One thing all three of these movies have in common is the period. They tell different stories from the mid 1800s.
I, with lots of Brits, really like Queen Victoria. I think she was a very interesting woman who also happened to be a great queen. She changed and improved so many things that I like learning more about her. But, I had never heard about Mrs. Brown. This movie is about the encompassing grief Queen Victoria suffered after the death of her beloved Albert. It starts when the Queen has already been in mourning for 3 years. Can you imagine? Full mourning for 3 years. And that means that everyone around her has to be in mourning too. Desperate to return to normal the staff recruit a freethinking Scot, Mr Brown, as her head horseman in hopes that she will “get out of the house” so to speak. The two develop an unlikely relationship that last for years, the nature of which is so unusual that the country starts calling Queen Victoria, Mrs. Brown. The movie does have Dame Judi Dench so that is a plus. I liked the basis of the plot but didn’t think it was necessarily a great movie. I guess there was nothing wrong with it but nothing that memorable either. So…maybe read some history about Queen Victoria and skip this movie.
You know how I was complaining last week about how awful 21 Grams was and how disappointed I was because it had all this Oscar clout? I must admit that it soured my excitement for other Oscar nominated, recognizable, high profile movies on Netflix. Fortunately, 21 Grams didn’t win my disappointment battle, because the Piano lived up to everything you would hope from this kind of movie. Holly Hunter was amazing
as a mute woman who is sent off to New Zealand with her daughterin an arranged marriage to a wealthy land owner. Her passion in life is the piano that she has shipped all the way to her new home. It is a part of her, like the missing part of her. I was kinda nervous because Holly Hunter has such a distinctive voice that it immediately characterizes her. But since she doesn’t speak in this movie she uses every other nuance to communicate. I genuinely believed that she was this desperate woman. She deserved her Oscar for best actress! The story was so developed and the characters were so rich that I almost wondered if this was someone’s real story. The screenwriter Jane Campion deserved her Oscar too. I have thought about this movie many times since I have watched it. It really left a lasting impression on me. That feeling, that expression, that passion, of being whole and how her piano makes her whole until she finds something else to complete her. Be warned, you do see Harvey Keitel’s wiener in this movie, but it is rather obvious when it is coming so, if you don’t want to see a naked old man you can look away. Having just watched Harvey in Reservoir Dogs and Mean Streets I thought it might be hard not to see him as a hardened gangster but he proved me wrong. This movie leaves a lasting impression on you.
Creation is one of those movies where they try to bring all the ingredients for an Oscar movie together and then no one sees it. This movie about the story behind Darwin developing his theories and utlimately writing the Origins of Species, tries to create the whole picture of Darwin. It delves into his family life, his personal struggles, his sacrafices to create his life work. It has all the ingredients and yet I’m not positive about why this movie doesn’t work on a higher level. I like Paul Bettany (although I always kinda see him as the ghost from a Beautiful Mind, anyone else have that problem?) and Jennifer Connolly. They were fine and believable as a couple, maybe because they are a real life couple. I can see what the filmmakers were trying to do. I did find Darwin’s struggle between his theory and his own salvation interesting. In those days it was such a huge part of life to be a good Christian. It was a questions of what, and who he was sacrificing to move forward with his theory and what a serious toll that would take. This movie definitely had it’s strengths and potenial. I’m just not sure what part of the formula they forgot to really make it a great movie. Or maybe it’s the fact that they tried to follow a formula at all.
In the Showdown the Piano wins