Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sylvia, Goodbye Lenin


I don’t understand why this movie got bad reviews. It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. It was directed by a female, starring a female, about a famous female Poet’s life. It communicated something about the female experience that I’ve never seen in film before, and maybe that’s why all those male critics out there didn’t appreciate it- they had no idea what it was touching upon. Some of the moments in this film were so finely crafted by director and actress that I was able to identify like I never have before. Maybe there’s something to be said about who’s watching a movie. Sideways is getting great reviews, but it wasn’t all that special to me- I don’t think I am who the movie speaks to. Also- I thought Virginia Madsen’s wine monologue was pretentious and predictable. I dunno. It just wasn’t for me. Back to Sylvia . . .

I’ve said before that some recent movies have offered up female characters that I can identify with which have never existed in cinema before, Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation, Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine, and Natalie Portman in Garden State. But I relate to those characters in an entirely different way from the way that I related to Sylvia, and Sylvia is a real person, so perhaps there was something realer there for me that these fictional ladies couldn’t offer.

I have to say that this is the finest acting I’ve ever seen from Gwyneth Paltrow, more impressive than in Shakespeare in Love, and definitely more demanding. And I really liked the screenplay- there were some well chosen moments that I think really worked and helped tell this biography. The whole thing was directed well too. Just that some of the moments in this movie were just so damn real- the romantic moments, the painful ones, the happy ones, this one where she’s looking at a ceiling light fixture, or when they are out in the ocean. Arg it really struck me!

The real Plath and Hughes.

Goodbye Lenin

Well done, all around good fun, good drama- gives a great historical perspective of Germany in the early 90s. Watch DVD extra about the special effects. Seamless integration- I didn’t even think about them when watching it.

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