Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Film Class: It's Complicated

Alright so this is more like a year in review post and won't necessarily include films you have to add to your must watch list, though I would recommend it. Last year was a really good year for women filmmakers not even including the obvious. Almost all of the top women film directors released a film: Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker), Jane Campion (Bright Star), Nora Ephron (Julie and Julia), Mira Nair (Amelia), and Nancy Meyers (It's Complicated). Even though there are more and more women directors cropping up these five have been around for awhile and are trailblazers. It's almost overwhelming that they all had films come out last year.
Kathryn Bigelow {Source}
Jane Campion {source}

This weekend I finally watched It's Complicated, and now the only one I haven't seen is Amelia. I'm dragging my feet because I am not a huge Hilary Swank fan something about her really rubs me the wrong way for some reason and more than likely she will be in every scene of the film.

My favorite of all the films is, hands down, Bright Star, it is a beautiful and breathtaking film. It even has Paul Schneider in it who is one of my favorite actors and is also from Asheville, NC, where my husband grew up. It is shocking to me that both Campion and Bigelow were not nominated for best director at the Oscars last year, they both deserved the nominations. I guess film's biggest night is not quite ready enough to give up two seats to women behind the camera. While I can appreciate Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow tends toward films that are a little too intense for me. I also really like a film with a female lead particularly a female who bucks tradition.
 Nancy Meyers {Source}
Thus, bringing me to It's Complicated, which I finally watched this weekend. Since the arrival of the little baby girl into our lives we are not able to make it to the movies as often as we used to go. We're starting to get better about this arranging for a babysitter thing (i.e. my sister or my grandmother), but we're still a little limited. Thank goodness for Netflix. Nothing really substitutes for watching in a theater with the film projected on film (with digital projection I might as well stay at home). Yet, Netflix is a good, yet, distant second. For some reason I don't seem to want to talk about the movie...

Perhaps, because I didn't love it, and I really wanted to love it. My husband really wanted to love it as well, no luck there either. To begin with it felt too long. All the pieces were there they just needed to be rearranged. Meryl Streep was wonderful, but really, when is she not? Notice that she was in two of the above mentioned films, hmmm. Though the scenes with all "the girlfriends" did not ring true to me; they just laughed a lot and were giddy or something. Those scenes were really hard for me to watch. I think that Streep could have done more with the character she was a little one dimensional. She is used to being perfect and gets stomped on and then she breaks the rules and does the stomping. Streep could easily handle more complexity in a character so go ahead and give it to her. There was not enough of Steve Martin he wasn't allowed to really shine. His character was too perfect, too easy. He should have come up earlier it let's Streep off the hook because she ends it with Baldwin before she really starts dating him. The characters need to be allowed to have flaws (besides Baldwin, though somehow his flaw seems not to be a flaw because he is eschewing his young skinny wife for the older ex wife, how noble of him).

Actually, Meyers' last film The Holiday was a little long to me as well, but had a lot of heart and some really wonderful moments.  Some fell flat like Cameron Diaz crying at the end, a little over the top if you ask me. I love when Kate Winslet experiences the Santa Ana winds I almost feel them myself every time I watch the film.

Of course, there is always the chance that my expectations were to high and when I see it again with low expectations I'll appreciate it more. I hate it when I have to say that about a movie with a good movie hopefully expectations wouldn't matter. Though you should still watch it and tell me what you think. Plus, I do love the trailer.

Alright, so next week, Last Year at Marienbad, I promise. Hopefully, I'll be a little more positive. Though, I wasn't all that impressed with the film when I was in undergrad, but now that I've aged a little I thought I'd give it a another go. It just may have been the first French film I ever watched (other than The Red Balloon when I was young).


Patti said...

Hey Chelsea,
We watched It's Complicated this weekend, too, and your review is right on. There were a few really funny lines, but overall I was disappointed. Steve Martin definitely needed to come in earlier, and at times I was embarrassed for Meryl Streep. What a waste of talent. I'm putting Bright Star on my NetFlix list.
Cheer! - PW

Megan said...

I completely agree with your take on It's Complicated and I too really wanted to like it, but it was not anything special.

Thanks for this list of 2010 female-directed movies. I've been on the lookout for these since I found out men have always won the Oscar for best director (until Kathryn Bigelow).