This film received numerous accolades when it was out in 2008, but after watching it, I am just as ambivalent as half of the camp who didn’t like it when it was out. Maybe that I am shallow, or maybe that I am not artsy enough, just that I never like opera sung in English, I never like high art films played in English either. I am subjective, and so is this film! It’s a subjective interpretation of how one artsy person sees his life. (Roger Ebert claimed this is one of the greatest movies of all time. Okay, I trust him.)
Great actors in this film: Emily Watson, Michelle Williams, … I read the reason was that they are in the profession of acting out lives of others, hence they get IT and want to be part of this oeuvre. The premise of this film is about a theatre director, Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman),whose life is slipping away, and he is getting anxious and a bit paranoid about his successes and failures, while distancing from his wife day-by-day, until one day, the wife (Catherine Keener) leaves him with daughter Olive and becomes a famous painter in Berlin. They did try therapy to salvage whatever there is. During his separation, he marries his young stage actress Claire Keen (Michelle Williams) and has an on-going affair with Hazel (Samantha Morton). So for 124 mins , I look at Caden’s morbid life.
Perhaps, this is the problem for me, there is no colour to equalize such a heavy subject of life and death, even the remotely colourful displays of women’s portraits must be seen through magnifying spectacles. Mind you they are all naked women. Okay, I guess I should rephrase that the film is about life, women(naked), and death!
Nonetheless, the scene where his ex-wife, Adele, is dying or perhaps is his daughter (flowers-girl) is quite amusing (the dialogue is funny-sad) with the translation machine from German to English and vice versa.
Anyway, the back of this DVD has raving reviews, and that’s why I picked it. Seriously, I would go for an existentialist life lesson/Jungian interpretation either with Woody Allen‘s Midnight in Paris (2011) or a much funnier I Heart Huckabees (2004).