Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Film Class: Lymelife

Last week was a very busy time and I was unable to begin watching Film Noirs as I had planned. I will use this week to focus on them.

However, before we left we watched a recent film, Lymelife. While not a perfect film by any stretch it has some interesting elements. It is reminiscent of Ang Lee's The Ice Storm, which was never a favorite of mine though I haven't seen it for awhile. Lymelife stars two of the Culkin brothers, Kieran and Rory, as well as Julia Roberts' niece, Emma. The cast is rounded out by many other notables such as: Alec Baldwin, Timothy Hutton, Cynthia Nixon, and Jill Hennessy. None of which really did anything for me; they were quite lackluster.

The story follows two families during the late 70s in Long Island. It's a coming of age film for Rory Culkin. The plot gets a little bogged down and starts to drag toward the middle. When I got up to get a snack I didn't even pause it. So be prepared for that if you choose to watch it.
 What impressed me the most was the primary cast; the Culkins and Roberts. Rory Culkin's character is in teenage love with Emma Roberts. It is clear that she is interested in him, but she appears at first to be aloof. Since the Culkin's so often played children roles you think of them as being cute and adorable and this film plays with that notion, but allows them to grow up as well. Kieran Culkin is not adorable at all, he plays a soldier home on leave before being shipped out. One of the first things his character does is beat up a bully that is terrorizing Rory. Yet, the only reason we did not fast forward to the ending was due to Rory and Emma's performance and the chemistry. Though some scenes were just way to long.
The ending is the only part that could be better. They included an alternate ending, which I usually hate to watch, but in this case the alternative worked better for me. The ending, as is, makes the film be more about whether or not so and so was shot. Whereas when it is clear who was or was not shot and it ends with the Emma and Rory on the bus the film clearly states that the story is about them and how they will deal with the consequences of their parents indiscretions.

The film could really benefit from another pass in the editing suite, but if you are at all intrigued by the Culkin's this is a good film to check out. By the way it is not a comedy at all, not even a dark one. It is a drama. For some reason it was pitched that way to both myself and my husband. So be prepared. Also it does not feel like the seventies in any way, shape, or form. There are random comments thrown in about Star Wars and such, but that could just as easily be today. Check out the trailer here.

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