For me, February is Oscar movies month. I try and see each of the films before the big event – and in the middle of Awards season – to make my own mind up and about what is truly brilliant and what has been swept up in a tsunami of publicity.
So far so fabulous. The first off the starting block was La-La-Land which does makes you cringe in the first 10 minutes as you get used to mad bursts of song and dance we’re just not used to now. Our parents are far more in tune with that bygone era of incredible musicals – An American in Paris, Singing in the Rain, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story. I used to love watching them with my dad when I was little. This soundtrack isn’t legendary – I can barely remember a single song. The story is simple – but it has a surprising twist. The cast superb. Emma Stone will win that Oscar. And deservedly so.
Next up Jackie which I saw last night – it has such a macabre soundtrack and is a quiet, crazy, brilliant snapshot of a moment in time in the few days following the assasination of JFK. I wasn’t even born but his figure looms large on the cultural, as well as political, landscape. And, as a highly politically charged moment right now is an opportune time to release it. Natalie Portman is at turns fragile, controlling, manipulative, out of control, on the edge of madness and full of rage. She’s terrifying. She’s brilliant.
In between these two films I have seen Moonlight, Fences and Manchester By the Sea. They all have tragedy and intimacy in common. They are all meaningful, personal stories with big messages of love, acceptance and understanding. By far the most moving for me was Manchester By the Sea because it doesn’t have tie-it-up ending for one and Casey Affleck is superb as the loser with a terribly devastating past. He’s matched in talent with a towering performance by Michelle Williams – who isn’t in the film for long – but I couldn’t stifle my sobs. “You can’t just die” she beseaches him – then watch his face fold. It’s a moment that hasn’t left me which I think is a mark of a movie’s greatness.
Just as well it’s still cold, snuggle-up-at-home weather else I would never get anything else done! Now excuse me while I pop out to see Loving.
Love Jane x