Sunday, January 18, 2009

time spent on the couch with some possible OSCAR contenders

This is day 2 of being fully sequestered in the house. I think I'm going to get out for a short while later this afternoon though. Patrick is going to take me to visit Kellye while he and Victor have a meeting to discuss potential business. I'm thinking that this would be a good time to catch up on my OSCAR contenders. I still need to watch "Milk" and "Frost/Nixon" (both of which we have screeners for)and I'm steadfastly on the lookout for a screener copy of "Slumdog Millionaire" (since it swept both the critic's choice awards, AND the globes...I'm thinking chances look good for Oscar too. Last week I watched "Revolutionary Road" and I have to be honest, it has really stuck with me. It's definitely one of those you will think about long after the credits have rolled. I love both Kate Winslet & Leonardo Decaprio & the fact that Sam Mendes directed was another plus for me as well (I'm a HUGE "American Beauty" fan). So I decided I wanted to see it, even though I had first thought it would just be too dark for me and I didn't really care to undertake it. After all of the talk about it at the globes and Kate Winslet's best actress win, I had to check it out. (Insert note here that for some reason, the blog function is all screwy and will not allow me to differentiate paragraphs today. So forgive me if this turns into one HUGE run-on sentence) There was a great deal about it that reminded me of "American Beauty", (In fact, Pat and I were joking that Sam Mendes must REALLY have disdain for suburbia), but I saw a great deal of similarity to Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" too...I'm sure that, like me, most of you read that in high-school. Kate Winslet's character, April, is a woman who has seemingly just FOUND herself occupying the role of suburban house wife and mother and it doesn't take long to become clear that it is slowly withering her from the inside out. It's very much a movie about the loss of dreams, or I guess I should say the unexpected paths our lives sometimes take until one day, we wake up and look in the mirror and find ourselves wondering what happened to the person we used to be? It also plays a great deal on the idea of "the American Dream" and what it means. The movie is set in the 1950's so, obviously, for that time period the dream WAS having the home in suburbia and the family where Dad takes the train to work every day and Mom minds the house and the children. It takes the common cliche that "it was a simpler time" and turns it on its ear! In that respect, it also reminded me of another movie which was Todd Haynes' "Far From Heaven". The central question in "Revolutionary Road" is this: what do we do with our dreams as we get older and life doesn't turn out like we'd expected? Is it possible to be happy and fulfilled on a different path entirely? And should we just EXPECT that the loss of certain dreams and goals is the inevitability of life? It was definitely one of those movies that I would have written a paper on were I still in college (ha). I recommend it just for the fact that it will certainly cause you to think and pose questions to yourself and, while those aren't always the most fun movies to watch, they can be the most effecting. I think that nearly everyone, if they're willing to admit to it, can see a bit of themselves in both Frank AND April. While there were aspects of April's character that I couldn't identify with, there were also a great many that I could...and I could say the same of Frank (Decaprio) as well. Being 7 months pregnant and just overjoyed about the arrival of my daughter, I couldn't relate to her feeling of being trapped by her children but I imagine there are certainly many women out there in different circumstances who can. I found that, as the movie progressed, I identified more with Frank who had dreams and goals of his own but found himself growing content in his life, even though it was not what he'd envisioned for himself as a young man. That was another major point in the movie...are there those who can adapt and those who can't and which is nobler? Are you true to yourself at any cost or will you sacrifice pieces of what you perceive as yourself for the love and benefit of others? You could even go deeper and ask, what particularly does identity mean? What defines us as individuals? Are we the sum total of our accomplishments or is there more to it and which side is more important? So, I fully expect this one to at least be in the running for Best Picture, if not actually nab the award (though secretly, I'm pulling for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"). It's certainly worth a watch

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