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Thunder Road (2018)
A wonderfully offbeat movie
Jim is a Texas police officer whose life is falling apart. His mother just died and his estranged wife plans to move away with their daughter. Though he pretends everything is fine, he has difficulties to cope with the situation, his unpredictable reactions making things worse. Alternating between tragedy and comedy, « Thunder road » explores human vulnerability and celebrates male sensitivity. The issue of toxic masculinity is implicitly addressed, the question being: how can you deal with your emotions if, as a man, you have always been told to repress them? Jim Cummings gives a strong performance. Despite overacting at times, he succeeds in making his character endearing. The most touching moments are the ones he spends with his daughter, trying his best to take care of her. This low budget movie is a very good surprise. I enjoyed its quirky atmosphere. It's a rewarding experience until the end, the closing credits being visually and musically beautiful (with a moving violin and cello orchestration of « Skinny Love » by Vitamin String Quartet).
Beautiful Boy (2018)
A powerful movie
Based on a true story, this film reminds us that addiction is a disease which does not discriminate: it can hit anybody at any time. Indeed, Nic (Timothée Chalamet) does not fit the stereotype of a junkie: raised in a loving upper-middle-class family, he is a good student and shares a close relationship with his father, David (Steve Carell). However, drugs have been part of his life since the age of 12 (alcohol and marijuana at first). The turning point is when he becomes dependent on methamphetamine, at only 18 years old. From that moment on, Nic and his relatives get trapped in a downward spiral. Despite all the support they give him, they are unable to prevent relapses and fear losing him. This movie accurately describes the harmful effects of drugs on family life. It also explores the limits of parental love. Well directed and earnestly performed, « Beautiful boy » is a deeply human drama.
Warm portrait of a Brazilian family
This movie beautifully describes the day to day life of a lower middle class family, in the surroundings of Rio de Janeiro. The love these people share brightens up their lives, keeping their worries away. The story focuses on Irene, a generous and courageous mother, who does not only take care of her 4 young boys and her husband, but also temporarily accommodates her sister and her child. This protective woman has mixed feelings when she learns her eldest son wants to move to Europe. Whereas he looks forward to being independent, she fears losing him. And their difference in perception creates funny situations. This film is full of humanity. It's a nice and positive moment of cinema.
Les chatouilles (2018)
A strong testimony
Andrea Bescond got deeply involved in this project. She did not only co-write the script and co-direct the movie with her husband, but she also had the leading role. Adapted from her play of the same name, the story is based on her own experience. As a victim of child abuse, she succeeds in making the plot believable. Thanks to her humor and her energy, it never falls into melodrama. We understand that this trauma left a permanent mark on her mind and that it took years to tidy things up. Dance and psychotherapy helped her release her pain. Even if I was a bit disturbed by the back and forth between past and present, reality and fantasy, I found the movie interesting. Especially because it sounds genuine. Moreover, it shows that child abusers can look like anybody. Most of them are indeed acquaintances or relatives.
Happî awâ (2015)
An original experience
This movie focuses on 4 Japanese women in their late thirties. We follow their daily lives and their personal journeys. These 4 friends realize that they are unhappy with their (love) lives and they try to take back control. Several interesting topics are addressed, such as the lack of communication in relationships, the emancipation of women and the quest for self-fulfillment. The 4 non professional actresses give good performances and we get attached to their characters. Being immersed in the Japanese culture is also an enlightening experience. However, the movie is long. Some cuts could have been made.
An enlightening documentary
This documentary gives a good overview of the latest advances in neurobiology and child development. It first explains how a child's brain works and then provides a wide range of educational advice for parents and teachers. Speakers are clear and skillful. The content is easy to understand and we learn fresh ideas.
Corpo Elétrico (2017)
This film follows the daily life of Elias, a young and attractive gay man. He lives in Sao Paulo and works as an assistant designer in a textile factory. During his free time, he enjoys going out with friends and having sex with other boys. The acting is good, but the story lacks consistency. So I got bored after an hour.
Plaire, aimer et courir vite (2018)
I have mixed feelings about this movie. It's not bad, but it's not awesome either. Some other gay films, such as « Call me by your name » and « Beats per minute », moved me more than this one. Moreover, this love affair sounds a bit unrealistic, given the circumstances (disease, distance and age gap). Fortunately, there are nice moments of tenderness (the reunion in Paris), emotion (the last scene) and humor (Denis Podalydès' choreography or Vincent Lacoste's striptease). The soundtrack features some good music, such as the delicate song « Les gens qui doutent ».
Good insight into an oppressive system
I enjoyed watching this film. Based on a true story, it faithfully reproduces the atmosphere of the post-war period, a few years before the building of the Berlin Wall. The direction is sober, apart from the tear-jerking sequence with Jonas Dassler crying in a church. Good acting and plot twists kept my attention until the end. I was moved by the situation of these young people. I also appreciated the values they share, such as solidarity and fraternity. With all they have to go through, it's clear that living at that time in East Germany was not a bed of roses.
Lady Bird (2017)
This coming of age movie is finely written and directed by Greta Gerwig. She loosely bases the story on her own experiences growing up in Sacramento. The main character, Christine, is 17 years old and calls herself « Lady Bird ». I like her free spirit. Saoirse Ronan fully embodies the role, bringing her energy and her sense of humor. She gives a great performance, as does Laurie Metcalf. Both actresses perfectly capture the complex relationship between a mother and her daughter. The rest of the cast is also good, especially Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet who play the boyfriends. The scenes with them are indeed funny and colorful. This bittersweet comedy deserves to be seen. It's a refreshing portrayal of teenage life.
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
A touching romance
« Call me by your name » is a beautiful movie about first love. The atmosphere is dreamy and I have been taken on an emotional journey for two hours. Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer give remarkable performances. There is a great chemistry between them. The charming landscapes, the good soundtrack and the delicate direction also contribute to this achievement. I like the way homosexuality is portrayed: being gay is normal; there is no drama queen and no pathos. This is a touching story that makes me want to fall in love.