Since I was hiding my potted reviews away over on the Films Seen page and no-one was seeing them I’ve been advised by my blog-advisor to post them here and then archive them on that page. So here goes…
I’ve been hearing about Todd Haynes’s six-ring circus for so long now that I can’t say I was really looking forward to actually sitting through it. Lord knows the music biopic needs an injection of wit and invention (see Control), but the gimmick (borrowed from Todd Solondz) seemed like it might be the be all and end all of I’m Not There. Yet, as he did with Far From Heaven, Haynes pulls off his intellectual conceit and then some. I really didn’t expect the film to be so moving, so transporting. The music helps of course, and it barely needs saying that Cate Blanchett gives the performance of the year.
After lighting Nicole Kidman so exquisitely in Birth, the great Harris Savides here drowns her in a Sokurovian sunless gloom. Which is no less than she deserves as Margot, one of the most inventively cruel creatures I have ever had the pleasure of watching on screen. Her put-downs should win Pulitzers. After a couple of early trifles, Noah Baumbach has certainly found his voice documenting familial disintegration and the tortures of male adolescence, but you do wonder if he’s not sometimes laying it on a little thick. I did love the quiet panic of Margot stuck in the tree. Almost a wind in the trees moment.
I’d had this on my DVR ever since TCM played it a year ago to mark Robert Altman’s passing. I may have unfairly slighted Altman recently when I compared Southland Tales to bad Altman, but seeing Brewster McCloud again (middling Altman to be sure) reminded me just how essential he was. No-one ever saw the world the way he did, and no-one ever reflected it back at us the way he did. Even the sometimes insufferable Brewster (with its bird poop and Keystone Cops and Hazzard County car chases) is a thing of wonder. One of the best end-credit roll calls of all time too.
Critical faculties be damned. I saw this with the kids and it was adorable.