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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
++++++++++++++++Spoiler Alert+++++++++++++++++ Half the other reviewers
just didn't get it - this is a very good movie with a trick ending that
ties all story lines together wonderfully. Most of the negative reviews
were written by people that missed the entire point of the movie.
Without going into great detail on the three (really four) story lines
this is the hook: all the story lines are simply imagined by the author
character (Liam) as he composes his novel.
A prize-winning author is in Paris working on a novel, having just suffered through the death of his young son in a swimming pool accident. The movie starts and ends with him at his desk in a hotel room - the opening scene fades out with a faint "watch me" heard (imagined) by the author. The movie ends with the same scene, but now we know the "watch me" was uttered by his son just before he died in the swimming pool. We even meet his son at the end, the little boy sitting on the fountain. Everything from the opening scene to the ending scene all took place in the author's head as he sat in the hotel writing his novel. The story lines and their characters are simply the author rationalizing away his guilt for the death of his son. As he realizes that all his characters are manifestations, twisted sometimes, of his own psyche, he alters them, going so far as to entirely remove them from his novel. Thus we have the lawyer finally diving into the pool and disappearing, (as he removes her from the narrative) and slowly all the other characters just disappear, as he removes them from the book. Even his publisher is a figment of his imagination, a character created when he realized that his writing was becoming jaded, and far too close to his own life.
That's it. The key to understanding this movie is to realize that everything between the opening and closing scenes all took place in the author's head as he worked on his novel. As he came to terms with his son's death, the characters he drummed up disappeared, each created and played out as he worked to soothe his inner guilt. My two cents!
This is an excellent human drama. Any of the negative reviews you see
about it are basically coming from a "dumbing down" stance. Like . .
(duh) WHY is this director trying to be so intellectooul?" It's a
damned clever piece of work, and we don't get that much any more in
this age of comic book movies.
It is also VERY moving, and finely acted. Watching Olivia Wilde's character, I kept thinking, wow such a "borderline" case, then we find out precisely WHY she's such.
You should go see this and bring your brain with you. Don't tell anyone else what it's about or what the spoilers are, and I'm not either.
"White" - the color of trust, and belief, and lies.
This is not the movie for everyone, but I loved it. The acting is
superb and the story is not your formula Hollywood blockbuster. It is a
unique and interesting story, that will hold your interest the entire
time, always unsure of the outcome.
The subject matter is a bleak but the characters are true and real. Kim Basinger after hearing something that would drive most women away, asks her husband to come home. Twists, turns, but in the end, it all makes sense.
Not the movie for just anyone. If you want a schlock Hollywood feel good movie, go see the delightful new Rob Reiner film 'And so it goes'
but as for me, this is head and shoulders over that.
Phooey to the bad reviews
Paul Haggis is best known as the director of the movie "Crash", which
was the controversial winner of the Oscar for Best Picture in 2006 over
its closest rival "Brokeback Mountain." Haggis is also the first
screenwriter to win Oscars for Writing for two consecutive years,
"Million Dollar Baby" in 2005 and "Crash" in 2006. It was the name of
Paul Haggis that drew me to check out "Third Person" without knowing
anything else about it.
Like "Crash", "Third Person" is also a film with multiple story lines. I have liked movies like this since I have seen "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams." I have admired how the scriptwriter managed to clearly tell three or four stories and then connect them to each other with an overarching bigger story.
Michael (Liam Neeson) is an aging Pulitzer-prize winning author who left his wife Elaine (Kim Basinger) and is now having an affair with a much younger Anna (Olivia Wilde) in Paris. Scott (Adrien Brody) is an unscrupulous clothing businessman who gets entangled with the shady financial problems of a gypsy-like local lady Monika (Moran Atias) in Rome. Julia (Mila Kunis) is a poor divorcée who lost custody of her young son to her estranged husband Rick (James Franco) because of an unfortunate accident with a plastic laundry bag.
It was good to see Liam Neeson again in a straight drama, not in another action vehicle that he is wont to do lately. Olivia Wilde is daring, gorgeous and smart, the perfect femme fatale. Mila Kunis stands out in a very serious dramatic role. Her brutally-emotional confrontation scene with James Franco was amazingly acted out. In terms of romantic chemistry though, the best was between Adrien Brody and Moran Atias. Their story line was interesting on its own, but seemed furthest off from any connection with the other two stories.
The underlying issue and conflict in all three stories was about trust. Anna's bizarre behavior is driving Michael nuts about her loyalty. On the other hand, Michael is using their stormy relationship as the subject of his book seemingly without Anna's consent. Monika's connection with a sleazy extortionist has Scott doubting her innocence. Rick cannot trust Julia anymore with even basic visitation rights to their son.
Even at the two hour mark, the three stories seem to be slowly losing their steam and getting nowhere without any detectable connection to each other. However, just as I was losing hope as to this film's ability to end properly, suddenly comes a most surprising development that actually manages to solidify the three disparate segments of this film into a single coherent whole. Paul Haggis has done it again to weave his magic with this inventive type of story telling via film.
Paul Haggis did it again. At least for me he did. Obviously judging by
the low rating, it hasn't had the same effect on others here. I really
loved the movie, the intricacies, the connections and of course the
"resolution". There might be a better word for the ending, but one
thing is for sure: The movie demands more than one viewing. You can
watch it with different eyes (your own, just a matter of speaking) and
see things in a new light.
There's also trademark Haggis dialog, pointing in one direction, making fun of it, by almost straying away, than going full throttle on the first assumption you made. You may or may not like that, but it's what Haggis can do very good. And he has the actors to pull anything off, he gives them. It's a great movie with little hints here and there, that make sense in the end. Even if you don't get everything the first time around, it is a rewarding (viewing) experience
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
=========== SPOILER ============
Quote: "But the movie has a big flaw. The link between the stories is rather weak ( I still have no idea how Adrien's story was linked with the rest of them, when this movie releases for all audiences someone will maybe find that link )."
Hint: Adrien's son drowned in the pool, because the father (Adrien) took a call - telling his wife that it is a business call. Liam's son drowned in the pool, because his father (Liam) took a call - in fact it was a call from his mistress.
By such things imaginary stories linking with the real story of Liam, who has lost a child.
It is actually the contents of the book he writes, tormented by thoughts of guilt for the death of the child and how Liam wants to save his soul.
Regarding the "wrong placement of objects" - Liam wrote from Paris? NO! In the final scene the wife asks "How is Rome?" ... And during the chase it's looks like the streets of an Italian city, not Paris...
It is about the writer's imagination, attempt to justify, accepting the mistake, etc.
Actually the film is about the soul and mind of a man tormented by the death of his child because he was on the phone with his mistress and not supervised at the pool.
When I received an invite to go to the screening of Third Person, I was
a bit uncertain whether this would be a decent flick or not. I hadn't
seen any trailers or read articles about it so I did not know what to
Third person is a film from Paul Haggis ( the director of the Oscar- winning "Crash") involving intertwining stories featuring Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Maria Bello, Moran Atlas and Kim Basinger.
Having not seen Crash, I hadn't raised my expectations to spectacular levels. Maybe this is why Third Person is getting a mediocre score, people simply compare it with Crash and not as an individual movie.
Let me begin by stating that the atmospheric feel of the movie is top notch. Whether it is the chic, extravagant life-style in Paris, the beautiful and not-so beautiful side of Rome or the busy streets in New York, every city is portrayed in a beautiful way. The soundtrack is okay and fits with the mood of the scenes.
The acting is , how could it not be with this cast, top-notch ! Especially Mila Kunis surprised me with her emotionally depth, a side of her that we don't see a lot in her movies.
Of course, with different intertwining stories, people will argue which one is the best of the bundle. Let me make this clear : Each story is very intriguing and has plot twists that I did not see coming. You could feel everyone staring with great surprise at the screen when major twists came.
For me, the best story was the part with Adrien Brody and Moran Atlas. They had the best chemistry in the movie, with a very interesting dilemma. It had the funniest and most-thrilling moments ( according to me of course, the others are very well made as well, this is truly a matter of personal taste ).
But the movie has a big flaw. The link between the stories is rather weak ( I still have no idea how Adrien's story was linked with the rest of them, when this movie releases for all audiences someone will maybe find that link ). The wrap-around at the end was very, very confusing and didn't make a lot of sense. It was surprising , yes, but really no- one understood what the ending meant for the story. But I think that if this movie gets analyzed and someone clearly explains it's ending, my appreciation for this movie would certainly be of the roof.
I'm not the type of guy who volunteers to watch a romantic drama, I even dread the thought of watching another chick-flick/tear-buster with the girlfriend. But this drama pulled me into it's story with fantastic performances from an awesome cast, good writing/directing for each storyline and a fine balance between drama, romance and humor.
And for that great achievement, this movie deserves :
Paul Haggis both wrote and directed this very long movie (137 minutes)
that plays with our minds in a way not dissimilar to his most famous
similar film CRASH. The quilted story takes patience and close
attention to paste each of the three running stories together three
(at times augmented) couples whose lives are altered in some way by a
child drowning, abusive by placing in a plastic bag, a conveniently
imagined child and it all ties together with slips of paper, pages of
novels, paintings and other threads spread around Paris, Rome, and New
'Michael (Liam Neeson) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction author who has sequestered himself in a hotel suite in Paris to finish his latest book. He recently left his wife, Elaine (Kim Basinger), and is having a tempestuous affair with Anna (Olivia Wilde), an ambitious young journalist who wants to write and publish fiction. At the same time, Scott (Adrien Brody), a shady American 'clothing designer' businessman, is in Italy to steal designs from fashion houses. Hating everything Italian, Scott wanders into the Café American with barkeep Marco (Riccardo Scamarcio) in search of something familiar to eat. There, he meets Monika (Moran Atias), a beautiful Romanian woman, who is about to be reunited with her young daughter. When the money she has saved to pay her daughter's smuggler Carlo (Viinico Marchioni) has stolen, Scott feels compelled to help. They take off together for a dangerous town in Southern Italy, where Scott starts to suspect that he is the patsy in an elaborate con game. Julia (Mila Kunis), an ex-soap opera actress, is caught in a custody battle for her 6 year-old son with her ex-husband Rick (James Franco), a famous New York artist. With her support cut off and her legal costs ruinous, Julia is reduced to working as a maid in the same upscale boutique hotel where she was once a frequent guest. Julia's lawyer Theresa (Maria Bello) has secured Julia one final chance to change the court's mind and be reunited with the child she loves. Rick's current girlfriend Sam (Loan Chabanol) is a compassionate onlooker.'
With a cast such as this the film works as well as it can with such obtuse twists and turns involving each of the three couples. The film 'feels' like it wants to be wonderful, but it just plods along too slowly to make us care very much about this odd groups of maladjusted misfits.
If you see a large number of user reviews with spoilers it's because this movie has a complex story line that is hard to describe without spoiling the suspense and confusion that one experiences while watching it for the first time. Don't read the spoilers until after you see the film or you will rip yourself off. My partner and I saw it at the Rehoboth Beach film festival and really didn't know exactly what to think at the end of the movie. We had both been engrossed and intrigued but felt unsatisfied at the end until we were discussing it on the way home and figured out what we had just seen. The most popular spoiler alert review nails the plot, but suffice to say that this is no typical "I can see were this is going" movie, it was almost "I see dead people but they don't know they are dead" kind of realization, only for us, we didn't get it until a half an hour after the movie was over. We actually didn't realize how good it was until we thought about it. I would recommend it and I will watch it again to tie up all the clues given along the way.
Third Person seeks to explore the betrayal of trustthe betrayal of
fidelity and friendship. Paul Haggis, the director, has made a career
out of making films that interweave numerous story lines. In this case,
Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, Mila Kunis, and James Franco
all comprise a wonderful ensemble that demands a range of powerful
emotions to drive this story through its incessant melodrama (no
negative connotation applied). The narrative here focuses on the
romantic relationships and affairs that unfortunately still plague
society and humanity's untamable nature. I'm sure we all know the
implication of the film's title ("Third Person"), and with that, the
drama goes on an almost two-and-a-half-hour drive through tense
dialogue, flirtation, and sexy teases.
The movie teases and teases but never seems to reach the climax that its lengthy build-up continually suggests. Its first hour is fairly compelling in its set-up, deliberately introducing the audience to the exact predicament and its hapless participants. The plot over the rest of the film unravels quite cryptically, as well as in a manner that might appear heavily contrived to many viewers. There is a certain degree to which a suspension of belief should absolutely be mustered upon entering this picture. Aside from the contrivances, moments exist within that play to extreme dramatic effect but actually lead to a whole lot of nothing. After a great deal of meticulous development, a character screams and terrorizes a room out of realized anger as a tragic score plays to the segment's tune even though that scene essentially has no consequence in the sequences that follow (the character simply returns to a former state) as if the filmmaker was stylishly proceeding towards tragedy and quickly mopping up soon thereafter.
The actors themselves do a fantastic job and glue us to the screen albeit the script's occasional muddling of the conflict at hand. Adrien Brody, in my opinion, is the standout here, possessing a complex personality that battles between moral decisions and his wild desires. The writing in the first few scenes of his arcwe find him in a bar having a natural conversation with a mysterious woman (Moran Atias) as we immediately discern his dislike for foreign environments (particularly Italy) and his highly talkative, forceful nature. Olivia Wilde and Liam Neeson share the screen in probably the most compelling storyline where Neeson's strong infatuation for Wilde lends itself to perfidy and constant ridicule. Wilde's character plays a hard-to-get, but incredibly seductive, "sexpot" who tests Neeson's true loyalty to her while he starts to construct his next novel. Mila Kunis' part of the tale is definitely the least intriguing in its somewhat clichéd essence she's bouncing from job to job, barely able to pay her monthly bills and struggling to reclaim her kid who was taken from her based on accusations of abuse.
Like I said, all of these individual threads in an interlocking story initially engross, but then, Third Person starts to drag on and on. It sits at a runtime of 2 hours and 17 minutes but honestly feels like it's reaching the 3-hour mark. The connection between these separate stories begins to materialize the further we advance into the plot while also shadowing it with plenty of confusion at the same time. The last scene is a head-scratcher in a bad way. You're scratching your head because that "da dumb" twist moment unintentionally goes over everyone's head and falls flat in its execution. So, wait: how are they exactly connected thematically and emotionally? All I witnessed was a multitude of contrivances that saw these characters crossing each other's paths for a few seconds. Of course, there's a reason to all this once the very end comes to fruition, but the point of the entire ordeal sorely misses its mark. There's too much going on with the quick cutting intensifying as we progress, and none of the arcs conclude satisfyingly.
With that being said, I still respect Haggis' ambition and his ventures into such heart-rending tales. Contrary to general reception, I genuinely enjoyed Crash, and now, I most likely find myself enjoying Third Person more than most as well. It's primarily absorbing throughout, just a tad bit too long and woolly.
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