Monday, November 29, 2010

Grey Gardens (2009)

Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore in a scene from the film

Having seen the documentary Grey Gardens (1975), I became interested in this made for television movie about the lives of big and little Edie Beale. Don't be put off by the fact that it was 'made for television,' this was clearly a mistake when you view the film.

Grey Gardens tells the story of this mother and daughter that the documentary only gave us hints of. With scenes remaking moments from the documentary and also scenes that take us into the background of these unusual women, we get more of an insight into the unusual lives of the two Edie's.

The acting and settings in this film are quite extraordinary. I am such a fan of Drew Barrymore, whether she is in a rom-com like Never Been Kissed or playing a teacher in the trippy film Donnie Darko, she never disappoints me. I absolutely adored her in this film, she captures little Edie's character exquisitely! Same of course goes for Jessica Lange as big Edie; a phenomenal performance. You could honestly watch the documentary and film back and forth and not spot a difference. This is also of course evident in the settings, where you can tell fine detail has gone into making it look just the original (referring to the house and costumes).

I guess I am a biased viewer as I am a bit of a fan of the documentary, so really appreciated what this film was about. But, I think if you are not aware of the story of the Beales, this film will not confuse you, it is ideal for either viewer. I may come off like I Loved this film, but it didn't 'blow my mind,' I just really enjoyed getting a new insight into the famous mother and daughter pair.

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, November 1, 2010

Let The Right One In

Kåre Hedebrant in a scene from the film

Having known about this film for quite some time now, I became more interested in it again when Matt Reeves remake of the Swedish film, Let Me In, was released. Rather than going and seeing the remake at the cinema, (which has actually received rave reviews) I decided to see the original first.

Let The Right One In tells the story of bullied 12-year-old Oskar. When Eli, a vampire, moves in next door, he befriends the pale young girl and romance begins to blossom. What I loved about this vampire tale was that it wasn't a horror, it wasn't a sappy romance like the one in Twilight and there wasn't an annoying vampire gang of friends. It was a love story between two children that had its complications because one of them needs blood to live.

The setting of the film takes place in a small poor town somewhere in Sweden surrounded in snow. The way each scene is shot it makes everything about this poor town seem somewhat beautiful. Like the picture above, Oskar is in his tiny bedroom doing morse code to Eli who is in the room next door. The wallpaper on his wall adds to the beauty of this scene but it's also an intimate moment between two people. Ahh I'm just crapping on, but I felt like this film was shot so beautifully that it was just mesmerizing. The story isn't solely told through dialogue, there are a lot of quiet moments where you just enjoy the scenery.

I'm not a big fan of the vampire genre that is taking over our screens lately, but this film was a breath of fresh air. Also since seeing this and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I'm determined to watch more Swedish films. Judging by my other reviews I have tended to only watch foreign films that are French (I am a big fan of French cinema) but I think I'll venture out a bit now.

Rating: 4.5/5