|Page 3 of 7:||      |
|Index||62 reviews in total|
After seeing the mixed reviews of Guinevere on IMDb, just as British tv was
about to show it, I thought I'd give it a go. I liked it, although I can
see why some reviewers felt it was disturbing, offensive, and pretentious.
Like so many of Stephen Rea's performances, he gives Connie a nervous edge
which makes you believe in him and go some way to understanding why he had
gone through life with this succession of young girls he simply refers to as
'Guivevere'. The focus of the film is squarely on Sarah Polley, playing
nervous Harper Sloane, nearly 21 and a square peg in the smooth running of
her law-obsessed family.
This is a film about love and art, and understanding, and of a growth into something else (Harper at the end of the film is so unlike she was at the start that Connie must have been for the good, or at least that is the message that is being given out). The film reminded me of Jane Campion's 'The Piano' in a lot of ways, and was so obviously the work of a woman (writer and director).
Rea and Polley are superb. The real killer for me was the fantasy sequence at the end which was bizarre and exceptionally moving. 'Guivevere' is a hidden gem, and long may little gems be made in the movie world.
Thoughtfully written, well acted, provocatively true to life... this is a
movie for the intelligent, mature audience, not a movie to appeal to the
lowest common denominator. Those who are too lazy to think (or just unable
to!) won't "get it" and will condemn it because it did not hand them an
answer on a platter. Those who thought about the story rather than merely
reacting and who dug into the emotions found level after level of story and
enjoyed the irony of the fact that even the most intelligent among us
frequently do something we may later view as stupid. Even so, those
"stupid" things help shape who we are, and may be as important to the
formation of who we are as the "correct" choices we also
Worth the ticket and worth buying it on DVD when available.
Technically, Ms. Wells has a superb film here. The cinematography is innovative and germane to the story. The actors all give enjoyable and appropriate performances. The storyline, however, leaves a bit to be desired. I imagine that feminist critics would have a hey-day with this one. I don't buy it. I don't believe the relationships in the film are genuine and honest - it just doesn't work. Ms. Wells explained after the show that she works from a theme and creates her movies that way, and from that perspective, the movie works. If one only looks at the movie for the theme and disregards most other concerns, s/he will love this film. I was disappointed.
The central point of the movie seemed to be that this woman had great
potential and needed this photographer to bring it out. During the
whole movie she never showed us even a pinch of talent and the audience
was left to wonder if there was any point at all. The whole affair
would seem even more horrible and unbelievable if at the end we were
left only with a pathetic May/December romance.
Every aspect of the movie was a cliché. Okay, but this created a critical need for some result to advance this film. We were shown rebellion, withdrawal (in a closet no less!), romance, sex, love and the hint of potential (yes,the development of real talent). For all those promises we got nothing and were left holding an empty bag!
The plot to GUINEVERE is as follows : Harper Sloane a young woman aged
twenty embarks on a sexual relationship with photographer Con
Fitzpatrick a man old enough to be her father
There that's the entire plot summed up in a few words . Notice how the plot is cogently summed up in a few words ? This means the story is rather threadbare and not much happens . The unlikely duo do things together like attend parties , have sex and take photos mainly of Harper's naked adolescent body but even this isn't exciting as it sounds and is in no way intended to be an " erotic " tale if you know what I mean
Looking through the comments on GUINEVERE it seems opinion is very much split as to what the audience makes of this movie . Some people enjoyed it as a character study while others think it's a ridiculous movie . To be fair Stephen Rea and Sarah Polley do make the most of their slightly bland roles and the music is haunting and a line of dialogue " You will have a twelve inch c*ck up your ass very soon " did make me giggle but that says more about me than the quality of this movie
First of all I have to say I saw this movie on video, since it didn't come out here in the cinema. The cast (Rea, Polley) looked good, and I liked 'The truth about cats and dogs', the only film by director Wells I had seen before. But what a terrible miss, this turned out to be. The relationship between "old man" Rea and his muse Polley didn't look believable at all to me, although in one of the first scenes (which turned out to be one of the only likeable ones) they seem to hit it off pretty well. But as the movie carries on, the story loses its promise and gets worse and worse. Towards the end you get more and more annoyed with the main characters and finally you realise you've been watching a terrible movie.
Harper Sloane (Sarah Polley) is a gorgeous and insecure twenty years old
woman, dominated by her wealthy family and has just passed to Harvard. In
her sister's wedding, she meets the photographer Connie Fitzpatrick (Stephen
Rea), an old, weird, not handsome and very poor man, who tells her that she
has a great potential in arts and calls her Guinevere. Harper falls in love
with him. She gives up of Harvard, leaves her family and moves to his
apartment. Pretty soon, she finds that he has used the same seduction by
flattery technique, including the nickname Guinevere, with other girls. But
she stays with him, until she is `replaced' by another girl. After four
years, Harper becomes a mature woman, totally different from the one in the
beginning of the story. This movie is a very weird romance. If the viewer
can buy that a beautiful and wealthy girl like Harper could really love a
guy like Connie and stay with him, probably he will like this film. That is
not my case. Harper is a mature woman in the end of the story, but in the
beginning, she would have to move to Harvard, where she certainly would
develop herself as a human being. Of course, the experience she has with
Connie is great for her formation, but the guy is too much strange and does
not really seems to love her. She is just another tasteful laboratory for
him. The cynical dialog of Harper's mother with Connie is for me the
greatest part of this film, when she says that a looser like him prefers
young and naive women to be admired in his completely failure as a man. My
vote is four.
Title (Brazil): `A Lente do Desejo' (`The Lens of the Desire')
Harper Sloane (Sarah Polley) is a naive unhappy 20 year old going to
Harvard. She meets wedding photographer Connie Fitzpatrick (Stephen
Rea) at her sister's wedding. He seduces her calling her Guinevere. She
lies to her family that she didn't get into Harvard. She pretends to
stay with her friend Patty (Carrie Preston) but instead she's living
with Connie. Billie (Gina Gershon) warns her that she's only the latest
Guinevere in Connie's life. She leaves him temporarily but she feels
stifled by her mother (Jean Smart) and she returns to him.
Sarah Polley is lovely and Stephen Rea is believable. Jean Smart overplays the mother figure a little but she gets one memorable scene. I like this movie up to that scene where the mother talks about Harper being inexperienced enough to be in awe of Connie. I guess writer/director Audrey Wells is trying to be poetic by forcing Harper to stay with Connie after that. The self denial of Harper when she's talking to Patty is off-putting. She needs to make a more calibrated turn earlier but instead it's all saved up for the climax.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sarah Polley is Harper Sloane, also known as Guinevere, a
twenty-year-old blond who has just graduated with a degree in
photography. She's from a middle-class family in San Francisco. And she
(inevitably) falls in with the older ex wedding photographer, Rea, who
is now a Beatnik loose cannon with a camera. Her family disapproves.
Polley is drawn towards Rea. His very touch turns her on. She moves in
with him and puts up with his erratic behavior, by which I mean
throwing her out, borrowing money, getting drunk, smoking, and probably
leaving the toilet seat up.
Yes, there are tears aplenty in this story of a young woman's getting in touch with her feelings. But there are good times, gay times, too, and of the sort that every woman loves. After one split-up, Rea captures her on the street and pulls her to a loft where an enormous and abandoned party for Polley's twenty-first birthday is in progress. Next, Rea takes her to the sunny, wind-blown roof of an office building, where he has built a tall structure of wooden beams with an easy chair and floor lamp atop, for her to sit it, a cockamamie throne. "It's inSANE!", she cries with delight. "And it's all FREE!", shouts Rea, flinging his arms wide.
Of course, little do they know that tragedy always lies just around the corner. But we know, don't we? The writing isn't bad at all. There's a delicious scene around the bleak dinner table at Polley's opulent home. Nobody speaks. They all struggle quietly to pick up their Chinese food with chopsticks, until Jean Smart -- having shed her earlier mannerisms and giving a fine performance as Polley's mother -- has every sullen person read his or her fortune cookie aloud and add "in bed" to the end of the prophecy. Nobody laughs. The atmosphere is that of the Atacama Desert.
Well, some individual scenes may be neatly written and executed, but the plot is extraordinarily dull because it's so familiar. This is the stuff that women are interested in. Men don't give a damn about birthdays and anniversaries and intimate talk. The on-and-off attraction between an older experienced artistic type (they're never accountants) and a naive young girl who needs him to help her find her own way in life, it's the stuff of Danielle Steel.
I didn't catch the end. I calculate that either Polley defiantly throws off the influence of her breeding and takes off on a life of love and adventure with the droopy-faced Rea. Or she comes to her senses and the audience must sit through a bittersweet parting, perhaps with a younger, richer, more handsome man (who has loved her from afar) waiting in the background. Either way, I couldn't care.
It's appalling because I like Steven Rea and I love Sarah Polley. Rea is an appealing and self-effacing actor who never overplays. He was marvelous in the HBO film, "Citizen X." I haven't seen much of Polley in her blond, pale, blue-eyed, fragility, but she gave unforgettable performances in at least two movies -- "The Sweet Hereafter" and "The Weight of Water." Yet she gets stuck in junk like "Splice" and "Dawn of the Dead." And this.
Is this what a college education in America has become? 20 years old and college educated and heading to Harvard law, and no one shows her any respect? No one values her or her opinions? She is left to the lecherous machinations of someone old enough to be her father? Sarah Polley (Dawn of the Dead) is cute. of course some older man is going to hit on her and maybe fulfill his life's dream. heck, I was leaching after her the entire movie. Stephen Rea swings, hits and scores! He shows her respect for her opinion. Pulease! She is a college graduate. How did she get through? I was really disappointed in this film. I thought it had potential and evidently someone else thought it did too, or they wouldn't have given it all those awards.
|Page 3 of 7:||      |
|Newsgroup reviews||External reviews||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|