Not I (2000) Poster

(2000)

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6/10
not you!
drn57 March 2003
I didn't like the way Neil Jordan filmed this play. Beckett's idea was to have an apparently disembodied mouth hover a few feet above the stage, spewing an apparently stream of consciousness monologue.

Jordan casts Julianne Moore, who is a great actress, and gives a good rendition of the monologue. But the film is too excited about the fact that a real movie star is in it: at the beginning, we have to watch Moore sit down in a chair (with cameras pointing at her mouth), just so that we know it's really her. This spoils the concept of an anonymous, disembodied mouth. Another problem is that Moore's mouth is, frankly, too pretty: Beckett wanted the mouth lit by a harsh light, but Moore's is lit to make her lips look luscious - pleasant to look at, but not really Beckett's point.

It's OK. But a filming method closer to Beckett's stage intentions would have made the point better.
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9/10
Astounding, confusing, transfixing.
prospero20005 July 2001
As part of Channel 4's Beckett On Film season, Neil Jordan directed Julianne Moore in Not I. A technical feat to see on stage as all you see is a mouth. It was also filmed with Billie Whitelaw in the 1970s.

This production began quite differently in that you saw Moore come into view, sit down and then the light hit her mouth. But for the rest of it, that's all you saw.

It appears as if the mouth is being prompted by an unseen and unheard person because of the halting nature of the speech. It is as if the mouth is being asked questions (notably about "the buzzing"). At four separate points of the film, the mouth says "no... she" as if it is being asked "was this you?" It is clear that this is her own experience but wishes to refute it.

It was confusing to watch initially as the camera did not stay still, but the hypnotic rhythm of Moore's voice and the wonderful writing of Beckett kept me transfixed. Difficult to understand but technically amazing, it was worth seeing.
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6/10
Agreeing With "Not You!"
matthewjbond9 February 2007
Watching Julianne Moore sit and then, having her mouth shot from several different angles, harms "Not I", which requires us to see only a mouth, and only from one angle, from beginning to end.

Moore's face was never in darkness, and her mouth never, in blackness, either filled the screen (as Billie Whitelaw's did in an earlier filming) or was seen floating at a distance (the effect of watching the play on stage, where Mouth should be eight feet high).

I wish that Moore and Beckett had had a more courageous and thoughtful director.

(This is really all I have to say, but IMDb doesn't reward brevity, so I must fill this out to ten lines. Ironic to do this in a comment about Beckett, the master of brevity. I hope that I've said enough now.)
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6/10
Moore makes it work
Horst_In_Translation23 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is Samuel Beckett's "Not I" in the version of (newly) Academy-Award winner Julianne Moore. She recorded this one 15 years ago being directed by Oscar winner Neil Jordan, who also worked with her right before on "The End of the Affair". I must say I preferred this version to the one from the 1970s. Moore does a great job with her voice and what makes this much much better is not only the use of color, but also the use of constantly changing camera angles. It adds a touch of restlessness to the film that works so well with Moore's performance. I remember liking this even more the first time I saw it, but even on a rewatch, it is still a pretty good showing. Possibly my favorite Beckett movie and evidence that he can also work on screen, not just on stage. Recommended.
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1/10
Not "Not I". Not Beckett. Not good.
vladimir-13726 December 2008
Let me say first that I agree with the commenter who found the "minimum" length restrictions - in commenting on a Beckett work - ironic here. I would have preferred the subject line of this comment to have stood as my entire comment.

There are several problems with this film, as with all of those in this series that I have seen. Firstly, and the main one, with all of these films, is very poor direction. Julianne Moore gives a ghastly "emotive" performance, entirely at odds with the work; as with much bad acting, the blame lies with the director who allowed it.

Second, the tricksy "cutting"; this is purely to show off and for effect; again, nothing could be less true to the work.

Third, what on earth was the idea of having Ms Moore walk on to the set at the start? Again, more "cleverness" for no purpose.

As Billie Whitelaw says in her memoirs (and who would dare contradict her!), if you scrap the Beckettian staging, you don't have Beckett.

Fourth, Julianne Moore's teeth are too perfect, too attractive for this work; they needed some making-up at least if she was to play this role. Seriously.

Finally, a general complaint that this work was filmed here at all. The 1970's version elicited from Beckett one of the (apparently) very few comments he ever made on a performance of his work. It was only a word or two, which I won't dare to quote from memory (my copy of Miss Whitelaw's memoirs is not at hand); but the substance of it was evidently (in my interpretation and memory) that he was astonished by how perfectly his vision for this work was realised.

At the risk of repeating myself, why then ever film it again?

Once again I regret that we're only allowed to go as low as "1 out of 10".

Zero out of ten; zero out of a hundred.
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4/10
Okay but nothing special
dbborroughs23 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Julianne Moore walks in and then sits in a chair. A spot light centers on her mouth and like the opening of Rocky Horror Picture Show we watch her lips in close up. Its a quickly spoken monologue concerning a woman's life. I'm not sure it really works. I'm not sure the conceit of the lips in close up works any more since in these days on the Internet and home video we get lots of people posting close up shots of their mouths doing things or super imposed onto things. The result is unintentional humor. As for the material itself its okay, nothing special. Its typical Beckett language and sentence structure. I've seen this a couple of times since it was made thanks to having it on a PBS special which I have on tape, but its something that has diminished over time for me, especially in the wake of Beckett's, particularly because of the Beckett on Film set, other work.
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