Posts Tagged ‘carey mulligan’

Cassandra (Carey Mulligan) had a promising career as a medical student, until she drops out of medical school after something traumatic happened to her best friend Nina. Now, Cassie spends her days working at a coffee shop with her friend Gail (Laverne Cox) and her nights going on strange dates with even stranger men. It is at the coffee shop where Cassie meets Ryan. (Bo Burnham) Ryan used to go to medical school with Cassie and had a crush on her. They date, but their relationship gets off to a rocky start because Cassie is keeping secrets from Ryan about her nighttime activities.

Through Ryan, Cassandra befriends Madison, (Allison Brie) who went to medical school with both Cassandra and Nina, but she doesn’t remember what happened to Nina. But after Madison finds herself on a compromised position, she remembers some very important information about what happened to Nina, and passes it on to Cassie. What does Cassie do with the information. Do Ryan and Cassandra smooth out the bumps in their relationship?

This is a weird movie. It is undoubtedly a vigilante movie, but it tries to be a strange mashup between revenge porn and a romantic comedy. Imagine a movie that mixes Death Wish, Say Anything, and Misery. As strange as that combination sounds, this movie is oddly dependent on the romantic relationship between Cassie and Ryan. The relationship with Ryan and the romantic tone serve at least three purposes, it serves to normalize the Cassandra character, instead of making her the obsessive, compulsive loner she appears to be, second it gives Cassandra a way to get in touch with old acquaintances in medical school, and third, it lends credence to the movie’s predisposed views about men. But the viewer gets whiplash from the tonal shifts in this film. There is a twist, and it almost saves the film from being another predictable vigilante film, but not quite.

The acting is adequate. Carey Mulligan is nominated for an Oscar, she’s asked to play two roles here, a world-weary woman who has seen the worst of what men have to offer, and a woman waking up to the possibility that she might be in love. It’s a tall order playing two distinct roles in one character, and she pulls off the world-weary woman very well, but doesn’t really pull off the woman falling in love too well. Her American accent is quite heavy, and slips a few times. Bo Burnham is quite convincing as the pediatric surgeon and possible love interest for Mulligan’s character. Laverne Cox, most known for her role in Orange Is The New Black is mostly used as comedy relief and is absent from most of the serious potions of the film.

The director, Emerald Farrell, is also an actress, is also nominated for an Oscar, she shouldn’t win. The pacing is uneven, sometimes recalling a horror movie, sometimes sluggish and slow. She doesn’t control the narrative either, which is all over the map. The set piece, or climactic scene is much too reminiscent of the film Misery, and even though she pulls off quite an imaginative plot twist, it’s not enough to save the movie from its multiple personalities. Regina King should have been nominated for best director and was not.

Promising Young Woman: Carrie’s Mulligan Stew performance doesn’t work for this viewer.

suffragette

Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) is a laundry worker in England in the early 1900’s.  She is not a suffragette, but is attracted to the movement by a co-worker named Violet Miller. (Anne Marie Duff) Violet introduces Maud to Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter) a pharmacist, who’s not averse to using violence.  Violet, Edith, and others take Maud to see Emmaline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep) one of the pioneers of the suffragette movement in England.  As she gets enmeshed deeper and deeper in the movement, the movement becomes more and more violent, and Maud gets repeatedly jailed, beaten, intimidated, loses her son and her job.  The police are surveilling the women the whole time, and police inspector Arthur Steed (Brandon Gleeson) is trying to get an informant inside the women’s movement.  Steed offers Maud a deal, give him information on the leaders of the suffragette movement, and he will drop all charges against her. Does he take the deal?

Suffragette is a great idea for a movie, the early women’s movement is an interesting subject for a movie, unfortunately, the story is so redundant, and blandly written, that it does a disservice to the suffragette movement.  Jailed, beaten, released, over and over again, and then it takes its focus off the main character.  The ending is more of a relief than a climax, and it doesn’t really give the viewer a satisfactory conclusion.

The meandering screenplay undermines a great performance by Carey Mulligan, she pours her whole being into this performance, she looks physically and emotionally drained by the time the film is over. She inhabits the character of Maud, and she has nothing to show for it, because the screenplay is sleep -inducing.   Meryl Streep has one speech in the entire movie, and that’s it, so if a viewer is tuning in to see a great Meryl Streep performance, that viewer will be disappointed.  It is a short Meryl Steep performance that is all.  Helena Bonham Carter gives an excellent performance as a violent activist for the feminist cause, but it’s wasted by a drab screenplay.

The direction is also inconstant, there are visually stunning shots of the British architecture, but the shots have this gray, dank, backdrop to all of them and that sets a very depressing mood.  The protests and the beatings are shot with hand-held cameras, which is an overused technique by now, and starts to grate on the viewer after a while.  The pacing is leaden, and not even  great performances from Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter tell me anything about this director, because they are both great actors.

Suffragette Insufferable.

 

far from the maddening crowd

Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is a strong willed, independent, single woman who meets a shepherd named Gabriel Oak (Mathias Shoenaerts) one day while riding.  Almost immediately, Gabriel proposes marriage to Bathsheba, and she rejects him.  Bathsheba then inherits a sizable estate from her uncle, and Gabriel, without knowing it, rescues Bathsheba’s estate from a fire. She asks him to stay on and tend the sheep on her estate.  Bathsheba meets a wealthy older man named William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) while trying to sell the grain from her farm.  William turns out to be Bathsheba’s neighbor, and he is just as smitten as Gabriel is with Bathsheba, and he asks her to marry him as well.  Bathsheba initially rejects his proposal, but later tells him that she will consider it.  While walking home from William’s estate, Bathsheba finds a third man wandering on her property. This man is a handsome young soldier named Francis Troy, (Tom Sturridge) who is also taken with Bathsheba.  Who does Bathsheba choose as her husband?

This story reminds me very much of Jane Eyre, roughly written at about the same time period, about strong-willed women who aren’t afraid to stand up to powerful men.  Bronte’s Jane seems to be written from a woman’s perspective of what a strong female character should be, whereas Thomas Hardy writes as a male trying to think from a woman’s perspective.  I prefer Bronte’s Jane to Hardy’s Bathsheba, presuming the film version is even somewhat loyal to Hardy’s book. I have not read Hardy’s book, but the movie has made me curious to see what the book is like. The ending of the movie doesn’t really fit the tone of the rest of the film, and so I didn’t care for the ending.

The acting is very good.  Cary Mulligan does a great job as a woman trying to compete in what was then a man’s world, and maintain her farm.  Her character was somewhat constrained by Hardy’s 19th century writing style, and I assume the screenwriters wishes to stay faithful to the book. I’ve seen Mulligan in a lot of films,  Drive, An education, The Great Gatsby, and this performance is just as good as her other performances.  Michael Sheen does his usual steady job, as a wealthy older suitor, and Matthias Shoenaerts does a great job as Bathsheba’s stalwart shepherd. Tom Sturrige is also very good as a jilted soldier.

The cinematography is superb, there are big sweeping shots of the English countryside.  The pacing is also pretty good and the director also gets good performances from the four lead actors. I have not heard of this director, but he held my interest with a period piece, and that is saying something.

Far From The Maddening Crowd:  Cary carries this movie.

Inside Llewyn Davis

Llewyn Davis, (Oscar Issac) a struggling folk singer, travels from New York to Chicago in the 1960’s to try to establish a solo singing career, amid many obstacles.

This is a very complex movie.  It is a funny movie, at first I thought it was a straight out comedy, but then it tackles serious issues, love, but not in the way a typical movie deals with it, loss in a more traditional sense and even symbolism.  I was actually ruminating on the symbolism of a cat.  This movie handles comedy and drama so adeptly, that it feels like real life.  Life is sometimes funny, sometimes tragic and this movie echoes both extremes really well.  The scenes are punctuated by hauntingly beautiful music, that adds to the overall mood of the film.  The ending is appropriate to the overall film, and that’s all that needs to be said.  I did not go into detail on the plot, because any details would ruin your enjoyment of the film.

The acting is superb.  The cast is led by Oscar Isaac, who plays the darkly comic, sometimes morose Llewyn Davis with an innate sense of self.  He knows this character inside and out.  Carey Mulligan is also outstanding as the vituperative, venomous Jean, although her American accent slips every once in a while.   Mulligan also has a great singing voice, as does Isaac.  Justin Timberlake has a terrific singing voice, but he’s still a wooden actor, and yet he gets these plum roles, inexplicable.

The Coen Brothers are especially visual in this film, underscoring the claustrophobic feeling of living in New York City, filming down stairways, and between narrow hallways. The pacing is perfect, and the music is interspersed beautifully within the film.  The brothers get beautiful, heart wrenching performances from a largely unknown cast.  It reminded me somewhat of another Coen brothers film, O Brother Where Art Thou, with its comedic touches and music, but  Inside LLewyn Davis is a much darker film.

This is a must-see.

Inside LLewyn Davis:  Skip to my Llew!