Review Date: October 22, 2003
Director: Jane Campion
Writer: Jane Campion, Susanna Moore
Producers: Laurie Parker, Nicole Kidman
Meg Ryan as Frannie
Mark Ruffalo as Malloy
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Pauline
Last, but definitely not least, I actually "got" something more out of this film than its seemingly circular showcasing of dysfunctional people in dead-end situations. What I got was what most of us go through in the beginning stages of any relationship and that's the issue of trust. Can you ever really trust someone that you care about once they've given you reason not to? Is it easier for you to forgive and get along with acquaintances and people that you don't really care about, because you don't have much invested in them in the first place? Does one's vulnerability prevent one from seeing the most obvious thing that everyone else in the world sees right in front of them? Alright, so I'm sounding about as pretentious as Maya Angelou here, but the point is: I connected to this movie's metaphors and even though some of it was a little too "out there" (the poetry stuff), I nonetheless appreciated the film's ballsy attempt at slabbing some weight behind its otherwise, clichéd murder mystery vibe. Having said that, most people will surely not leave this film talking about how vulnerable the character was or how love is difficult and trust must be earned, etc and so forth, but rather, 1) the film's style, which admittedly, also turned me a little off at times, with the camera wandering around like nobody's business and constant blurriness and 2) the film's sexual content, which despite all of the "talk" beforehand, is definitely more pronounced than in your everyday dramas (we even get see Ruffalo willie), but nothing compared to the hype that I'd heard.
I say that because the sex in the film isn't really "sexy" as much as it's "about something". When a woman masturbates here, she isn't doing it for "fun"...she's doing it to escape the pain. Ironically, I "escape" my pain about 6-8 times every day. In the end, I can guarantee you that this is not the kind of movie that's going to make anyone any money anytime soon. It moves slowly, it's got a unique style, features characters that are grim and frumpy in an environment that is frumpy and grim and doesn't necessarily "play fair" when it comes to its lead murder mystery, but I dug it nonetheless. I got into its characters, I traveled beneath the surface, I enjoyed its sex scenes and use of ambient sounds/silence to create moments, loved its stylish touches (the B&W flashbacks, its use of music, etc...) and appreciated all of the acting performances, especially Meg Ryan who really (I can't believe I'm actually gonna say this but...) "bares it all" here. Sorry. Seriously though, she delivers in spades. Good for you, girlfriend...don't let Kidman take all the good roles. As for Ruffalo...call me, dude...let's grab a few beers.