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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
No "action"?, 1 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Look, people, European movies are just different from American films. Particularly, French movies are different; they deal with the mysteries of human existence -- growing old, looking at the future of one's profession, grieving over loss of an old friend and mentor AND a divorce at the same time. Europeans still talk; conversation is important; debate is a delight. But to do that, one has to have ideas, a vocabulary, a sense of history, some new concepts to test -- and a feeling that human beings can still be heroic and worth spending time with. All too little of this exists in the US these days. Worse, American films have been in profit-only franchise mode for years, thus poisoning the next generation by raising their adrenaline level. Paris is currently the epicenter for world cinema and with reason. By driving for money only, Hollywood has driven the public from the theaters.

NOTE: SPOILERS TO COME 1. Maria's not in crises; she has a full plate. Overwhelmed, too much to do at once. Then her mentor dies, as she's traveling to pick up an award for him. Meanwhile her ex-husband is hassling her about money. 2. She trusts her assistant, Val, who seems committed to her and respects her. Being young, Val thinks it would be helpful to "bring the old girl up-to-date" with her insightful comments on movies and acting. We don't have any evidence that Val knows anything more about either than gossip and LA obsessions. But that never stopped a youngster from arguing about stuff. Maria playfully teases her back. 3. Maria would like to remain the same character she played 20 years before, when she was 18. Wild horses couldn't drag me back to 18, or 20, or 25, but it's an understandable point of view for someone who's had to adjust to being in the public eye. She doesn't really like Helena, didn't like the actress who played her, and doesn't want to end the play being left, seen as undesirable, exploited and abandoned. 4. While Maria says, "I'm not concerned about the lesbian angle in the play; I've always been straight." Well, who asked her? Clearly some sexual tension is going on here with all three women, though there's nothing from Jo-Ann to Val (Jo-Ann is as cold a little bitch as required). But Val seems to be increasingly attracted to Maria and Maria seems to be healing/opening back up within the boundaries of friendship. She also peeks at Val when she's asleep. 5. As the erotic intensity increases, Val throws up by the side of the road. Seems like the well-known old "homosexual panic" to me, wherein one realizes that one could be in love with someone of the same sex. Whoa! Where's this coming from? Me? Eventually she only has two choices, as she's already suffering. She can ask Maria for more in the relationship (and does, only to have Maria dismiss the "line" from the play and Val at the same time), or she can leave. No one wants to be imprisoned in a hopeless, heartbreaking situation where one is never going to be valued or prioritized. 6. As a French woman, Maria isn't going to get all anxious about the possibility of an affair with Val; after all, she's cut her hair and is wearing more masculine clothes to "live in the part." She also has played a young gay seducer before in the earlier play and film. Surely she would consider what an affair with a woman would be like. Val hasn't, I wager.

Binoche as always is a revelation; Stewart is a little too flighty, constantly in motion, but I was impressed anyway. (Still, I wondered what Lea Seydoux would have done with Val.) Moretz didn't too much for me. I really loved this film and hope others will see it with an open heart and mind..

8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Right, the 2005 Oscars was boring....., 3 March 2005

and giving people Oscars in the audience WAS disrespectful. Did Beyonce have to sing every song but one? Has Hollywood no more singers these days? What about Catherine Zeta-Jones, who used to sing with the Welsh National Opera and won an Oscar (in part) for singing? It turned the Oscars into a Beyonce concert....As to the winners, Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman were really no-brainers, but I was depressed to see the women win who did. Hilary Swank won an Oscar five years ago for playing a butch woman from the wrong side of the tracks, and here she plays the same kind of role and wins again. In between the two awards, her career has really come to nothing, because she is a terribly limited talent. Can she play an l8th Century French aristocrat? No -- but Michelle Pfeiffer can, brilliantly. Can Swank play a turn of the 20th-century suffragette? Nope -- Julia Ormond took every scene away from her in IRONJAWED ANGELS. Swank is a very contemporary American woman, masculine, and not really very attractive. She doesn't seem to have much depth or sophistication. If she can find other roles like these two, she can continue. Meryl Streep she ain't. Annette Bening really deserved to win, whether people liked BEING JULIA or not (I doubt many actually saw it, but it was a tour de force). And while I do admire the multi-talented Cate Blanchett, basically she was doing an imitation of Kate Hepburn; I don't think impersonations deserve Oscars. Virginia Madsen really deserved to win in that category. As to Best Director and Picture, AVIATOR was much more artistic, and Scorsese is to my mind a greater talent. But Eastwood has grown tremendously since his spaghetti western days, and he is popular in Hollywood. Doesn't justify a simplistic boxing movie winning, though.....Thanks for a chance to express my opinions.