Thursday, 12 January 2017

January 12 2017
Collateral Beauty

The offerings this week don't totally float my boat. I'm being spoiled with so many 4-star and above films that I may be cracking down a bit hard on the also-rans! But hey - remember it's all a matter of personal taste when it comes to film! I'm quite disturbed that some of La La Land's awards so far have robbed what I perceive as better candidates of their just desserts. Among my personal circle, that is just one film that seems to divide the audiences. This week's may be the same! 

Director: Pablo Larrain
Length: 100 min

© EOne - a great performance is a mildly troubling film
The assassination of President Kennedy was one of the most immortalised events of the 20th century. This film takes us inside the week after the tragedy for his wife Jacqueline. It examines her personal trauma, her public persona, and her quest to to maintain control of how history would perceive her husband's legacy.  This highly unconventional biopic has potential Best Actress Oscar written all over it for Natalie Portman. Her performance is impressive as she captures the steely public face of Jackie, versus the wracking private grief. She captures the mannerisms and look perfectly, though I never feel I know the woman underneath. Notably, however, the structure of the film is aggravating to me. Larrain chooses to leap around in time, mixing events up together, from Jackie's early televised media tour of the White House, to the fateful day in Dallas, through to the funeral, Jackie's deep and meaningfuls with her priest, her relationship with her children and with brother-in-law Bobby (Peter Sarsgaard)  - all these story threads are revisited over and over in non-linear fashion. All is framed by a tedious interview with a journalist who poses philosophical questions regarding the nature of history and how people are remembered.  The musical score was the worst - overpowering and discordant. Despite its flaws, the film is still worth catching.  

3 - recommended!
For a full review from Chris Thompson:

Collateral Beauty
Director: David Frankel
Length: 97 min

©Roadshow - Will Smith is always good to watch, but the film
overall is a muddled attempt at mixing genres.
Howard (Will Smith) heads up a big firm, but is a lost soul mired in grief for his little daughter who died. He spends his time making elaborate domino towers, and writing letters to Love, Death and Time, bemoaning his lot. His office colleagues, perturbed that Howard can no longer function professionally, decide to hire a group of actors to play the three  concepts: Helen Mirren is Death, Keira Knightley Love and Jacob Latimore Time, and their mission is to talk Howard out of his grief and make him see there are reasons to go on - i.e. to notice the "collateral beauty" in all things. The concepts are high flown and potentially intriguing, but something goes awry in the execution. With such great actors (Edward Norton, Naomie Harris and Kate Winslet also star) I would have hoped for better, but somehow the script lets the film down. To attempt to tackle such lofty philosophical questions in the guise of a "feel good/tear-jerker" movie doesn't quite work - it ends up maudlin and muddled
2 - you've got better things to do with your time!

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