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The Winslow Boy (1999)
The marvelous Mamet...
Just saw The Winslow Boy, and it was a real gem of a movie. Mamet has always been the king of brilliantly droll dialogue, the sort of dialogue that is funny not in its words but its performance, and Winslow Boy is no exception. With unusually clean language, Mamet has written a screenplay that illicits honesty from its players without ever being forced or awkward. It's gorgeous.
The cast lent itself beautifully to the script's Mametian style. Most poignant was Nigel Hawthorn, who managed to break my heart with the shift of an eye. It was the kind of razor-sharp subtlety that Mamet's writing (plays and screenplays) requires, and Hawthorn delivered it with soft spoken brilliance.
The Love Letter (1999)
age discrepancies and taffy dreams
Just saw The Love Letter, and it felt kind of funny, like a semi-comatose summer daydream or something. While there were definite moments of whimsical magic, I was too often left in a state of not-so-suspended disbelief...the Capshaw/Scott relationship was a little left field (although the hand scene was really quite nice), as was the notion that so many people could be in love with a character as annoying as Capshaw's Helen. Also, since when was Blythe Danner old enough to be Capshaw's mother? Oh, please. Capshaw looks good...but she still looks forty five.
And there wasn't enough Ellen DeGeneres, either. Every time she was on screen, the movie transformed into something quirkier than it actually was. Same goes for Juliane Nicholson, who was adorably vulnerable without being gushy. More of these two and less of Capshaw's Helen would have made this movie a lot more fun than it was.
That, and more of that delicious looking taffy. My God. I don't know who was loading up that taffy machine, but baby, that taffy looked good...