox waiting to be picked up. Once the mail has been picked up, the mailman lowers the flag - the opposite of what occurred in the film. See more »
It is so difficult to know where I should begin, especially when, unlike you, I already know the ending. But let us say that this story began with end of another.
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John Hurt is a great actor, and his performance in this film shows just how great. There have been plenty of reviews here that detail the plot and the essential characteristics of Giles De'Ath. What struck me even more on seeing the film a second time is what an extraordinary balancing act Hurt pulls off. De'Ath could so easily have been a caricature, a bumbling old fogey; Hurt shows that, while he is indeed out of touch, he is also highly intelligent and unapologetic about his fusty ways - and he also has the imagination to broaden his horizons. There were some lovely scenes showing other people's amused reactions to his naivety about modern ways, particularly those with his agent.
I've never seen Jason Priestley in anything else (hey, does that mean I'm like De'Ath, an old fuddy-duddy?), but he certainly holds his own in the face of an acting titan, just as Brendan Fraser did in Gods & Monsters - and yes, there are a LOT of similarities between the two films. And I really enjoyed Fiona Loewi's performance as his girlfriend - what else has she done? The smaller roles were extremely well cast (as others have noted, Maury Chaykin is a treat), even De'Ath's sister-in-law, who is only in one brief scene, but conveys a lot about how highbrow and inaccessible his novels are considered to be.
I'm also not the only one who has noticed echoes of Death in Venice, not only in the title and the storyline, but also, I'll swear at one point there was a Mahler symphony playing on the soundtrack - was that another nod? Then there is the artistic convention of the older mentor and the younger muse, which is explicitly raised in the film. There are a lot of interesting ideas about the nature of love, and about how even the most set in their ways can suddenly find a new lease of life.
This is a film that rewards more than one viewing. See it if only for a truly majestic performance from John Hurt, a masterclass in subtlety, defiance and thwarted passion.
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