Saturday, January 5, 2013
Last night I got home from work exhausted; I had even fallen asleep on the subway ride home, my book open in my lap as my head bobbed up and down. Jesse and I ordered arepas and tostones for dinner and then I sequestered myself in our room with Netflix and Pee Wee and chamomile tea.
Since I was sleepy, I wanted a light movie that I may not have to pay attention to completely. I chose Like Crazy, and I chose wrong for a light, romantic movie. After I was fully awaken by that movie, I delved into Take This Waltz. What's weird about these two movies is though entirely different, there were similar themes, or, maybe similar questions raised about relationships, love, 'soul mates,' and romantic decisions. Life decisions, really.
Like Crazy is about an American man and British woman falling in love during college in the United States. They are in love...like crazy. When her student visa runs out, Anna makes the mistake of staying in the U.S. an extra week with Jacob, effectively (and unknowingly to her until it's too late) banning her from re-entering the U.S. The movie is a heartbreaker--their lives must carry on and they have to figure out whether the long distance is worth it if their appeals to the embassy are never approved, if they can circumvent the ban by getting married, and what happens when they become attracted to other people. As someone who has been in long distance relationships, the emotions that come across felt realistic. The ending was ambiguous to a certain extent -- and it made me SAD. All caps sad. But I wonder if it's just me, personally, that is sad. Would someone else watch it and see hope and happiness? I wouldn't call myself a cynic, but when it comes to love and relationships, I'm a realist.
What I liked best about Like Crazy was how the story unfolded -- there was no dialogue or title cards that informed on their decisions or the passing of time. Instead, the movie would just show you. In one scene they're on the phone and she begs a question; you know his answer not because he says anything but because it cuts to him watching someone else leave with a box of things, and then he's on a plane. I enjoyed the way the director revealed these plot points, and how he trusted the audience to discern what had happened on their own.
After the movie was over, I went downstairs and explained everything to Jesse in a big huff and he looked kind of bewildered and then just laughed at me. I trudged upstairs for another movie.
Take This Waltz has been on a few people's top ten lists this year (or, rather, last year's?), and so I knew I had to watch it before I made my own (coming soon!). The film is about Margot, a Canadian woman who lives with her husband Lou, a guy making a cookbook of chicken recipes. Their marriage seems happy if somewhat strange in its cutesy--she speaks to him in a baby voice sometimes ("I wuv you") and sometimes they act like two children playing games in a fort at summer camp. It's the most twee relationship I've ever seen depicted. It was kind of gross.
In the midst of this, Margot meets their neighbor Daniel who flirts with her a whole lot, even though she says she will be faithful to her wonderful husband. She's still curious, though. Let's be honest: Daniel is really, really, ridiculously good looking. Coincidentally last night, Amber was also watching Take This Waltz in her own home and we started texting about the movie (almost as good as watching a movie with my bestie!), and at one point we were just sending emojis to each other about how "balls hot" this guy was. And also, water aerobics.
I digress. So Margot is like, man, my marriage is awesome and I love my husband, and we've been married five years but... Daniel is different. Everybody, I think, can understand that feeling. At least the 'what if?' scenario. I have to be say, I'm not sure this movie would work--that Margot would work with the audience as well as she does--if she was not played by Michelle Williams. Williams is a likable, adorable woman. If Margot was played by someone that audiences didn't like as much, I think she'd come off completely differently, and most audiences wouldn't like her or what she does or this movie, at all.
The ending of this movie made me think of the ending of Like Crazy. I thought it was pretty sad and negative and depressing. There were a couple of things that signified that to me, even though it could be taken as wholly a happy ending. It was written and directed by Sarah Polley, and I enjoyed the movie overall, and liked her focus on Margot and her complexities. There was one particular scene in a cafe (one that made me burst out laughing so that Jesse could hear down below) that seemed so clearly written by and intended for women... it's seductive and funny, and I thought about that scene later during the ending sequences. The two together, the before and after, make me wonder and question--always good when watching a movie.
After the end, though, I did burst out with, "Ugh, RELATIONSHIPS!" I think that's a good reaction to these films. Had these two ended in traditional rom-com fashion, I would not have liked them as much. Who needs to see another tightly sealed happy ending? These movies give much more to work with, since they attempt to ask the audience something about themselves, I think.
Has anybody else watched these movies? I tried not to spoil either of them, but I recommend them. And also feel free to tell me what you thought of the endings. Were they happy or sad? What did you think overall? I'd love to discuss in the comments!