I’ve been catching up on all the acclaimed movies of 2010 so I can start my best of 2010 list. Probably well after anybody cares, but who knows.
If you liked the idea of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, but thought it was too cute, too twee, and too clever, boy, do I have a film for you. This one is a doozie, but it’s the kind of emotional drainer that I treasure. It’s smart, realistic, funny, heartbreaking, and devastating. This is a film made with a lot of emotion put into it, a lot of heart, both behind and in front of the camera. This is a movie that feels like someone was waiting their whole lives to make, and it turned out magnificently.
A dark, strange odyssey into the type of place none of us would want to go, but some have to make their living. Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes are fantastic as they gut their way through a grimness that threatens at every corner and try not to let any weakness show. Lawrence digs deep and the steely reserve that shows in her eyes is even a little bit frightening. An all-around confident production that knows it’s going to a deep, dark place, and is completely unafraid to take you there.
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
A good mixture of entertaining and interesting. It works all at once as an elaborate prank, a behind the scenes look at street art, and a funny commentary on exactly what makes art popular, what makes art important, and what makes an artist an artist. I did enjoy watching Shepard Fairey and Banksy cringe at Guetta becoming successful without paying his dues, whatever that means, because honestly, the way to know your artform is mostly bunk is that someone can come along and copy it and have that actually be a plus. This movie was Banksy coming to terms with that.
Hit or miss, with some great scenes and some bum scenes. Some nicely done long takes, and some too self indulgent. Some over obvious symbolism and some very subtle moments. The good outweighs the bad, despite a bum ending, mostly due Elle Fanning, who is fantastic. Most kids are praised for performances in which they act like adults, but Elle Fanning just plays an 11 year old girl and is absolutely perfect. And that’s got to be way tougher than it seems, seeing how rare it is.