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Separate Lies (2005)
No fuss please, we're British
Julian Fellowes, the distinguished writer of "Godsford Park", presents us with another civilized tale of self contained emotions. This time however, the ingredients are somehow at odds with each other and the strange taste that left in my palate indicates that, perhaps, it was removed from the oven a little too soon. I longed for Joseph Losey at the helm and Dirk Bogarde, Sarah Miles and Alan Bates as the protagonists. Emily Watson is always marvelous but here, she doesn't have the kind of support she, as an actress or as a character, deserved and/or needed. Tom Wilkinson, as good as he is, doesn't have the layers of a Dirk Bogarde or James Mason. He is exactly what you get and Rupert Everett, who became a star overnight with Julian Mitchell's "Another Country" has taken a strange and puzzling road. His close ups are kind of frightening. His mouth has become the center of attention and not the kind of attention one would expect. It belongs to the villain in a horror movie. I noticed that already in his comedy with Madonna. I know, perhaps, all this sounds irrelevant but it conditioned my response to "Separate Lies" I wanted to be riveted and I wasn't.
A Few Pieces Of An Historical Puzzle
Oliver Stone and Josh Brolin manage the impossible by giving a present reality a sort of farcical look. Frightening to see how easily the farce and the reality merge and marry in the most natural way. George W, eats his way into history. The most mediocre of men drowning in a pool of his own making and in a way, drowning all of us with him. But, somehow, neither Stone nor Brolin describe a monster. On the contrary, here the monstrosity is in our hands. The man was voted (sort of) twice. Richard Dreyfuss IS Dick Cheney. A terrifying truthful performance. Thandie Newton is the one really out there. She plays her "yes woman" like Talia Shire in the Godfather III. Very bizarre, but fun. So, the biggest surprise is that Stone didn't come with a hatchet but with a magnifying glass. Seeing what we already knew but a bit larger made for a riveting evening at the movies.
Meryl from Bari
When the soul of a movie is reflected in an actor's eyes then you have a miracle, you have something that's going to last. Meryl Streep in "The Bridges Of Madison County" is such a miracle to me. I never thought for a moment that she, no matter how wonderful an actress she is, could fool me. Meryl Streep could never be Italian. Well, there I was, thinking and pre-judging like people I detest. I was so wrong. Not just because she fooled me, although there is no fooling involved here. She won me over. I forgot she was Meryl Streep, the actress, and I lived Francesca's story to the fullest because, I suppose, that's the mystery of great acting, I was confronted by her sheer undiluted truth. The truth in her eyes in every one of her gestures. The truth on her brow. Her thinking, transparent. Clint Eastwood does the right thing putting the entire film at her service and placing himself as the foil to liberate that powerful latent side of Francesca. I though it was ironic and I'm not sure if was meant to be that a wonderful woman like Francesca will sacrifice, what could arguably be call the love of her life, for those children. The grown children's mediocrity was kind of shocking to me. Will the revelation of their mother's secret, reveal a latent, greater side to their natures. I hope so. Francesca deserved extraordinary children. Try no to miss this little miracle.