Category Archives: Movie Mumbo

Woody Allen and Art’s exposing risk

The apple of art doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Ideas may be universal but squeeze them through the sausage-making machine of the artist and they take on a unique shape. That’s the whole point.

This doesn’t mean that the writer has to hold the same views as his/her creations but, when all’s said and done, a sensibility shines through their representation.

It may not be obvious to start with but if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll pick up a trail.

Like trying to pen a Valentine’s card in a stranger’s handwriting, or forging the numerical receipts of cab drivers as realistically as possible*, the ‘you’ (or that part of ‘you’ being put to that use) is the common denominator: it can be found. (*I never do this)

When beautiful things come from people with un-beautiful histories, we are posed with a problem. From Wagner to Michael Jackson, we get all morally twisty-pants.

Is it right to hum along in your leisure time to the music created by a Nazi sympathizer? Does it endorse him, or encourage his views by complicity?

More, how COULD something so transcendent come from such a character in the first place? (Fine, maybe not Heal the World; Liberian Girl‘s bloody genius.)

I bet a good consideration of that subject could yield interesting insight, alongside the more obvious stuff about the drive to escape from personal demons, or the demons spawning that very escape, maybe in a redemptive bid.

For now, suffice to say we are no one definition. We are ‘good’ and ‘bad’, or actually neither. We like ice-cream and playing the guitar and making chutney.

Sometimes we need to be judged. But, for me, it must be in relation to that specific charge- otherwise we’d all be in for the chop.

So, Woody Allen.

Woody roused me 5 years ago, with Vicky Cristina Barcelona: http://wp.me/pfnZ7-iO

I love his films because they are about dialogue, relationships, social interaction, trad jazz, intimate restaurants, frolics, humour, apartments with thin corridors, large beds, large lamps, tall book walls, and literary agents.

They’re also about permissiveness, which is why they often lack high drama and have puffy endings. Everything’s OK if you spill it on your therapist: affairs, divorce, cancer. It’s all part of life’s farce- let’s just talk it out and move on to a new marriage.

It’s probably what happens when comedians write feature films without Owen Wilson and a boisterous dog: even if some pretty heavy life shit’s been going on between the opening and closing credits, all’s well that end’s well.

Woody married his ex-wife’s teenage step-daughter. You don’t have to be Columbo to deduce he’s not a granny grabber. It doesn’t mean he’s a paedophile either, though the allegations are there.

When I watched Manhattan again recently, some elements popped up- the interpretation of some elements popped up, it’s fairer to say.

So we’ve got four characters. Woody is Isaac (although really he’s Woody) and he’s in a jumble because he’s dating a 17 year old ‘kid’, Tracy.

Isaac spends the entire film telling his friend Yale, Yale’s wife, his soon-to-be replacement lover Mary and Tracy herself, that the relationship isn’t right because she’s just a child.

He is reassured by them all that it’s OK; she’s a legitimate date, there-there, don’t worry, you’re not doing anything wrong.

Tracy is played by gentle Mariel Hemingway but a broom might have filled the role satisfactorily.

She has no opinions, apart from to say that she’s old enough to have opinions. She has no wit, no voice, no discernible personality. She’s a stooge for his self-revelatory stand-up. She is talked at by Isaac, who tells her on a loop that she shouldn’t really be sleeping with him.

Meanwhile Yale, his friend, is the handsome man Woody would like to be deep-down (Isaac’s his best shot at being who he is). Yale introduces Isaac to his mistress Mary, Diane Keaton.

Now, Mary is a real woman. She has outspoken views and says funny stuff and, at first, Isaac’s not at all sure about this 3-D female proposition that’s going on.

However, she’s attractive and tells Yale she finds Isaac attractive. Plus she slips past the post because she’s also emotionally screwy so Woody- sorry Isaac- can relate.

Isaac leaves the ‘kid’ Tracy. He breaks up with her like you’d break up with a broom: ‘I’m breaking up with you, Broom. Don’t be sad.’

He says she needs to go to London to Drama School because she’s wasting her time on a 42 year-old man like him and should see life. Tracy is heartbroken and later we learn Isaac ignores her phone-calls. He’s got a new gal; it becomes Tracy Who?

So Isaac and Mary have a crack at a grown-up relationship. They go to galleries and on walks and discuss things, like people born within a quarter of a century of each other might.

Mary talks incessantly about her incredible former husband, Jeremiah, and Isaac is disconcerted until they bump into him and he’s a runt who makes Isaac look like Brad Pitt.

There’s hope for Isaac, it seems. Allure comes in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be a Yale to hook a Mary.

Only, do you?

Isaac’s happy. Yes, his beautiful ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep, or Meryl Streep’s long blond hair with Meryl attached) has left him for another woman but that’s OK because it suggests that sexuality has a spectrum and is fluid (contentious this, but who knows where else this sort of acceptable fluidity might trickle into?)

He’s got a smart, successful journalist who’s crazy about him and all’s good.

Turns out the smart journalist is still in love with handsome Yale. He’s going to ride the alimony pony and shack up with Mary.

So where does this leave Isaac? Will he be devastated? Will he have a breakdown and take time to recover until one day down the line, mature love finds him again?

Or, will he lie on the sofa thinking about his book and suddenly be caught in the grip of Tracy’s ‘pretty face’?

Will he jump up and run all the way to the girl he hasn’t thought twice about since he sent her back to the broom cupboard in order to have a go at being an adult, and interrupt her on the very day of her departure for London, asking her not to go?

Tracy (now 18, thus MORE than respectable) tells him he’s being unreasonable. She extracts from him an empty declaration of love and reminds him he left her in the lurch and subsequently ignored her, then points out that everything is set up for her new adventure and her parents are awaiting her arrival. And that if their love is true, 6 months is not so long to hold out for her and allow her this freedom.

Isaac’s response?

He wants her. He needs her. He doesn’t want that thing he likes about her to change (her innocence). Don’t go. Mememememememememememememe. Quiet, stompy feet. Puppy face.

Isaac, the child. Woody, the child. Throwing himself at the mercy of the child.

So I’ve built a sort of case but I’m going to stop short of a conclusion; one plus one equals two but it can also make eleven.

Art may expose but what exactly? What exactly?

Manhattan ends with Isaac mid-plea and we don’t know if Tracy will stay or go.

As with most Allen films, the journey- not the destination- is the point. I’ll do the same here.

If you believe one’s duty is to take a moral stance, it’s a cop-out.

If you’re happy to muse, you’ll accept the open ending.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Movie Mumbo, Mumbo Life, Mumbo Obsessions, Uncategorized

Scarlett and the Alien metaphor

Film Review Under the Skin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aliens aren’t interesting.

They embarrass us, by exposing the limitations of our imagination.

Because we can only define by what we know, the best we come up with is that they’ve got pointy heads and maybe, like, one weird central eye.

What they can do is help us to re-appraise ourselves.

Now let’s think: in whose body might they do this, such that we’ll be more inclined to pay attention?

What about- ooh, I don’t know- say, Scarlett Johansson’s?

Under The Skin is pure atmospheric cinema (probably better consumed after a floatation tank session than ‘two-fer’ doughballs at Pizza Express, to be fair).

It’s sensory, evocative, elusive, and might just be the answer to Jonathan Glazer’s brain tickler as to how he can spend 3 weeks legitimately holed up with Hollywood’s sexiest starlet without having to make gooseberry jam with a hot leading male in tow.

So what behaviours come to us fresh when filtered through alien eyes?

A surprising number, thanks to the emotional dissonance of this strange creature, experienced as a result of its inhabiting of flesh.

The moment it curiously examines Scarlett’s human face at the close of the film is a crystallization of its painful effort to become a socialized animal on planet earth.

This question of empathy is central to the film, to the human condition.

We wince when it’s lacking (the little boy left on the beach); we relate with sensitivity to the craving to be loved, when it is simulated for ulterior motives (the deformed man); we feel the purity of kindness (the man on the bus), of beauty (the man giving her a tour of the castle); of love’s physical expression (the two of them in bed), when it’s experienced for real.

The cutest part is, it’s even evoked in us on behalf of the creature itself when the tables are eventually turned. We just can’t help ourselves.

When the chips are down, compassion is what separates us from computers, and we could all benefit from pondering that with a cafe creme and a bottle of Bud.

Also trundling into view, is the gulf between experience and interpretation.

Scarlett spends 3/4 of the film silently apprehending, as you would if you had no idea why a group of girly slags were escorting you to a night club.

It’s boring and frustrating for the audience.

Why?

Because we want to interpret- for it to mean something.

We’re not used to Directors asking us to listen to windscreen wipers unless the wipers are about to break, or clearing the view for a shot of Adam Sandler mugging for the camera in a Hawaiian shirt.

And we’re not used to doing this in life either. We need a purpose; we want a story.

The fact is, of course, we learn a whole lot more when we experience stuff just as it is.

Conversely, we also do things with little thought at all- like eating black forest gateau, for example.

It’s sweet and it tastes good. So shovel it down! Go on- heart attacks be damned!

Do it slowly and thoughtfully like your wee alien here, meanwhile, and you might come to realise it’s not good for you; it’s going to make you sick.

At a more vital level, we’re presented with the linear, almost childish sex drive of (some) men: ‘You’re pretty. Let’s fuck.’

For these male Scottish victims, it is their carnal instinct that propels them forward. They walk into their fate, literally: upright, full-frontal.

And it’s not ugly.

It’s honest and uncomplicated. It seeks to be sated- nothing more, nothing less.

(Mostly, it takes more than a compliment on her hands to bed a woman: why?)

Aliens are a metaphor for the ‘other’.

They are the foreigners we might fear, the strangers we avoid.

They do more than hold a mirror up to us.

They challenge us to say if we like what we see.

2 Comments

Filed under Movie Mumbo, Mumbo Life, Uncategorized

Colin and me

I got a message from Colin Firth saying he was overwhelmed by the high life and wanted to chill out with someone friendly.

When I arrived at his house he looked less large and green than I had expected and it occurred to me that maybe I’d dreamt the whole thing when I fell asleep during ‘Shrek’.

But being Charm Itself he welcomed me in and we enjoyed a pair of Alpen Light cereal bars. We doubted the judgment of Tesco Online’s substitution of them for Nature Valley granola bars but they turned out to be quite tasty.

‘So Anne Hathaway. Mouth too big or do you think she rocks it?’, I quizzed mid-dunk.

He gave me that steely English reserve look he’s known for and coughed. After slightly too long I moved on to his staggering success, to which he responded with the old King humble speech (no stutter) but his left eye was twitching, which denotes a gargantuan ego, in my experience.

‘My first exposure to you was in the film ‘Another Country‘ when I was at boarding school. My friends fancied Rupert Everett but I suspected he was gaywise even back then and went bananas for your sulky schtick.’

‘Really, that’s too kind,’ he said humbly (eye twitching).

We established he is rarely mistaken for Colin Farrell (although how would he know: ‘Hey Colin, great hair in that movie!’– see what I mean?) before indulging in a bit of Darcy chat.

Of his path to glory he said he could take absolutely no credit whatsoever for anything he has ever done ever because it had all simply landed in his lap.

‘You mean you didn’t have to sleep with even the teensy weensiest casting director to get the role in ‘Nanny McPhee‘?’ I asked mischievously.

I took his silence as a yes, allowing him to take the lead in the conversation, which he did with considerable earnestness and at some length on the subject of ‘A Single Man’. I nodded a lot, resisting the urge to tell him his clear-lense spectacles had made the greatest impression on me of all.

‘But you’ve had fun too!,’ I exclaimed, trying to lighten the mood. ‘Bridget Jones. St. Trianian’s 2. Mamma Mia!’

For a split second I thought he was going to cry but he widened his mouth in the manner of a smile instead. At which point I suspected his teeth were not quite as nature intended and come to think of it not much else either.

But you don’t sit in a star’s living room and tell him his complexion is waxy, especially when he’s about to sing like a canary about Renee Zellweger’s weight gain.

Which he didn’t so much but he does think Hugh Grant is a peerless human being (hooker scandals notwithstanding), that Meryl Streep does a better English accent than him and that Uma Thurman could actually do with being a bit taller.

‘Do you remember making eye contact with me in the children’s play area of the Natural History Museum a few years ago?’ I probed, bringing him back down to earth.

He hesitated ever so slightly before saying, ‘Not exactly’, and looking uncomfortable. So in I jumped: ‘You’re absolutely right. It was the Natural Science Museum.’

I didn’t think I should miss the opportunity to show a bit of leg but his mind was elsewhere and before long he had me folding napkins for his dinner party.

I wanted so much to ask him about his child with Meg Tilly but he was humming a song from ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ and it was just too good to interrupt.

When it came to an end I picked up my pot plant and kissed him on the cheek.

‘Do you know why women love you, Colin?’ I said as I sashayed out the door, his eye starting to twitch immediately. ‘Because you’re intense, sexually unthreatening and posh.’

And then hurried back to shout ‘But not like Prince Charles!’ through the letterbox.

3 Comments

Filed under Movie Mumbo, Uncategorized

Sound of Music Fan Letter: Georg

Dear Gayorg,

Yes, I know you don’t spell your name like that- it’s George without the ‘e’- but what a name for a Captain with 7 children, in need of a new wife!

I wanted to tell you how glad I am you let the cameras follow your life in Vienna; those aren’t the kind of memories you want buggered up by Alzheimers.

If a Blockbuster were burning to the ground in a cloud of synthetic carpeting and bubbling black jelly worms yours is the one reel of celluloid that the fluids of the last shower on earth should be sacrificed for.

Two hours and fifty-four minutes of saturated emotion and the sort of singing the police get called in to stop: your whole story makes my hills come alive.

I think you and the ex did a first-rate job with the children. The whistle business is OTT, granted, but they’re a real set. I kind of suspect Liezl is a bit older than 16 but no matter- she’s dreamy. And little Gretl- well, I could just bake her up in the oven and eat her with condiments.

Now, I can see why you were courting your Baroness. She’s a bit slutty and husky and when you chuck a wad of cash and a 20-a-day Gitanes habit into the mix she’s got a lot going for her.

But she only plays the poxy harmonica, Gayorg, and she doesn’t mind a bit of Nazi either, which isn’t really up your straza.

What I can’t understand is how long it took for you to get Maria, with her tomboy hairdo-clutching and annunciation of every word to within an inch of its life.

She makes curtain playclothes, she yodels, she does indoor theatre; there aren’t many women out there bringing all that under one roof of feisty tenderness, make no mistake.

You could have shaved a good hour off the footage if you’d just taken her straight into the ballroom on interview day and shown her why she didn’t want to marry God. (Should any woman go from nun to wife without discovering their genitalia? Or are there some scenes on the cutting room floor?)

But thank Mozart you didn’t.

The way you look at her when she brings music back into the house. The moment she leaves because she wants to save you from loving her. They make me take a sharp intake of breath and put down my sewing every time.

She was slowly opening your heart, like the world’s strongest man trying to prize open heavy steal doors.

You validate her, you complete her, she is soaked in your suave demeanour. And all while taking some evening air in your well-tended garden. I tell you, this is what Jude Law’s nanny really had in mind.

So thank you, Gayorg.

Your manly restraint, your patriotic principles, your knee-high boots, have set the standard.

Every rainstorm, every lonely goatherd, every piano scale of my life is heavy with do-re-me and you and your reality show are the reason why.

Sincerely,

mumbo

2 Comments

Filed under Movie Mumbo, Mumbo Life, Mumbo Obsessions, Uncategorized

Gwynnie and me

‘Can I help you out with that trash?’

I heard a voice over my shoulder and, sure enough, when I looked up it was Gwyneth Paltrow on a break from up-dating her website, GOOP.

I knew very well she was being ironic. Certainly, she seemed quite tickled by the notion of it. So I left my chore and invited her into my mouse house.

After I’d washed my hands I got some fish fingers out of the fridge. They can defrost together, I thought as I welcomed her warmly.

Gwynnie is a piece of alabaster perfection and she can do long and short hair, as she showed us in Sliding Doors. I asked for some beauty tips, which she surrendered gracefully.

Nevertheless, she roundly dismissed my offer to paint her nails, with a snort through her elegant nose.

‘Do you prefer Luke or Owen Wilson?’ I asked, referring to her roles in the Wes Anderson films.

‘Oh, I couldn’t possibly choose between them,’ she replied coyly.

‘I could,’ I revealed. ‘Owen. More chamomile tea?’

We went for a walk around Ravenscourt Park so she could get some air. She seemed to relax a little but I have to admit I was quite annoyed because she was wearing sunglasses so no-one knew who she was.

She told me she thinks shampoo gives children cancer and that she bounces on a trampoline to sculpt the fabulous skyscraper heel legs that tell the world she’s sexy even though she’s the mother of Moses and a piece of fruit.

‘And Chris- well, he’s so talented. He takes his music very seriously,’ she opened up.

‘Do you think he takes quite a lot of stuff seriously?’ I asked, trying to widen my eyes.

‘No, not at all,’ she replied very seriously. ‘Chris has got a fantastic sense of humour. Just this morning over breakfast he was saying something really funny… Now what was that?’

I let her flail around like a weighted puppy for what seemed like an eternity before blowing the whistle and diving in with a basic bacon and egg gag, at which she laughed so hard I began to wonder if she really does find Chris a bit of a card.

I could tell right from the get-go that she wasn’t going to dish the dirt- she’s not desperate enough, having been born into fame and privilege.

So I took the liberty of switching off and playing ‘shag, marry, cliff’, teaming her up with Jennifer and Angelina, seeing as they all like a bit of Brad Pitt.

It was a no-brainer she was ‘marry’- hell, I’d already managed to spend a few hours in her company without really listening. The other two were easy as well: ‘shag’ Jen and ‘cliff’ Angelina (playing the rules by my original understanding of them, whereby ‘cliff’ is the person you are so crazy about you would be willing to jump off one with them).

When I came round, Gwynnie was talking about Anna Wintour and I regretted not paying attention. She said Anna started inviting her to lunches with John Galliano after her Oscar win and reckoned it was because the Queen of Vogue admired her work.

I let it slide. But it got me thinking about Shakespeare in Love.

‘Joseph Fiennes is quite intense but don’t you think his eyes are too close together?’ I asked, hungry for her professional opinion.

‘I was so blessed to work with Jo. He’s a giant of an actor,’ she replied.

‘Wow. Taller than Tim Robbins?’ I asked.

I think I got the wrong end of the stick but I knew she was relieved I didn’t allude to her acceptance speech debacle.

Instead, I praised her English accent and told her she was much better than Renee Zellweger, who sounds like she’s being goosed by the President but can’t let on.

Gwynnie found this remark distasteful. Angelina had warned me that she was a cut above but did I listen? No.

‘Have some of my Mum’s fruit cake with a thin layer of Lurpak butter on it,’ I suggested as she gathered her mobile phones to leave.

In reply to which- and oh, please God, may I never feel so wrong again- she gave me a look that still sends shivers down my spine.

‘I’m not sure I get you, Sophie,’ she said eventually, as she let two bodyguards help her on with her trainers. ‘But probing characters is my vocation so I’m going to take you to bed with me for a few nights to see what I can figure out.’

O.K, I thought.

As long as you don’t mind Jennifer Aniston joining us.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movie Mumbo

Fantastic Mr. Fox

fantastic_mr_fox_large_film

Whatever else it is, Fantastic Mr. Fox is bang on brief: a Wes Anderson interpretation of a Roald Dahl creation.

In other words, a quirky American sensibility brought to the grand-daddy of quintessentially English children’s authors. Quentin Tarantino doing Wordsworth might make for a similar coupling- interesting and accomplished but sort of very wrong.

The rustic-style stop-frame animation in a rural countryside setting is nostalgic and inhabited by three farmers who are nicely menacing, albeit in a slightly odd ‘Lock, Stock’ way. The script is witty, the music inventive.

But drop George Clooney, characters called Kristofferson and a sushi joint in the village marketplace and it gets a tad derailed.

The two main problems with the movie are also its selling points: Anderson’s style and the Clooney superbrand.

By means of a small but well-formed body of work Anderson has created one of the most distinctive film-making footprints in Hollywood: visually rich, theatre-like set-pieces; functioning dysfunctioning high-brow family units; a plot segmented by witty titles, wrapped in a droll humour relatively new to American comedy (We get irony! We love The Office!).

It’s a rejection of schmaltz in favour of emotional authenticity, offset using stranger than fiction characters as vehicles.

There’s no doubt a weasel real estate agent delivery predictable sales patter about a walnut tree is funny and the naming of the animals by their original Latin terms in order to motivate them has an intelligent charm.

But wasn’t this a book written for kiddies? Scenes that refer to Mrs. Fox’s easy virtue pre-marriage and end with the line, ‘I love you but I should never have married you’ suggest this detail may have slipped through the net.

Nevertheless, it is actually this sort of Anderson trickery that holds the attention, the story somehow falling short of the promise of the title as Mr. Fox reveals himself to be more arse-tastic than fantastic.

Despite his wild animal instincts defense it is hard not to feel irked by his self-inflicted predicament, which he manages to exacerbate on the behalf of his family and friends with a series of substance-less ‘plans’, to the point where the plot summary might have read, ‘annoying fox forces mean farmers to terrorise him further and further underground’.

Of course, they all pop up again in a balls-out action scene at the end but they are still living in bare cells below ground level and not in a light-filled hill-top tree, their hunting imperative replace with supermarket aisle treats.

When I left the cinema it was George Clooney rather than his furry alter-ego who left a taste in my mouth and not in the smooth, velvety chocolate way of popular myth.

The character he voices and the one he projects in real life blend so seamlessly it is hard to imagine Anderson would have proceeded with the project without Clooney’s acceptance of the role.

The result is that it’s hard to know where the oleaginous national treasure with the unerring sense of his own significance end and the movie’s eponymous hero begins. What Mr. Fox really needed was a lovable rogue to redeem his selfish actions when what he got was the poster boy of smug reinforcing them.

I am unrepresentative of an adoring Clooney strong-hold and Anderson’s artistry is undeniable.

But ultimately the movie is a vintage wooden toy: original, flawed and intended for the amusement of children, destined to be appreciated as an artwork by parents.

1 Comment

Filed under Movie Mumbo, Uncategorized

The Wrestler: A review

the-wrestler1

In the shadow of their press headlines movie stars can struggle to convince; it takes concentration to believe in Brad Pitt getting younger every day when you know how he celebrated his 43rd birthday.

The Wrestler is a film that takes this and uses it to full advantage. Mickey Rourke’s boxing background, his troubled personal life and disastrous career decisions bring an invaluable authenticity to his role as Randy ‘the Ram’ Robinson, a washed up professional wrestler with failing health, working the week-end promotion circuits.

It is unclear to us as the audience- maybe to the Ram himself- if wrestling became his family because he messed up his real-life one or if he messed up his family because of his devotion to wrestling. (Certainly the violence, training, celebrity and narcissism that go with it wouldn’t seem to encourage domestic bliss.)

Either way, it becomes the only constant he can rely on, the ring both his saviour from a hostile real world and the destroyer of his fragile body.

The film gives a fresh twist to the ‘one last fight’ formula by tracking his clumsy yet affecting attempts to claw back some emotional meaning to his life following a heart attack before the ultimate re-match that will end it all.

Darren Aronofsky’s gritty direction is key to the telling of this story. Borrowing from the honesty of his style in Requiem for a Dream his camera is never needy, documenting more than manipulating and seeking no approval from the audience.

What we observe is a flawed man with integrity negotiating the tough reality which has been largely of his own making- trying, effectively, to reap more than he has sown. A man so wedded to his profession he is out of place anywhere outside it- his overbuilt body, tan and blonde high-lighted mane the physical expression of this.

The improvised scenes in the deli, in which Randy awkwardly presides over the meat counter, encapsulate the heart of the film as much as those in the ring where, bouffant hair stuffed into counter-staff plastic hat, the more he tries to ‘do normal’ the more he feels like an outsider.

The scene where he bleeds on the ham slicer and rages angrily out of the store is the zenith of his predicament and it is testament to both the intimacy of Aronofsky’s direction and Rourke’s performance that, however alarming a figure the Ram cuts, our empathy is with him. We understand his actions because we know his history, which makes one ponder how many strangers’ transgressions we would forgive if we knew theirs.

But this is not a depressing film. There is warmth and humour throughout- from the camaraderie of the locker room to stripper Cassidy’s ‘tart with a heart’ and daughter Stephanie’s thwarted affection. Not forgetting the genius comic cameo creation of the weird wrestling fan chick with the fireman fetish and pet ferret.

Rourke’s plastic surgery mask acts like a billboard to the rough ride of his life, lending a touching pathos to his performance. A fighter’s stoicism and give-a-shit attitude, meanwhile, ensure that ‘the Ram’ never plays as victim. He inhabits the role without apology, in the way that only a man who has experienced pride before a fall first-hand could.

Marisa Tomei, meanwhile, plays a woman whose split public (Cassidy) and private (Pam) personae make her a sympathetic love-interest for the Ram. She plays the role with an appealing softness and while her body is fantastic she has a face just the wrong side of beautiful to be believable.

The Wrestler is a successful film because, in common with much good art, it tells the unique story of an individual while illuminating the truths of every man.

It does not shy away from identifying that our capacity to make mistakes can outweigh our capacity to forgive but that the boundaries we set ourselves are sometimes as harmful as those we fail to set.

Above all, it is a human film about loneliness and belonging and our fundamental need to be loved- by a father, a daughter, a lover, a fan.

1 Comment

Filed under Movie Mumbo, Uncategorized