October was a month of exams and burying myself in schoolwork. However, oftentimes one can get bored of studying all day long, and will need refreshing their brains with something entertaining. My way of entertainment: movies! In the past few weeks I have watched several interesting movies that you might probably have heard of. Some are hits, some are misses.
The Circle (2017), dir. James Ponsoldt.
Based on the internationally-acclaimed novel by the same title, The Circle tells about a young woman who just got hired on a new job in a large and powerful Internet company, and from then the movie enters a rollercoaster of themes such as privacy, the rise of the Internet generation, and how it can affect you and the entire society. Absolutely great premise!
I had high hopes for this movie. Having not really liking the novel by Dave Eggers after reading the first chapter and not finishing it, when I saw the trailer and found out the big names playing for the movie I was intrigued. I thought, this could be the next, modern, 1984. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. It was a definitely well made and well directed movie, with great cinematography, but there was something off about the whole plot, and about the execution itself (including the dialogues and maybe the acting). It was a shame, but after finishing the movie what I thought of was just “meh”, that the movie didn’t really evoke any emotions from me, in addition that the ending of the movie wasn’t very exciting. In the end I understand why this movie got so many bad reviews and why not many people talked about it much.
Everything, Everything (2017), dir. Stella Meghie.
Another movie based on a famous novel I haven’t read, Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was an extremely hyped up young adult novel that everyone talked about when it came out. I didn’t get the urge to read yet another lovey-dovey young adult novel about a girl growing up, but I didn’t mind spending two hours on the movie adaptation. The story is about a young teenager who is not allowed to leave her highly secure and disinfected house because of a deadly illness related to her immune system. Until… she meets a boy.
It turned out to be as cheesy as it sounds. I am not a huge fan of romance and instant love at first sight stories, so this movie was quite a miss for me. The movie was definitely pretty to look at – the actors were very pretty with pretty clothes, and I love the color palette the director uses to make the atmosphere on a scene feel more different. However, the story itself was horrible, not only in the romance aspect but also the fact that this story was very problematic regarding the unrealistic portrayal of a disabled teen and even showing cases of ableism. I will not talk a lot about it in this post because I do not want to ramble too long or spoil other people, but if you want to know why I didn’t like it, read this review of the book.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017), dir. Taika Waititi.
Years ago, I adored the Thor movies. I loved the first and second movies, not just because it has Tom Hiddleston in it, but because the story was unique and exciting, and of course the characters were very well written, as are all the Marvel movies. I loved Natalie Portman in them as well. In this third movie, Thor faces the strongest enemy he has ever known: his own sister. It is what you would expect from a superhero movie: cool special effects, weird characters and weird settings, action scenes everywhere, a little bit of bromance sprinkled around, some character development for the characters we already know and love, reusing tropes of father figures, brother-sister spites, revenge, conquering the world, etc, and lots of silly humorous jokes all along the movie.
For me, it’s a fun and exciting movie, just like any other Marvel movies. But honestly, it didn’t really bring anything new. Added to the fact that Natalie Portman isn’t in the picture anymore and how the setting is mostly in space and not focusing much on Earth, and also how the vibe of the movie is entirely different than the previous Thor movies, how it’s very humorous and silly, I felt like I needed something more serious and out of the box, and this movie didn’t give me that. Nonetheless, it was a fun movie experience.
My Cousin Rachel (2017), dir. Roger Michell.
More gorgeous actors, yay! My Cousin Rachel is not a blockbuster movie by any means, but it was mentioned quite often around the bookish community because this was also a book to movie adaptation, this time from a classical novel by Daphne Du Maurier, which I also haven’t read. However I’ve heard many good things about the book and the movie, and I was excited because, let’s face it, I can watch Sam Claflin with that hair and those clothes for hours. Set decades ago in England, it is about the main character who is the heir to his estate, and receives a mysterious letter from his dead brother who married a woman in another country that causes him to think that this woman he married actually killed him. The story is slow and atmospheric, with a focus on the characters and the mysteries surrounding the person.
I finally realize, after watching movies like Jane Eyre and this one, that I love these Gothic, dark, atmospheric movies more than your regular rom-com. Although it does contain some romance, it is so much more than that. It gives you a great view of the setting of the English hills, it shows the lifestyle of the people in that time living in the countryside, it also showcases feminism through a strong, interesting, and flawed female character, Rachel. In addition to the excellent acting, wonderful dialogues and gorgeous music that really brings you in, I adored this movie and can’t wait to watch movies similar to this one.
Loving Vincent (2017), dir. Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
After visiting the Loving Vincent exhibition in the NoordBrabant Museum in Den Bosch several weeks ago, me and my friends finally managed to get the tickets for the actual movie! The first movie completely made out of paintings, this is a story set after Vincent Van Gogh‘s death and tells the journey of a young man who is trying to figure out Vincent’s death, while also uncovering his life.
Loving Vincent was different, if not more than I expected. It completely felt like an entire movie for me. The story itself is interesting because these people could’ve just told an entire biography of Van Gogh – instead they took it from a different perspective, a man who barely knew Vincent, and set it with the absence of Vincent himself, giving him and entire persona of mystery, just like Vincent in real life. The dialogues and storyline was interesting and keeps you guessing, and then you add with the whole effect you get from the fact that this movie is actually hundreds and hundreds of paintings, you get something so unique and never-before-seen. I felt so thankful that I could see this movie in the big screens. I loved every second of it.