This movie really rubbed me the wrong way. I mean it really gave me the creeps. I respect the subject matter, and I understand its importance, yet somehow the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth, and I'm not sure why.
Well, the first thing that rubbed me the wrong way was Rachel Weisz doing an American accent. It was awful! I've lived in New York all my life, and I've got plenty of Jewish friends and family, but I never met anyone who talks like Rachel does in this movie. If you want to hear a good Jewish American accent, watch the Comedy Central show SOUTH PARK and listen to Kyle's mom, Sheila Broflovski. That's an authentic NY Jewish accent!
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Rachel Weisz wasn't really trying to get the accent right. She's just doing a really, really bad Julia Roberts imitation. What you're getting is a bored Beverly Hills drone, with just a hint of trailer park meanness underneath. Evidently someone in England thinks this is what authentic Americans sound like. And every time the "authentic American" has to deal with well-educated English people, she reacts like Julia Roberts in a typical Julia Roberts movie. In other words, she's sullen, rude, disrespectful, impatient and childish. Because that's how all Americans behave . . . we're a nation of spoiled film stars!
But there's more to this than harmless fun at the expense of the Yanks. The American woman has to be vulgar, childish and impulsive, because how else can the ladies and gentlemen of the English courts and the English universities be revealed (once again, as in countless films before) as universally wise, patient, and just? They're so cool they have to smoke and drink in every scene . . . just to remind us that they're human!
That's what this movie is really about. DENIAL is not really about exposing the truth about what actually happened to Jews during the Holocaust. It's about covering up the truth about how the British monarchy, the British aristocracy, and the British professional classes responded to the Holocaust . . . while it was actually taking place.
What we get here is justice after the fact. One creepy guy gets treated like a leper, to prove that the "right" sort of people were on the side of the Jews all along. Except they weren't.
In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, promising a Jewish national homeland in Palestine. What people forget is that in 1939, Britain then issued a White Paper limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine – on the eve of the Holocaust – to a paltry 75,000 souls over five years. They forget, too, that as late as 1947, British troops at Haifa dock were locking Holocaust survivors who had escaped to Palestine in barbed wire cages, and then shipping them back to displaced persons camps in Germany.
There were plenty of British aristocrats (like Unity Mitford) who openly admired Hitler, plenty of British fascists (like Oswald Mosley) who hated Jews, and plenty of ordinary British people who just wanted to avoid another war with Germany at any cost. And by the time they stopped avoiding it, it was already too late for a lot of people.
But that's not worth remembering . . . let's all dog pile the guy doing the really bad Captain Bligh imitation.
He's not one of us . . . and he never was!
By the end of the picture, even the smart-mouthed Jewish lady from New York is only too happy to bow down before the Lion and the Unicorn. Because English justice and right-thinking (read educated, upper class) British people will always save the day.
Except when they don't.
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