Jackie (II) (2012)
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Though this is an unconventional reunion story, Adoptees, Birth Mothers and others who wound up in families by non-conventional means will share in the sense of loss these sisters have experienced as well as the inner journey they both must navigate. However, the plot itself crashes along in a nonsensical way at times, and as things build towards a perceived happy ending, the contrived action overwhelms! In such a short period of time, insights and redemption and connection and breakthroughs and awakenings and, etc ..., they come so fast and furious that the "heart string pulling machine" was on overdrive as the plot becomes gratuitously formulaic.
However, during this time when I wanted to walk out of the movie, others were crying and cheering, so you may see it differently.
Other plot devices used in this movie will have to go uncritiqued because of spoiler issues.
The film is carried by excellent performances from the three leading ladies. Carice is truly an extraordinary gem every single time--she's impossibly beautiful AND irresistibly adorable ("cuteiful," I daresay), crazy-good at acting and emoting, graceful, dainty, etc. Jelka holds her own alongside her sister and Holly. And Holly is every bit as great as you'd naturally anticipate. I found myself wondering to what degrees these characters might connect to the van Houtens' real-life personalities and relationship. It's a journey of self-discovery, bonding, learning, love, and growth, and things develop quite interestingly as we learn more and more of Jackie. The drama is amped up by such debacles as running out of gas in the middle of the desert, a terrifying snakebite, being attacked by rapists, the sisters' personal problems, and so on, while the end takes an unforeseen turn. I'd have liked it if both sisters got to do karaoke, since Carice sings wonderfully as well, but that's not an inherent quibble with the script, which gave Sofie her own rewards.
This is also the kind of film whose glorious scenery and RV theme spark in me nostalgia for family vacations and road trips, and stoke my own sense of wanderlust. It's gorgeous and should definitely be on people's watchlists.
We've all been on that road before, looking for that something meaningful we think we lost and finding it after a long search may not bring the satisfaction we were expecting. It's not a long movie, but the slow pace and lack of rhythm makes it the perfect sleeping medicine. Unfortunately you realize you're still in the theater, so snoozing through the credits might not look very nice. The story is not so bad, but the fact that it takes so long for everything to wrap up makes this movie quite a pain to watch.
On the surface this move seems to deal with two sisters having a great adventure on the road and leaving their old lives behind. Already within the first minutes you can see typical patterns; both sisters struggle with their individual lives. The older one is egocentric and career focused, the younger one seems to have deep problems in her current relationship. As soon as they viewer gets to know that both of them are going to have a road trip, the spectator can imagine that this will change both lives and characters. This pattern has always been present in movies, from present to past. (Just as in Despicable Me, The Intouchables, Cruel Intentions, to list a few examples.)
In my point of view, the movies subject is on a different level. Beyond the obvious plot, it deals with the family-ideal as it exists and especially with the relations between its members. Whilst the viewer gets comfortable with the situation, the ending questions which connections and what behavior a family member has to fulfill. And I'm pretty sure that the writers even had some thoughts which didn't come to my mind yet. Furthermore, I think that the spectator has to be concerned with this question before watching the movie. Otherwise it's going to be clumsy and sometimes boring.
Besides, the music and the landscape pictures are beautiful. (Concerning the booklet and the movie's title well, too bad they won't reach the expected audience.)
The best parts of this movie are the interactions between the two sisters. Their conversations and fights seem very natural, and are enjoyable to watch. Holly Hunter's character is mainly there as a catalyst for these interactions, and seems a bit of a waste of her talents.
The plot is very contrived at times, especially at the beginning and the end. A precise plot is clearly not the aim of the movie, which is all about the Van Houten sisters reconnect with each other.
It's not a great film, nor does it pretend to be, but it's very enjoyable to watch on a Sunday afternoon.