Tout le monde aime Jeanne
“Superficiality is for another generation,” Jeanne Mayer (Blanche Gardin) screams to herself. Instead, her anxieties say it to her, visualized through sinuous, sketchy animation; they demand a lot. She can’t focus on her own body. Oh, no; that’d be too vain. It’s okay to appreciate the glances of men on the street, if just occasionally, though. It feels good, after all. But wait: she can’t give into hedonism. And she may be stressed, but having a bit to drink before noon? That’s just alcoholic behavior. How about labeling her a “wino” instead? Yeah, that’s better. Continue Reading →
Tytöt tytöt tytöt
(This review is part of our coverage of the 2022 Sundance Festival. Continue Reading →
When You Finish Saving the World
With When You Finish Saving the World, Jesse Eisenberg directs Julianne Moore and Finn Wolfhard to strong turns as a mother-son duo united by self-obsession.
(This review is part of our coverage of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.)
Jesse Eisenberg’s directorial debut When You Finish Saving the World reminds me of Alex Ross Perry and Noah Baumbach’s early work. Its dialogue is witty and often cringe-inducing. Its characters are deeply flawed, unlikable people out to hurt each other. Given that Eisenberg worked with Baumbach on The Squid and the Whale, the similarities make sense. Continue Reading →
劇場版 美少女戦士セーラームーンCosmos 前編
Stephen Karam adapted his own Tony Award-winning play, The Humans, with mixed results. The most impressive thing is how it has the characteristics of a film instead of feeling like a stage play with a camera placed in front of it. One of the pitfalls of these types of movies, especially when they deal with very normal subjects like familial relationships, is that they quickly become a self-parodied slog of old tropes and, even worse, try to be topical to the present day. While The Humans does tread into cliched territory several times, it’s the film’s acute understanding of the way the camera adds extra dimensions that turns it into something much better than it ought to be. Continue Reading →
Isabelle Furhman's relentless lead performance as an obsessive aspiring athlete propels the Tribeca rowing drama forward.
“Rhythm is everything,” a crew coach tells Alex (Isabelle Fuhrman) at one point during The Novice, which won awards for best U.S. narrative feature, actress, and cinematography at the Tribeca Festival this week. The coach could well be explaining how this movie, about a college student with an obsessive drive to be the best at varsity rowing, differentiates itself from Black Swan (the movie about a young woman with an obsessive drive to be the best at ballet) or Whiplash (the movie about a young man with an obsessive drive to be the best at jazz drumming) or The Social Network (the movie about a college student with an obsessive drive to be the best at something, even if it winds up destroying the world, in part because there’s no way that he can row crew)—all of which The Novice resembles in content, and sometimes form.
Writer-director Lauren Hadaway’s rhythm is her own, distinct from Darren Aronofsky’s, David Fincher’s, and Damien Chazelle’s, the triumvirate of dude directors who made those previous, excellent studies in obsession. Perhaps informed by her own college rowing experience, Hadaway keys into a relentless push-pull, especially as Alex drives herself further, further, and further still before picking herself up off the floor. Continue Reading →
Céline Sciamma's followup to Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a graceful tale of rediscovered childhood.
(This review is part of our coverage of the 2021 Berlin Film Festival.)
In the wake of the international success of her hypnotic, Gothic-infused romantic drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019), it would have been natural to assume that Céline Sciamma's next film would be a major project and the center of great scrutiny. Perhaps recognizing and preferring to avoid that template, Sciamma instead went the other way. She not only follows up Portrait with the decidedly small-scale Petite Maman, she shot it so quickly and in such secrecy that most people didn't even know she was working on anything until its world premiere at Berlinale was announced. Continue Reading →