Reviews written by registered user
|3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was very struck by this film. I felt the subject of Altzheimer's was
handled in a dignified and loving manner that mercifully avoided
sentimentality, as ultimately it was a film about people getting on
with their lives - Marian and Grant moving in together, and Grant
returning Aubrey to the place and the person, Fiona, that will together
make him happiest whilst also giving Fiona the chance of a temporary
period of recovery. Julie Christie was luminescent, with those
wonderful eyes of hers increasingly speaking her joy and pain as words
and memory failed her. It was also a real pleasure to see Olympia
Dukakis characteristically achieving a great deal without needing to
say very much at all. The focus of the film narrowed as it progressed,
mimicking a characteristic of the disease.
This film ensures that anyone seeing it will learn more about the disease that is at the centre of the film as well as watching some loving exchanges between different people as the story unfolds. I hope that this film garners at least some awards, as it is worthy of being rewarded for the very real pleasure of seeing acting up there on the screen - small movements, not grand gestures, or even the wonders of CGI, which can be wonderful. No, here is sound, profound ACTING - all the more welcome as it is something that can be overlaid with so much else in many other films.
I'd wanted to see this film - I missed it at the 2006 Film Festival,
and had seen Sian Phillips in a recent two-hander at the Arts Theatre
in Cambridge - she is still in great form, as she proved to be in this
film. Susannah York was radiant, reminding us of what we are missing
now that her appearances are so limited - she was a pleasure to watch
throughout all of her brief part in this film. Anna Massey, resplendent
in a curious red wig, peaking out from under a distinctive lace cap
produced a beautifully crafted eccentric. This part was complemented by
that played by Angela Pleasance who was also working the eccentric end
of the spectrum with great humour and delicacy.
My problem was the men. I did not believe in their relationships. Sacha and Trevor teetered around becoming a gay couple and though their spat at the conference attended by Lady James (a bit close in name to a previous leader of the House of Lords - is this trying to tell us something?) was amusing, it told us how close they were, without producing any satisfactory conclusion.
Small point -the speedo on Sacha's Mercedes did not seem to work - a small detail, but it made me feel that there was not quite enough care overall in how this was all put together.
So, mixed feelings, with the film rescued by the performances of the four older women who were the undoubted stars of this mixed piece of work.
I don't envy the Academy, having to choose between this performance and
that of Helen Mirren in 'The Queen'.
The calculating way in which the Barbara character gradually turns up the heat on Sheba - holding back for her own distorted reasons of friendship is a powerful piece of work by Judi Dench. Her character, combining a strong sense of personal rectitude allied to a distorted understanding about life and how to live it is totally believable.
Cate Blanchett has a more difficult task, in that her character is reacting to the varying needs of all the characters she meets in the film - she tries desperately to get it right in each individual situation, with the inevitable collapse into ruin and to her relying on Barbara who she supposes to be her friend.
It was good to see the possibility of hope for both these characters at the end of the film without the conclusion being a saccharine Hollywood ending - the characters all move on, but it is left to the time after the film has wrapped for those lives to develop further.
Great work, not just by the two main actors, but by the cast as a whole!