Monday, October 8, 2018

1058. Le gamin au velo

Le gamin au velo
The Kid with a Bike
Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne

I feared watching this film, mostly because its title conjured horrible memories of Bicycle Thieves that I long ago buried. Sure enough, this movie is just as sickeningly sentimental, but at least Bicycle Thieves had an adult actor who was up to bearing the brunt of the performance. All we got was Cyril.

Cyril's father has abandoned him, leaving him to live in children's care homes. He becomes obsessed with the idea of finding his father. During one of his father-seeking-related temper tantrums, he meets a nice woman who agrees to take him in on the weekends. He starts to fall in with a bad crowd (you can tell one of them is really bad because of his haircut).

To begin, Cyril is a pretty huge brat. Perhaps understandably so, but knowing why he is so obnoxious doesn't make him any easier to endure. I also found it a completely predictable story, with a rather vapid moral. Not to show off my superior intellect, but I even was able to divine the last shot of the movie just from the title. Please hold your applause until the end of this post.

In summary, a yawn. War Horse with a smaller budget. Skip.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

The directors said this was their attempt at a fairy tale. Try, try again.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

1057. Lady Bird

Lady Bird
Directed by Greta Gerwig

There is an extreme shortage of coming of age stories about women. I think the implication that in order for one to transform from a boy to a man, one needs to perform some seminal act of bravery or have some profound revelation. In order for a girl to become a woman, she needs a prom date and a boyfriend to be mean to her. Anyway, I think this film seeks to rectify the lack of representation, but takes some noticeable missteps along the way.

Lady Bird is a senior at a Catholic high school in Sacramento. She hopes to attend college on the East Coast, but until then must contend with her world-weary mother. She joins the theater program with her best friend Julie and soon develops feelings for one of her costars. Basically, she is only slightly less angsty than Holden Caulfield.

I enjoyed this movie, though I can't honestly say that I found it relatable, probably due to the fact that I did not look like Saoirse Ronan in high school.  Ronan was definitely the best part of this film; she managed to stay likable in a deeply flawed way. I wish the director would have sidestepped some notable cliches, but I still enjoyed the rhythm of this movie. I would still say Boyhood is the superior film, but this definitely beats Moonlight.

I'm trying to think of other coming of age films about women and I'm only coming up Gigi and Clueless. Please tell me I am suffering from severe memory loss.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Gerwig's debut as a solo director.

The title character's name refers to the nursery rhyme, "ladybird, ladybird, fly away home, your house is on fire and your children all gone." Why are nursery rhymes so fucking creepy?