Jim Hunter (hunterjt13)Evansville
Jim's Recent Reviews
A thirty-year-old brat convinces a hapless woman to marry him.
Todd Solondz specializes in characters stuck on the edges of society, and there is no Solondz character more on the edge than Abe. His whiny narcissism is foundationally unattractive, and while I find myself agreeing with his Holden-Caulfield-esque denunciations of society and cruelty, I wish Abe weren't the one voicing these objections. Jordan Gelber plays the part without any care for what the audience thinks of him, and for this he should be lauded; it's Solondz, on the other hand, who fails to give us some small redeemable quality that makes us sympathize with his protagonist until the end. My comments about Gelber extend to Selma Blair, who also shines in a difficult acting challenge.
What is Solondz saying with this film? I think Solondz is presenting an anti-inspirational story, an antidote to Nicholas Sparks. He gives us the most annoying hero anyone could ask for, makes us think we should root for him, and then finishes the story honestly. Solondz is dark, and this film may be his darkest yet. The problem is that what works as a conceptual response to a genre of film doesn't necessarily work as a compelling story in itself.
Overall, I like the idea behind this film, but I couldn't stay with the execution for very long.
Young John Lennon is torn between his mercurial biological mother and his stuffy aunt.
The only thing I learned from this film is that John Lennon was once a real prick. The movie goes to great lengths to convince us that his upbringing produced his frustration, but Lennon's reactions to his troubled circumstances seem over-the-top, and we're not given many reasons to find him interesting. The plot languishes in exposition, and the final reveals about Julia's history don't surprise any discerning audience.
Kristin Scott Thomas can do anything, and she gives a fantastic performance, but Aaron Johnson plays youthful angst with all the brattiness of a misbehaving kid at Wal Mart.
I suppose that a more traditional biopic, with an older Lennon reminiscing on the travails of his life, might have been more compelling, and perhaps Beatles fans fill in this "front-story," but I judge a film based more on what is on the screen rather than context.
Overall, there is nothing new about this story for most people, but perhaps a cadre of Beatles fans will find Lennon's history interesting.