Just to quickly layout the lay of the field, this film stars Fred a music composer with no intention of ever composing again. Meanwhile Mick, a film director and close friend of Fred’s, is still working pass his pique to churn out a new screenplay. Though that might initially sound anti-climatic Paolo reveals the serenity backdrop as ideal for the orbiting meteorites that is Fred’s daughter (Rachel Weisz) and Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano) an actor researching a role.
If you are a cinematography junkie, the texture of of its aesthetic is polished but not Hollywood white-washed. Running at 2 hours and 4 minutes, the vistas can get tedious but nothing worse than what Robert Redford’s “A River Runs Through It” did. The New York Times considered this film to be a Euro Buddy Film but I found it be the writing’s primary excuse to tell the story. However it didn’t play out as one and much of its condemnations arise from buying into that initial premise. In that same review, the story was accused of being “too small” and play caking to the old adage that “men are artists … and women are muses.”
If the writing is what holds you to the silver screen, I would counter this defense against sexism as a bit misguided or impatient. The film certainly draws us in to the old world of luxury and show that world in a steady decline but it also has its artifacts return to strongly condemn this old world and show the spirit of the newer generations claiming a stake into what the future holds for the human condition.
Take One Character
Ultimately what is great about this movie is also the source of much of the criticism it has received. Many have argued that about the writing. That both the narrative and the lines meander. To the first point, I counter that if you could suspend the need for a bow-tie cohesiveness and simply live within the film’s ecosystem and arrive there “on holiday” like all the other characters (most of the movie takes place in a beautiful spa) then we’d fee the compelling “creative-block” experienced by all the characters, closing their life and the youth still trying to find the opening to it.
Yes, its a date movie!
In a “dinner and movie situation,” this is one you see first and talk about during dinner. It is loaded with a treasure trove of existential musings that stick with you. Everyone will have “their” character and embrace their struggle. What makes the film masterful is how director Paolo was able to create strong leads — complete vignettes of each — without disorienting the holistic magic about it’s topic. It is a film that will touch those pursing their own art and those wishing to find the navigational controls for uncovering direction and purpose. ∴