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Wuthering Heights (2011)
Oh... I don't know what to think
First, it's been MANY years since I read the book. It is not a book I plan to read again... too dark and depressing.
That said, I felt, with all its flaws that have been pointed out here, the film did a fine job conveying the mood of the book. Dark, hopeless, despair... all of that. I always wondered about that Bronte sister... what was her emotional state most of the time?
I found the dark, foggy, muddy location to be perfect. And the actors really got filthy - they lived in mud. That's how it would have been there.
I disliked the animal cruelty, but I'll give it a pass, as it probably is realistic for the times and for people in such ongoing despair. But I did fast forward through those scenes. I don't need to see that and I cannot understand why the filmmaker felt compelled to put them in there. And Heathcliff walking away at the end whilst that boy hung those dogs? Wow. That was very off-putting.
I felt the actors were splendid. Every one of them inhabited their character with brilliant skill. I felt the direction was perfect. Some may find the time spent on shots of the surrounding moor to slow the whole thing down too much, but for me, it fit the mood.
The wild characters fit my memory of the book. Cathy was as fickle, selfish, cruel, and passionate as I felt she was in the book... which I read decades ago, so memory can certainly be wrong.
I loved the black Heathcliff. Although he certainly was not black in the book, I felt that was a creative re-imagining.
I sat through the film whilst working on paperwork. I had no interest in investing in intently watching. The book had nothing positive in it for me, and I dislike depressing stories. I felt the film represented the mood, tone, and message - if you will - of the book. I wasn't crazy about it... but I didn't like the book, so it seems to fit.
I vote an 8 because of these things. I knock 2 points off just because I dislike the story.
6 Month Rule (2011)
SPOILERS! DO NOT read if you don't want to know the ending.
I enjoyed watching this unfold. I liked the actors very much - I liked the character development and wasn't the least bit bored. And I often find romantic stories boring.
I enjoy a story wherein a person gains insight - where someone is personally challenged by his/her own flaws and struggles with those challenges. I like stories where "self" becomes the biggest obstacle. That's how it is for all of us. That is a story we all relate to.
BUT I hated the ending. If I'm invested in the characters, I want to see everyone happy in the ending. Yes, I know that's not real life. I know every story does not have a happy ending. I see enough pain in REAL life. I don't need depressing endings to enhance my film experience. I rely on movies to ENTERTAIN me... I want to feel HAPPY at the end of a film. So - I hated the ending of this film. Yes, I want the formula happy ending. I'm simple minded that way. Harumph.
Phoebe in Wonderland (2008)
SPLENDID FILM, depicting Tourette's syndrome AND obsessive-compulsive disorder
Acting, directing, costumes, cinematography all splendid. Elle Fanning is a brilliant actress - such a delight to watch. Everyone was marvelous.
The film is artistic, passionate, compassionate, REAL, heartfelt, intelligent, insightful... it skillfully brings the viewer into the life of a family struggling with a difficult and baffling problem. Why does a person in a loving family behave in ways that cause problems? Just STOP DOING IT. That's how it feels - the family members, school, and the person with the problem ALL want to know what the heck is going on. The film does a beautiful job showing this.
I'm baffled to see all this talk about - and in the filmmaker's description apparently, Tourette's syndrome but not OCD. Absolutely baffled. Did the screenwriter not know he was creating a character with a pretty bad case of OCD? I'm completely flummoxed by this.
In fact, the most obviously evident symptoms, very early in the film, were those of obsessive-compulsive disorder. I think the film did a SPLENDID job of showing the torments of OCD. It's an anxiety disorder that can be crippling. So many of her behaviors were textbook OCD. The things she had to do to be sure she got into the play - or to protect herself from bad things happening, the excessive hand washing. I don't know what was up with her knees - I must have missed that.
The Tourette's was less prevalent in the film. It caused problems, that's for sure. But OCD is more prevalent in the film - it's the symptom we see the most of. Spitting is uncommon with Tourette's - thank goodness. And swearing is uncommon, as well, although people often thing that's the only symptom. Tics are small motor movements and sounds such as throat clearing, sniffing, coughing etc. are quite common. It's common to see blinking, shrugging, grimacing or mouth opening, kicking...
I've been asked if I thought she was psychotic. If she literally was seeing and hearing those characters, then yes, there was a psychotic disorder. But psychosis is so rare in young children. She's so young - and I don't know if the filmmaker was depicting her fertile imagination, so it's impossible to say. Psychosis is not a symptom of Tourette's syndrome or obsessive-compulsive disorder. I love to see films that depict these sorts of problems and show the full complexity of the PERSON. I loved how the mother was angry at the doctor and refused to accept it. I loved how she accused him of not really caring, of wanting to just shove her daughter into a diagnostic box and medicate her instead of really being helpful. I loved that because I've sat in a room with that very same mom a number of times. A mom with ENORMOUS love and concern for her child - Felicity Huffman was brilliant. Bill Pullman was brilliant, as usual. Bailee Madison gave us a perfect little sister - a tough spot for a child to be in.
Love the film. Is shows a REAL family with REAL struggles. It shows REAL parents trying to weave their way through the difficult and confusing waters of a troubled child. It shows a REAL child who doesn't understand what the hell is going on and is frustrated because she doesn't know how to articulate what she's experiencing.
I don't hate the shrink; I often do in films. He's okay. Not great, but not horrible. I'm accustomed to shrinks in films being idiots. Or lechers. Ugh. I wasn't all that crazy about him, but he wasn't horrible. The way he handled his pad and pen... c'mon! You don't do that! It's a splendid way to SHUT IT DOWN. If that was the filmmaker's goal, it was spot-on. A sort of averageish or maybe a bit less than average - shrink. Good job with that.
The high school principal was an idiot. I hope there isn't ONE like that in the world. Probably is. Sigh...
This film is wonderful. I strongly recommend it to anyone... it should be shown in schools. It should be shown in homes. It should be shown in churches. It shows REAL people - parents with their own personal struggles and disappointments dealing with a difficult child and staying together, loving each other, accepting all their flaws and CHOOSING LOVE - choosing to stay together and live each day together - through struggles and through happy times. It is REAL.
NOT for kids - cliché ending
How many films have this ending? Seriously - it was cliché. You have a magically unusual kid? Okay... let's see what to do... oh, I know! Let's KILL HIM in the end! Oh, that'll really get to the audience. Great idea!
I'm sorry, but that's cliché. We have enough films with really special kids who die. Off the top of my head:
My Girl Pay it Forward Bridge to Terabithia Simon Birch
There are more, but I can't recall the names. Why does a happy ending mean something is "predictable" or profound in some way. THIS ending was ENTIRELY predictable. Of COURSE they'll kill the kid in the movie. We figured that in the first few minutes that the boy was on screen.
How about having him live and be special - AND adopt the little girl at the end? Why couldn't they do that? This film is very upsetting to children - and it ticked us off. For us, the film could have been fantastic... but they had a predictable, cliché ending. Kill the magically special kid.
I do not recommend this film.
Young Adult (2011)
NOT a comedy
If the word, "comedy" wasn't in the genre, I might feel more generous. But as I like the actors - a lot - and I like comedy - a lot - I really hated the way this film came together.
It was depressing. It was disturbing. The actors did a great job, but our protagonist is such a messed up, angry, depressed alcoholic - she's so mean and selfish - that you don't really care about her. I kept thinking about her obvious psychiatric problems and how they could be treated... I didn't enjoy spending this time watching this depressed train wreck of a person engage in a campaign to destroy a family.
I want my 80 minutes back.
C Me Dance (2009)
One of the worst films I have ever subjected myself to
I cannot express how bad this film is. I feel bad writing this, but it seems I cannot help myself. I'm usually pretty generous in allowing bad writing, stiff acting, and weak directing bother me too much. But this film was so filled with mindless, fundamentalist proselytizing, treacle that I can only say I'm glad I was doing file hygiene while I watched it on Netflix. Should have listened to their prediction... Netflix predicted I would hate it. I did.
1) Low intellectual level silly devil story. 2) Ghastly writing - bad dialogue, unbelievable personalities, and a story a 3rd grader could write. 3) Acting was just terrible and completely unbelievable. 4) Why not use a real dancer for the role? There are a lot of them around. 5) Doctors never, ever, ever, EVER date family members of patients. EVER. 6) So... even though the girl was a stage 4 patient, there was NO treatment of any kind? Nothing? Not even for symptoms? Oh wait... there were no symptoms. Right... a stage 4 cancer patient with NO symptoms. So stupid and ridiculous. Could the writer have spent TEN MINUTES talking this over with an oncologist? Everything about the illness was SO LUDICROUS. 7) That girl sure was healthy and robust right up until the day she literally dropped dead. I've had a lot of cancer patients. That was just plain stupid. 8) The doctor, upon seeing the girl's body, freaks out and drops her glass of milk? SERIOUSLY?!?!?! She's a DOCTOR. She works with cancer patients. She absolutely WOULD NOT do that. She would quickly go to the patient to assess what's going on - she did not know the girl was deceased. Perhaps I'm being defensive, but even in horrid films such as this one, I hate it when doctors are stupid or when they date people they absolutely CAN NOT date.
In summary, if you like those Bible church Sunday night dramas designed to scare you into religious belief, if you are a fundamentalist and thus are blinded to terrible storytelling simply because you are thrilled to see your beliefs represented on film, if the important aspect of your religion is avoiding hell rather than being the kindest, most loving and helpful person you can be... you'll love this. If you have even average intelligence and are NOT a Bible-literalist fundamentalist, you'll hate this thing. Don't waste your time.
For the record, I'm Christian - but I find proselytizing highly offensive. I don't accept the concepts of hell and the devil. I don't feel compelled to tell other people they have to become Christian; I respect other people's views. I value kindness towards others and a life of service. And I'm a doctor who is always disgusted to see stupid doctors on TV. I'm pretty sure there is little chance I would like this dreadful offering even if it wasn't so terribly written and acted. And what the heck is up with that title? I'm sorry - it's a stupid title.
I watched it because I studied ballet for years and I love it. I thought I would see some good dancing - and I was doing work on my computer, so I wasn't sitting in front of the TV, throwing out over an hour of my life that I never would get back. Now THAT would have been bad.
Maybe fundamentalist religious people just shouldn't make films. Perhaps it's just too tempting to come up with something to scare people into believing as they do. This was nothing less than an acted out religious tract - like those silly Chick Publications. The filmmaker tried to cram religious scare-tactics down the viewers' throats and it just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Season 4 RUINED this series
Season 1-3: LOVE IT! Season 4: HATE IT!!
What the heck happened?!?! They ruined this series. By the time I was into Season 4, I realized completely different people probably wrote it - or if they are the same people, they all got brain injuries. I don't know which and I'm too disgusted with the whole thing to look that up.
As time went by, I became more and more disgusted with the protagonist, Eleanor Bramwell. She made some really stupid decisions and didn't learn from them. She lost her charm for me - I was more interested in her father and step mother by Season 4 than by her - and they disappeared completely. I don't understand why they wrote so much heartache caused by her. Poor Dr. Marsham! A completely decent fellow, honorable and smart and responsible and - well, I LIKED that relationship. Why kill it? They could have written ANYTHING happening.
And all that unprotected sex and the big crises is a pregnancy. REALLY?!?! She's a physician at a time when there were very few women doctors and ALL of their battles were uphill, she knows everything about how pregnancies occur, they had very primitive birth control, and she's UPSET that she got knocked up?!?! Oh man - that really ticked me off. She KNEW that a pregnancy would be a career-ending scandal. I spent 13 years in university and a few more in internships myself. There is NO WAY I would do something that stupid if it could destroy a couple of decades of schooling and training.
On the medical side of things, it was remarkable to me that they showed so little in the way of the mortality rate from surgery at that time. It was a terrible, agonizing death. Opening up people's bodies and sticking your bare hands in there is NOT always helpful. It would have been realistic to have some of those sorts of things going on.
But most of all, it's not a good idea to write a protagonist whom people like in the beginning and despise at the end. Reading some of these reviews - and looking at what people are saying on Netflix - I'm impressed with how much people dislike the way the show ended and dislike the protagonist. This series should be required viewing for film majors.
Sorry, I think it's dreadful
Maybe I'm too old for this sort of story - it would well fit an American film for 12 year old girls, I expect. I am an American female, close to 60. Therein lies my problem. I am not an unkind person and I hate the thought of hurting someone. I see the same fellow wrote and directed it. I feel bad to say this about a project that he worked so hard on. Truly. But I must say this.
I thought it might be insulting to Indians - and I'm weary of the entitled, rude, thoughtless, bitchy American. Ugh. That's a tired cliché.
I felt too many of the Indians were portrayed as immature, insecure, unprofessional, bumbling idiots. Another tired cliché.
I can't address the acting at all - the writing was so terrible. Two couples fall in "love" after VERY brief acquaintance. The cultures are very different from each other. To MARRY a person in a different country with SUCH different cultures - I worry for the futures of these couples. I would be concerned that once they start having children, they will each wish to pull the children into their respective cultures. I've seen this happen to many couples who were from very different cultures. It's a very sad thing to see.
And honestly - what did Marigold show of herself that would compel ANYONE to "love" her? She was a horrible person - selfish, entitled, etc. Any man who would feel he had fallen in love with her has a serious problem. Maybe it's a rescue fantasy. Maybe self-hatred. I don't know. But I cannot see any emotionally healthy person falling in love with someone who is so rude and disrespectful of the feelings of others. And such brief acquaintance - especially the other couple that married.
I might have loved this when I was 12. But in my late 50s, I'm just glad I was doing work on my computer while I had it on. If not, I would want my time back!
Jane Eyre (1997)
The absolute WORST version I have ever, ever, ever seen
I LOVE these actors! But I HATE what the writers and director have done with a story that is absolutely perfect. I'm astonished at how much they changed it. I'm stunned at how angry and cruel Rochester is. He's absolutely vicious.
I'm shocked at the changes - the liberties they took with the story. I'm flabbergasted when I hear words come out of the wrong characters... and never the actual dialog that was written, it seems.
I have long loved the book. I have read it several times - am reading it now for the 5th time. The book is breathtaking - it is a miracle of writing. And I never tire of screen adaptations... but I won't endure this one again. It's horrible.
It bothers me a great deal because they truly are fine actors. But the material they were given, as well as the direction, are horrible. Why would they change the dialogue so much? I really don't understand. And they changed CONTENT of what people were saying. Heck, she didn't even give a different name, Jane Elliot, as she did in the book.
Perhaps many of my complaints are due to the fact that an enormous book was compressed into under two hours - a terrible, terrible idea. But heck - they don't have to change dialogue! They don't have to have people saying things they never actually would have said.
I'm stunned at how terrible this version is. If the actors had read the book, they must have suffered agonies with this dreadful script. Don't watch it - it really isn't the story Charlotte Bronte wrote.
Absolutely HATE this movie
Okay - so you put all this time and energy into the fellow. You cross your fingers, you're on the edge of your seat, you want him to get out and join his family - and maybe get a different job when it's all over! You squirm through the whole thing - you hope that no person actually decides to make this awful tale come true for some poor bloke. You happily anticipate his finally getting out, and...
I hate this kind of ending. I feel like I've been cheated. Do I want the predictable, formula ending? YES! I do, dammit! I want to root for the fellow all through this trials and see him get his reward for all he did to save himself.
When we read a novel or watch a film, we relate to the protagonist. We put ourselves in his place. I don't mind the predictable happy ending. I really hate these cynical endings where we hang with the guy all along and then he eats it in the end. I don't think it's clever or profound or a statement about anything. I think it's a filmmaker trying to LOOK clever. AHA! He fooled us!! Well - he's the fool in my book. I don't think it's wise to anger your audience.