I am very interested in most of the reviews here commenting on the "love story" in this movie. Maybe I'm really getting old, but I saw the relationship between Becks and Elyse not so much as love as lust. But then, probably most love relationships start as lust? Anyway, as I think about it, perhaps it was truly love in the end when Becks goes back to NYC without Elyse. Rather than wreck more than one person's life, she chooses to sacrifice the love/lust. So the story of "Becks the Wreck" ends on a high moral note!
Why I couldn't get into it, well, I was really turned off by Ronnie, Blythe Danner's character. She seemed as if she were either on sedating drugs, or was suffering from a vegetative depression, or had had a stroke, or was just plain dumb. Yes, she had ongoing sadness about the death of her daughter years before, but knowing this didn't make watching her more enjoyable for me. Perhaps she perked up as the movie went on... If she did, I can't help but wonder whether the low, dreary quality of her voice lifted.
Ed, John Lithgow's character, was the driving force in the relationship, at least initially. Being quite assertive, he bust through Ronnie's stupor and got her interested. Ed is supposed to be quirky, preparing for Doomsday in contrast to Ronnie's being into things, and the here and now.
Another thing that turned me off was that I had hoped to relate to them as being in the same generation. None (that I saw) of the usual features of the 'Baby Boom' generation were there, at least in the first thirty minutes. Perhaps this was intentional on the part of the writer, not wanting to fall into stereotypes. For me, though, it put them in a sort of generational vacuum, which I found disconcerting and distancing.
John Lithgow did an adequate acting job as usual, but this film was not Blythe Danner's finest moment. Or maybe it was and I just couldn't get into the character she played. Either way, it was money down the drain for me.
What was also inspiring to me was the way Chester learned to problem-solve. I'm sure that in real life trying to cope with the "problems" was more painful and stressful than appeared in the film, but his way of first observing, then analyzing, then formulating a solution was a hopeful and optimistic lesson.
Having in one film both the physical beauty of the farm that evolved, along with the insight into the process and Chester's ultimate conclusions was a real gift. And, P.S. I loved the way he wove in the birth of their son with the life and death phenomenon that the farm highlights so effectively!
I started out watching The Door thinking that if Helen Mirren was in it it couldn't be too weird or pretentious. And, it wasn't. But it was different, creative, engrossing and interesting. The film's Tag Line indicates that it's about a relationship between two women with the focus on the relationship. This was true however I would amend that to say that the focus was really on Mirren's character who was the oddity in it. She was the pivot around which everyone and everything revolved.
The film was written, directed and photographed well enough that it wasn't boring. And, the acting, especially of Mirren, helped immensely. Someone without her skill and talent wouldn't have pulled it off. The character she played was unpleasant, bossy, critical, and lived by her own rules. At the same time there was enough about her that was positive to allow the film to work.
This is the kind of film you don't want to miss if you like to watch those that are not only entertaining but are something of a phenomenon, causing you to think.
I found myself thinking about something I was taught when writing a filmscript: a main goal of the script is to produce emotion, both in the characters and in the viewers. This film did so in spades. The plot had enough going in it, including the relationships between the main four, to produce intense feelings. Enough so I was compelled to try and tell them what to do or think or say.
The ending was both unexpected and satisfying in a odd way. Having a satisfying ending was a relief after such tension.
If you want to watch a great drama about both familial relationships and their interactions with world events (WWII) don't miss this film.
It's kind of a strange film. As I try to make sense of it in order to write this, I'm thinking that it was sort of blah, not terrible, not wonderful, but, yes, good enough! That's how everything was in the film: the characters, the story line, the mood and settings, the ending: all rather calm despite some troubled emotions and interactions. I found it to be the kind of film that's interesting enough to keep watching while doing other things at the same time. (If a film is very engrossing it will have my undivided attention.)
Ultimately, I chose to rate it a 7 instead of a 6 because I admire the young woman, AnnaRose King, for creating and putting it all together and doing a more than "good enough" acting job in the role of Lorna. She deserves a whole lot of credit and certainly, good reviews.
Another characterological discrepancy was in the father of Lutz. Here I was just plain confused. He was presented as both a leading Nazi commandant in the concentration camp, but... huh? In secret he loved American jazz and artists like Billie Holiday and he was against war as a result of his experience in WWI seeing people die for nothing, and yet... ? None of this was very convincing, especially once the characters were in the concentration camp. Of course what he does to his son towards the end of the film... well that to me was an obvious plot point, something done for the sake of the film's dramatic action, and not for the inherent realism of the characters and their stories.
Finally, the relationship between Leyna, the biracial girl, and Lutz, the Nazi young man, bordered on being unbelievable, based on the question of "why?". As there is no outward reason given for their attraction, the explanation had to come from my own interpretation which was that 1) Lutz "loved" her because she was beautiful and 2) Leyna "loved" him because he loved her and presumably she was attracted to him. These "explanations" were enough to justify whatever risks to their lives they both took in the name of their love and to explain why neither of them seemed to question why they were "in love" with a person so antipathetic to their lives.
But again, despite these points of confusion in the script, the film was compelling with some excellent acting and cinematography.
The story of the past is interspersed with the story of the wife thirty years later when she has become a famous cellist and returns to Poland to receive an award. I believe the alternating between 1941 and 1971 was done effectively. By the film's end it has evolved into a real tear jerker, presenting the overwhelming sadness that the characters have had to bear, from 1941 to the present. That's what came across most intensely for me: that no matter what the details were of any individual's or family's story, every one of them was tragic with an ensuing lifetime of sad memories. No matter how extensive the accomplishments of Holocaust survivors, and no matter how much time passes, the images of their perished loved ones and the heinous sadistic abuse they endured, never go away.
For such an intense, emotional story, I think the acting was excellent and did it justice. I never felt, as at least one reviewer did, that the film descended into melodrama.
Berlin is very low on my list of places to see, and it still is after seeing this. The producers were not subtle about their goal of creating an image of Berlin today as a city that's hip, young, open-minded, creative, and fun. A city where anything goes. Rather than focus on all these little stories of love, I think they should have focused more on whatever physical and/or architectural beauty the city has because I'm left thinking there must not be much since they didn't showcase it.
Also, Berlin's and Germany's past were like the elephant in the room: it's filling the room but no one's talking about it. OK, there were maybe two mentions of the past, including a few commemorative plaques in the sidewalk but little else. I think the film would have been much better if the past had had a role worked into the storyline, perhaps being comparative with the present. The present could have been highlighted in comparison to the past.
Instead, the past was barely mentioned, while the producers worked hard to connect the individual stories with Berlin, implying they couldn't have happened elsewhere. Not only did I not buy this but I was left with a sense of, yeah, OK, now what? I actually looked forward to the film ending.
I gave it a three because it has a lot of energy, plus there were great intentions (I think!) behind the making of it. Also, some of the scenes were quite atmospheric.
The second factor is the combined effect of an outstanding script and equally exceptional acting. Together, Ferguson and Hahn were so realistic and believable that I don't see how any viewer could fail to feel the emotions they were presumably feeling. Or, maybe I should speak for myself and say how I felt all the various emotions - and they went through a wide range - the husband and wife experienced. From beginning to end this drama was utterly believable, and as said above, compelling. Bravo to the writers, director, actors and everyone involved.
I very much enjoyed this film, if for no other reason than the beauty of the settings. As someone who hungers to travel to places such as Corsica, which to me are exotic and gorgeous, no matter how much a film may be lacking in other ways, the scenery usually makes up for it. This film, however, was not seriously lacking in any way. The only real criticism I have of it is its predictability. But even that doesn't matter.
I always find Sandrine Bonnaire to be charming, in an intelligent, waif-like way and she didn't disappoint in this film. Kevin Kline was suitable as the older, professorial employer and teacher. While none of the acting could be called outstanding, it was all pleasantly good.
And that kind of wraps it up for the film too: pleasantly good. Upbeat in a down-to-earth, realistic way. Plus, the great natural beauty, which was outstanding and a treat for this viewer.
Yes, all of these were in this film, and there may be more which I've left out. Very ambitious to try and touch upon all this in an hour and a half or so. Though I enjoyed watching it, thanks to Charlize Theron's superb acting skills and much less to the script, when it finished I was sitting here going "Huh?" Is that what Diablo Cody intended? Somehow I don't think so, but then, who knows? Perhaps she was aiming for an overall sense of chaos with an ending that didn't really feel resolved.
I chose to watch this movie because I wanted to watch something with a "good" ending along with a plot that didn't have evil and corruption and violence ruining people and lives en route to the happy ending. So, a "child's" movie made sense. But I found out, as I had expected, that it's also for adults, that is, adults who can suspend their forces of reasoning, logic and need for progressive action in favor of a more relaxed, intuitive and trippy way of experiencing what's before them.
For me, much of the experience of seeing and hearing Wonderstruck was like reading a poem, viewing a painting and/or listening to music. I absorbed it and "went with the flow." I found it to be a visual feast, as the time periods frequently changed, as did the characters and the plotline, at least that's how I felt. Hey, I didn't even realize Rose was deaf until about three quarters of the way through. This is a film in which the details are not as important, or effective, as the sum of the parts. For anyone who is considering whether or not to watch it I'd say go for it; it's a beautiful film if you leave your usual ways of watching a film at the door, and go in prepared for poetry and fantasy.