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Movies that I have analyzed and explained

Blade Runner 2049 Review (2017) | Denis Villeneuve Pays a Fitting Homage

Blade Runner 2049 is a powerful tribute, a fitting sequel to the 1982 blockbuster Blade Runner. The stakes were already high when there were talks of a sequel to a masterpiece, but when Denis Villeneuve‘s name was tacked to the project the world resounded with a sigh of relief. The good news is that he delivers. What a rad stunner!

To witness an eye-boggling dystopian world which has clearly uplifted Ridley Scott‘s version with everything technology could afford is beyond compare. Visuals are literally and figuratively out of the world as Denis uses his fastidious eye to aggrandize every frame.

The movie is paced really slow like a good and genuine thriller, a fact some might not have liked. I swear I heard a lot of people snoring in the theatres which makes me think, maybe the movie could have been edited or paced up a little bit. On a personal level, I think I liked its gait. The way it moves, letting us get in sync with its story, helping us chug wheels of imagination alongside the protagonist are some of the good virtues make it delectable.

Direction of Blade Runner 2049

Denis Villeneuve’s a true magician. The way he weaves his frames is a lesson for budding directors. Creating scenes that are inimitable from angles that aggrandize a situation. Everything is so tasteful that you realize that his frames are quite simple to helm which many fail terribly at. His brain’s simply peerless. There’s so much beauty lurking there; it’s an honour living in his era.

K played by Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a product of his brain that goes through his gorgeous filters. There’s an arresting aura about all of the characters chosen to star in the flick, and Denis plays with them like a pro he is.

Prolonged shots of the protagonist hovering over the dystopian world, an action sequence played out by silhouettes, or resurrecting the same old hide and seek tension that we had seen in the prequel, using a distorted fragmented piece of music to play in the backdrop or a shot showing a cold-blooded murder by placing the camera outside a window pane for effect are some of the shots that fill you with awe.

The music he chooses to blare is simply powerful. It becomes deafening at times, however never fails to complement his imposing frames. In a way talking about the impending impact just like he used it gorgeously in Arrival.

Writing and Orgasmic Visuals

Hampton Fancher (the guy who wrote the first one) and Michael Green do a fabulous job of creating a winning story. Keeping the memorable character of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) as the nub of the story, they weave a tale that’s unlike others we have seen. With a revelation that will blow your mind away, not once but twice, the movie persuasively and successfully houses a seriously good thriller in its womb.

Pain reminds you the joy you felt was real.

The screenplay takes you back in time with Fancher bringing most of his lost mojo back on paper. The wisdom that escapes Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) trickles down like honey, and you realize, the guy makes so much sense.

All the courage in the world cannot alter fact.

The Visuals team do a fabulous job of creating something really unworldly. With countless prepossessing panoramic shots to bedazzle us, the movie literally picks us up and puts us in a dystopian future. Deserted lands look unlike anything we have seen so far.

The Theme and Plot of Blade Runner 2049 Movie

The theme of the movie is centered around these very lines spoken by Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright):

The world is built in a wall that separates kind. Tell either side there’s no wall, you have bought a war or a slaughter.

Can a replicant become pregnant? If so there would be no demarking lines to separate humans from replicants. When K (Ryan Gosling) bumps into a case like that he is asked to keep something so colossal under wraps, and to take care of it before it goes out in the open.

The case ends up unwinding into something we don’t expect, and it is a convoluted tale that keeps getting better with every reveal.

Ryan Gosling as K (Spoilers)

The story is run from K’s perspective. Ryan Gosling, who by the way is a “tin job” blade runner, is a guy who accidentally comes across a secret that gnaws at his soul. It is hidden deep down his memory lane.

I have memories, but I can’t tell if they’re real.

He gets on top of the case, the good Nexus-9 officer he is, and visits Wallace Corp. to identify the DNA he had discovered to be that of Rachael. Yes, the replicant from the first part. She was the girl pregnant with the child of Rick Deckard.

Who keeps a dead tree?

You can order Blade Runner 2049 from here:

The Memory Maker

While trying to solve the puzzle of his life, the memory K keeps on witnessing is that of a child trying to hide a sculpted horse in a warehouse as bullies beat him up for the toy. The horse has the same date he saw on Rachael’s grave.

Tagging it as his own memory, and to reconfirm the fact K how much of it is real, K decides to visit a memory maker named Dr. Ana Stelline.

Dr. Ana Stelline Memory Creator in Blade Runner 2049

Ana is the best in the memory business who makes really convincing memories. From her he gathers that the memory he had been witnessing is none other than his own.

Someone lived this, yeah. It happened.

With that, he identifies the child that he was looking for to be none other than him. Whilst it’s a disclosure that feels like something you see coming, it gets answered soon with a final revelation that’s even bigger than the one you were being smug about.

Rick Deckard

With Blade Runner 2049 hitting the theatres, it was crystal clear upfront that Rick was the hero we all wished to see resurrected. Though not the protagonist of this story, the movie manages to preserve the integrity of the cherishable protagonist from the prequel. Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard. And it does so really smartly something that doesn’t involve killing his character, unlike what we had to see in Star Wars Force Awakens.

Dick and K fighting in Blade Runner 2049

The force is strong in him as we see him throw the first punch followed by a couple others eyeing K as a threat. Despite the weird dissecting noise there, the scene amplifies automatically owing to the naturalistic vibes that it tags along.

K establishes Rick as his father, as Rick tells him that he had to leave the child for his own good.

Sometimes to love someone, you got to be a stranger.

He was hanging around when a replicant sent by Wallace named as Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) rams in unannounced taking away Rick with him and leaving  K kaput.

You really are the best angel. Aren’t you, Luv?

The Replicant Freedom Movement

When K wakes up Freysa (Hiam Abbass), the leader of the Replicant Freedom Movement asks K to kill Deckard so as to stop Wallace from knowing their whereabouts and saving Deckard’s “daughter”. Mind = Blown!

It’s a huge revelation for K who had been considering himself to be Deckard’s child all this time. But he figures out that it was Selline who was, in fact, Deckard and Rachael’s child that it was her memories that were implanted in him. Ana Selline was really good at her job and hence her memories in his head seemed very real to him.

Dying for the right cause. It’s the most human thing we can do.

With hopes to save Rick from the hands of Wallace who had plans to extract information so that he could progress with his colonization plans, K intercepts his transfer to the off-world. He bumps into Luv again as a fight ensues. Finally, he manages to drown her saving Rick in the process. Staging him as dead, K goes on to do the right thing. He takes Rick Deckard to Stelline for a father-daughter reunion.

It’s very clever to keep yourself empty of information, and all it cost to you was everything.

We see K badly wounded, resting on the stairs slowly succumbing to a probable death. He is feeling the snowflakes on his hand wondering, how for a second he had thought he was real, and what joy it had brought him.

Joi – the Holographic AI

K is in love with his AI holographic girlfriend Joi (Ana De Armas) who is realistic enough to show him a good time. She’s a pleasant companion to have. The technology we see in the movie is simply alluring.

It goes on to capture a transition, an upgrade too, with Joi moving from being trapped in a single room to experiencing the very first thing she wishes to experience – rain. It is then followed by her second most desirable thing – K.

A child. Of woman born. Pushed into the world. Wanted. Loved.

Some of the scenes where we see her network being affected in a crash site with all the lags and glitches are just amazingly done.

Laced in one of the high points of the movie is Joi’s fate. We see her lights being shut down as K burns in disgruntled air helplessly. She had named him Joe when K was busy figuring out his true identity to be akin to humans.

All the best memories are hers.

At a later point, we see K coming to terms with what Joi was all about. At the end of the day, she was nothing but a Wallace advertised product made insanely real.

Blade Runner 2049 movie still of Joi and Joe

Her advertisement calls him Joe venting a series of thoughts inside K’s head. His trance shatters as he accepts her true love to be a sham, another lie Wallace had created to mess with his head.

Luv: I see you are one of our clients. I hope you are satisfied with our product.

K: It’s very….realistic.

Niander Wallace

We see Jared Leto in another convincing performance as Niander Wallace in Blade Runner 2049. The bloke’s blind as a bat but he could see everything using the technology that he has built for himself, and such genius he is.

Every leap of civilization was built on the back of a disposable workforce, but I can only make so many.

He poses as an immensely intellectual villain (I guess we are going to remember him for the rest of our lives). The way he talks and the way he presents the character is simply astounding.

I can see it. As clear as dreaming. He loves her.

There are many other amazing things about the movie as well. About AI we see something very similar to what we had seen in the outstanding 2013 drama Her. One of the most memorable bits in that area is the syncing bit. There’s an apparent lag that we see while AI syncs with human which is a scene that’s beautifully fabricated. It makes you marvel at technology.

Then there was that astonishing scene of the one that literally resurrects Rachael back from the dead. Such beautiful VFX!

Her eyes were green.

The Final Verdict

Blade Runner 2049 movie’s true thrill lies in its proper nerve-racking narration. Even though its pace might not be something today’s fast-moving world is up for, it is a fantastic gem that shouldn’t be missed for the world.

It is a movie that tells you what geniuses are made of. You realize that artistry lies in every aspect of cinema right from the visuals team to the direction, to the cinematography and the writing. It is a combined extraordinary effort of the whole team who make this movie a worthy hoot.

Check out the trailer of Blade Runner 2049 here:

Newton Movie Review (2017) | A Man Doing his Job the Right Way in India

What a beauty! Newton movie brings us up to speed with the cryptic reach of corruption in India. You thought you knew where subversion lies, wait till you watch this flick. It thrives in a place that is neglected. No one has a clue how elections get conducted in a populace that prefers hiding to coming out in the open in order to understand things. They are not to blame. It is the miscommunication, the misconduct, the neglect and the disregard that has left them where the primitives used to be.

It is all so shattering to watch that you can’t help but feel pity for your untended brothers and sisters, who never saw the light because they weren’t hit with it in the first place. They are cut off from the world, they are reeking of ignorance and content in their own land just because they don’t understand the ways of the world. There is no one to make them aware of the wonderful things that we are constantly brimming with. They are deprived of them, and the worst thing is that they don’t even know it.

The movie is directed by Amit Masurkar who marked his debut with Sulemani Keeda some three years ago. He has written the screenplay alongside Mayank Tewari for the flick just like he had back then. It’s a beautiful script about a guy Newton Kumar (Rajkummar Rao) trying to do his job the right way based on his education. Little does he know, nobody follows the things they are taught. It is about his struggle to do the things the right way, as he faces some of the country’s biggest enemies – lethargy, hacks, idiocy, and ignorance.

Rajkummar Rao as Newton Kumar

Newton garners some of the best theatre actors we have ever had the good hap of coming across. Sentinels of parallel cinema, people who are really serious about making films, giving their best in every frame. You put them together and you know you are going to get something really extraordinary.

Newton movie still of Rajkummar Rao

To begin with we have the insanely talented Rajkummar Rao playing the protagonist Newton Kumar with a flair that leaves you mesmerized. He wears the skin of an honest man who plays everything by the rules. Newton is the voice of the youth, the voice that speaks of derived wisdom. He has learned from the best – books written by the wise who have shown us a way that gets things done. He abides by a discipline that he has taught himself and has learned to live by it. Newton is a perfect paragon of what you might call as a student keen on applying his knowledge to a pragmatic field.

It is quite obvious during the conversation he has with a girl he is arranged to marry, how serious he is about the rules and regulations that define a person. Then there is that evident generation gap when his father shouts at him for being obstinate about his beliefs. Remember, you are going to get a lot of people in your life who will be uncomfortable with the new things you will learn, and your very idea of and for a society that is merely run by conventions. It is at that time you must not give in or you will end up becoming one of them.

Pankaj Tripathy as Aatma Singh

Then there is the extraordinary actor Pankaj Tripathy who plays Aatma Singh, a CRPF officer in charge at an unsafe Naxal prone area of Chattisgarh, India. The contrast he brings to the table is next to that of a villain in a movie. He is everything that is wrong with India today, and an exemplary procrastinator and sloth who will never move unless ordered.

Pankaj Tripathy as Aatma Singh in Newton moviePankaj plays a smartass who tries to bend the law to suit his needs, uses his power to show the meek who is the boss around. If you are an Indian, you have already come across such characters at one point in your life. With Pankaj doing us the honours of getting under the skin of one such man, it is hard to tell them apart. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Pankaj Tripathy’s acting prowess is hands down one of the best we have in the Indian Film Industry today.

Aatma’s negation and pessimism fail to break the spirits of Newton. We get countless ravishing conversations therefrom where the clash of opinions become the driving forces of the flick. They drive the movie forward until Aatma does something really despicable that gets a fitting rebound from Newton.

Other Brilliant Characters in Newton Movie

Sanjay Mishra, another great actor plays mentor to Newton. He is intrigued by this guy who asks the right questions irrespective of the slapstick and whacky replies he gets. Even though he makes fun of him, deep down he knows the system. How things work and have always been working in the country. However, it piques his interest too when he comes across Newton, a guy rock solid on his beliefs.

Then we have literally the paragon of persistence – Raghuvir Yadav who plays Loknath, the guy who adds a little bit of humour to the gravitas. The actor is one of the most underrated gems of the industry, whom people always fail to celebrate. His delivery is quite alluring.

Anjali Patil plays Malko a mistreated tribal girl who speaks the local dialect, making things less difficult for Newton. She reflects a ballsy girl who knows the place and the people. Her act’s equally brilliant too.

Anjali Patil newton movie

Important Messages (Spoilers)

Newton movie hides a thousand messages in its countless frames. Whilst it forces introspection on us, it does so without going preachy. It brings us up to speed with a situation that requires our immediate attention – voting in a technology deprived place.

The worst thing is the acceptance. When you are trying to change something and you come to believe it is the accepted way, and you accept it as is yourself, just so you don’t have to face all the inconvenience of a ground zero change, that’s the root cause of downfall. Aatma Singh is one such element. He fails to understand that change cannot be brought in if you yourself won’t allow the change to happen. To make things happen you have to get your hands dirty which is everything Newton aspires to do.

Aatma Singh is one such element. He fails to understand that change cannot be brought in if you yourself won’t allow the change to happen. To make things happen you have to get your hands dirty which is everything Newton aspires to do. Characters like Loknath and Malko know well the conventionally accepted way, and they are okay with things being wrong and unjust. It is killing to watch Newton the only person trying really hard to understand the ways this country is currently dealing with.

The Politics

How can one possibly vote for someone when they are looking at their faces for the first time? Newton movie is a slap to those politicians who never even visit the place they wish to obtain votes from. There is contempt in the hearts of all those people who have turned into Naxals and we see that via writings on the wall of a razed school. War is easy to learn. How do you make them understand that war isn’t the only solution? That the other solution requires them to vote, again something that they don’t comprehend.

Newton movie is a slap to those politicians who never even visit the place they wish to obtain votes from. There is contempt in the hearts of all those people who have turned into Naxals. We perceive that via writings on the wall of a razed school. War is easy to learn. How do you make them understand that war isn’t the only solution? That the other solution requires them to vote? Again something that they don’t comprehend.

All we can see a piece of neglected patch of land where the voting is supposed to happen. The problems Newton’s team faces in order to set up booth is beyond compare. Yet they somehow manage, all in a room without a door, with open see-through windows.

Then comes the wait. The punishing wait where the team sits doing nothing. Your mind begins to wonder why doesn’t anyone come? And if the conditions are really that bad owing to safety issues, will they ever show up in the entire movie?

Ill-Treatment

In a single display of power we see a bigger authority show up with a foreign reporter, who, by the way, has no clue as to what is going on just because we are good at painting pretty pictures to hide all the ugliness. We see all the clouds of lethargy parting then. However, to the poor innocent villagers who only understand the language of either peace or intimidation, CRPF soldiers roughhouse them, bully them to show up in order to put on a show. They are mistreated beyond limit. One of the instances clearly shows one of the old women being ordered to cook chicken to ease up their stay.

How much money will we get?

All the ill-treatment makes the villagers believe that there is something going on and the government (hitherto which they believe to be a scary thing) has commanded their presence. They might get paid too if they do something.

The Curse of Ignorance

The part in Newton movie where Newton realizes the ignorance of people, where they don’t understand what needs to be done in a voting booth simply shatters you. Amidst all the corruption stands an unheard voice trying to do the right thing, to make them understand why it is important to vote, and how it could help them to bring change in their place. While not even trying is a guy like Aatma Singh who coaxingly calls the voting machine a toy, and asks the villagers to press any button they like.

It is so heart-rending to watch when that insanity actually begins to happen. Ah! the ignorance, the sheer ignorance of the people, as they show their voting fingers not knowing whether they have voted, or what voting even means for that to matter. There is no way for a single man to educate them in a day, but Newton tries nevertheless in hopes to make them fathom what’s really happening.

It kind of reminds me how we used to be back in school. Not knowing the ‘why’ behind anything, not knowing why we studied what we studied, simply mugged things up only because it was asked. And that quotient’s still extant today in a lot of places. Ignorance is a curse. We need to educate people so they start asking the million dollar question – why.

The False Alarm

Just when you think the movie is focused on showing the plight of the ignorant alone, Newton movie proves us wrong as we actually hit some action in the backdrop. It is believed that an attack has happened and the team is instantly put on a rescue mission for extraction. But soon Newton figures out the real ugly truth behind the alarm. It was Aatma Singh who had asked his men to fire empty shots to curtail the waiting period so that he could force Newton’s team back home. Newton’s obstinacy bothered him, and the fact they would be forced to wait till evening for the voters seemed like a tiresome idea to him.

Rajkummar Rao as Newton in Newton movie

How do you reason with a man holding a gun? So, Newton does the unthinkable. He snatches the gun from one of the men and points it at the men in arms. To get a job done, he takes matters into his own hands.

The Last Scene of Newton Movie – Ending Explained

Ultimately he comes out a victor which is probably one of the most satisfying things to watch in the movie. It is shown subtly when we see Aatma Singh shopping with his family, as his wife suggests to remove a product from the shopping bag, implying that they are indeed going through a tough time. That Newton might have written a thorough report about the misconduct, and ill-treatment, and probably got him fired.

Eventually, we see Newton busy behind a desk as Malko pays him a visit. It is great to see that he hasn’t changed a bit. He casually shows her his punctuality certificate.

Clearly they think it’s a big deal when I show up at the office at 9 AM sharp.

It is a dig at all those Indian officials, nay, everything that’s Indian, who never show up anywhere on time. Being punctual is so much crucial and yet we take life for granted.

The curtain closes at an apt moment where we see Malko waiting for him to complete his work before leaving for coffee. We are left to wonder about a happy ending that might await him in moments to come.

The Final Verdict

Newton movie justifies its apt tagline that says “Seedha Aadmi Ulti Duniya” (Right Man Wrong World). It eats you from inside when you witness the plight of the villagers living in terrible conditions. The fact they are okay with it shatters you even more. They don’t even know how much we have progressed. How would they? They don’t even have a TV in their ramshackle houses for crying out loud!

Newton movie should not be missed for the world. It is packed in with powerful performances by some really good actors. It addresses numerous issues and tells us a little bit more about the country we live in. Newton movie squeezes out sympathy for a character that resonates with a lot of us. I think of a lot of you will like this flick for the powerful message it sends out loud.

Read my other movie reviews and analyses too.

Check out the trailer of Newton Movie:

It Movie Review (2017) | A Perfect Paragon of Dark Poetry | Full Analysis with Spoilers

If you think It Movie is limited to horror, you are dead wrong. In fact, to me, it even didn’t feel like one. So what is it that makes Stephen King‘s It one of a kind? The metaphor, yes! If you are watching the flick reading between its frames, you are definitely going to enjoy the flick more. I will acquaint you with how beautiful Stephen King’s fancy is by doing a proper analysis of the movie. Even though this years’ The Dark Tower failed to do him justice, It Movie succeeds in a lot of ways.

It Movie is really beautiful if you see what it wishes to show you, the allegory in it and how wonderfully it builds itself on children’s fear and fantasies. Andy Muschietti, who was also the director of Mama, understands what Stephen King had in mind when he put a fantastical clown to paper. His direction provides perspective to the concept of a monster that emanates from a whimsical head.

Without wasting any more time let’s skip to the plot; there’s so much to share.

Plot of It Movie Full Analysis (Spoilers)

The movie picks pace caving in on a tragedy in Derry, a fictitious town that Stephen King often uses. Like any other place in the world the town has a history with accidents, where children have gone missing, people have ended up being dead, and stuff like that. But just like any other grown up who terms it as nature’s wish, or calls it something inevitable, something one doesn’t have control over, people of Derry too, don’t bother to investigate such matters.

Unless the thing happens to you, of course, and boils down to a personal level, no one really cares to bat an eye. So it happens with Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher). His little brother Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) goes missing one day. The primal reason why things become more personal to him.

Prologue of IT Movie Explained

As part of the prologue of It movie, we see Bill making his little brother Georgie a boat to help him go play in the rain. In one of the scenes where he asks him to fetch him wax from the cellar, we can see Georgie being really afraid of the dark and fidgeting before venturing there.

As he makes his way down, he finds his mother playing the piano busy in her own world. The lack of conversation there as little Georgie makes his way down is suggestive of how the grown ups are always lost in their own work. It is a child’s perspective about a grown-up’s world. They don’t wish any part of a child’s life. A child’s fancy, his insecurities, his fear have no effect on them. Once we grow up we all grow out of the things we once held close to our heart.

Georgie somehow manages to grab the wax despite being absolutely terrified. Remember this bit because it will be important in figuring out why Pennywise attacked Georgie in the first place.

Pennywise the Clown

it movie clown pennywise

We understand how close Bill and Georgie really were in all those moments of Bill helping Georgie out with the boat. Georgie thanks him as he makes his way out in the downpour to test the sailboat. That’s where we see his boat ending up stranded and then him being attacked by a psychotic clown named Pennywise living in the sewers.

A storm blew me away. Blew the whole circus away.

We see Pennywise sweet talking Georgie before chopping his hand off and then taking him into the sewers with him.

Eight Months Later

Eight months later, we see a homeschooled boy Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs) unable to pull the trigger on a sheep. His innocence is being stripped away by the business he is in. His parents had died when he was young, and he is given a hard time by his guardian who is trying to make a man out of him so young.

There are two places you can be in this world. You can be out here like us, or you can be in there like them.

The world is full of two kinds of people. The weak ones who take orders submissively and the ones who sit in the driving seat giving orders to the forbearing. You have to take charge, overcome your fears, and insecurities or you will end up being pushed around. This dialogue, in fact, is the entire crux of It Movie.

Just then we see a sheep being pushed in for slaughtering as the camera switches to another flock of sheep – Bill and his friends Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer), Stanley Uris (Wyatt Olef)  making their way out of their classes. The similarity is just perfect. They are meek and driven by a shepherd called School, just as the sheep in the real world have no choice but to get herded, they too are powerless insignificant entities who move around as demanded. They choose to call themselves the Losers club, because of how badly they fare against bullies.

Other Characters in It Movie

They dump their books since it’s the last day of their term at Derry High School. Meek as they are, they are constantly bullied by Henry Bowers’ (Nicholas Hamilton) gang. We see a minor face-off, the flow of which gets obstructed by Henry’s father, who by the way is a cop, overlooking them. The cops are there to help Mrs. Ripsom who has recently lost her daughter Betty Ripsom. You see Derry is notorious for such cases. But the police has been helpless all this time, unable to figure out the cause.

In answer to a remark made by Richie where he wishes the Bowers gang to go missing, Eddie replies:

They are the ones doing it.

We are introduced to the character of Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) another unfortunate kid who is constantly bullied by a girl gang.

sophia lillis as beverly marsh in it movie

There are rumours about her being a slut which she can’t control and has learned to live with. She runs into Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) a sweet kid, who secretly has a crush on her.

Your hair is winter fire,
January Embers,
My heart burns there too.

As Bill returns to his house he finds his dad working in their workshop, and that he has discovered that Bill has stolen the sewer plans of Derry and that he was secretly working on a project. It is hard for Bill to accept that Georgie is dead, and according to his theory, Derry dumps everything into The Barrens underneath so it’s possible that Georgie must be in The Barrens. Furious at Bill, his father storms off taking away the sewage map.

Next time you wanna take something from my office, just ask.

The above dialogue is quite ironical because we know that his father will never give in to his wants.

The Fear Quotient

As we chug forward we notice that each character is afraid of something. Call it their vivid imagination as we often tend to have as a child. All their fears have unique characteristics. It amplifies whatever they are afraid of, and even though we as an audience might feel uncomfortable with it going nowhere, like how can a child stay normal after experiencing a terrifying event like that, right?

But if you pay attention, we have never really paid heed to a child when he talks about a monster under his bed, or in the closet. We have never really understood their perspective, and that’s why it is hard for us to get them when they see what they see. We are watching the flick from the perspective of a child, and that’s why it bothers us when we see them in pain. But as a parent, we fail to be on their very own pedestal to fathom them truly. How badly could they be needing us when they claim to have seen something formidable!

That’s what happens in IT Movie as well. Even though frightening things keep happening, one after the other to all the children, there is no closure. Because, it is a subconscious fear factor that stays with us when we are alone. And it’s not like we are all alone by ourselves the entire day as a child. So that fear factor keeps coming and going all the time.

This is probably one of those difficult bits to understand, only when you are not thinking about it from a child’s perspective. It confuses you because you think the movie is going nowhere, but in a way it is. Soon we find out about that.

Individual Qualms

Mike is afraid of people in a burning house since it had to do with his parents who were burnt alive. Stanley is afraid of a surreal portrait in the library a painting he wishes he hadn’t seen. Eddie is afraid of his mom who worries too much about him and his allergies, of not taking his pills on time, and sick lepers. Ben is afraid of bullies, being a part of history of Derry, of Easter Eggs, of being left alone, of grown up people from Derry who never stand up for the underdog. Beverly is afraid of her leering father. Bill is afraid to let go of Georgie. He still hopes he is alive even though he knows deep down the truth. He hates the fact that everybody moves on as if nothing has happened.

Why Nothing Happens to the Kids

Interestingly, all the weird happenings end up not hurting the kids. The reason being they are all an abstract amplified versions of their fear. They vanish when that modicum of fear goes away. In case of Mike, that fear of watching hands coming out of a slaughter house, gets interrupted when Bowers and his gang intercept him with their car. His attention then goes to the mundane where a butcher was coming out of the open door. In case of Stanley, the portrait lady chases him out of the library he was in. Going to another room he wasn’t as afraid eliminated his fear. His fear was limited to that library.

For Eddie, he is more afraid of not taking his pills on time, afraid of catching allergies and an image of a leper that chases him into the haunted house.

If you lived here you’d be home by now.

Pennywise appears then but since Eddie was already close to making an escape, paving a ‘way out’, the chance of him running away had made him a little bold from inside, thus somewhat curtailing his fear. It should be noted that the fear takes form when he sees the haunted house, and hears his pill alarm.

it movie pennywise with the balloon

For Ben, it was the librarian who accidentally barges in as Ben bumps into her. With the presence of someone else, fear becomes nil almost instantly, and thus we see Pennywise giving up the chase.

Everyone has experienced their bit of qualms except Richie whose blunt brazen remarks help him to stay confident most of the time. He isn’t as afraid as his friends, yet at some point, we discover that he is afraid of clowns too.

Meeting with Ben

In one of the scenes where Ben is harassed by the Bowers gang, a car passes by as Ben shouts at them for help. But the people in the car, show sheer indifference and disregard to his plight. It’s like Derry deliberately chooses not to see the misdemeanors around the town. They see something bad happening, they look the other way. We see a balloon showing up there, placing Derry’s disregard once again to the real clown story. It is a perfect set up.

Ben manages to escape somehow as Bowers tries to carve his name on Ben’s tummy.

The Losers club meanwhile stands in a sewage tunnel where they discover Betty Ripsom’s shoe connecting more dots leading to the sewers.

If I was Betty Ripsom I would want us to find me. Georgie too.

Just then Ben runs into the losers club as they take him to a local pharmacy to treat him. That’s where the Losers club run into Beverly and their friendship thrives thereon. Meanwhile one of the members of the Bowers gang Patrick Hockstetter (Owen Teague) ends up getting lured into the sewers. He is then attacked by Pennywise and goes missing too.

History of Derry

As the kids hang out together, Ben acquaints them with the history of the town.

Derry is not like any town I’ve been in before. People die or disappear, six times the national average. And that’s just grown ups. Kids are worse. Way, way worse.

Ben shows them more of his researched work where he tells how Derry used to be a beaver trapping town first and how the entire camp disappeared with rumors of plague or Indians.

It’s like one day everybody just woke up and left.

From there they gather that the trails of people missing ran dry at the Well House. In hopes to find the Well house someday, children retire.

The World of the Fearful Kids

Beverly hears voices coming from her wash basin. It’s all the children who went missing calling her out to “float” with them. When she tries to investigate, her hair that she had cut some days ago ends up strangling her, and the whole basin bursts open with blood. It paints the entire washroom in red. On listening to the noise her father shows up, but he couldn’t see the blood.

This is another one of those moments wherein you can say grown ups are blind to the world of children. They fail to understand the fancy a child deals with. For children everything is real, but from a perspective of a grown up man, who has outgrown childish imagination, things don’t make sense.

The fact is once again proven when she invites The Loser Club to clean the bathroom.

Beverly: My dad couldn’t see it, I thought I might be crazy.

Eddie: Well if you are crazy, then we are all crazy.

Bumping into Mike

You see Richie is deliberately kept as a lookout by Stephen King. The lad is bold, and he might not have seen the blood in there. With children cleaning the bathroom it might have seemed stupid to Richie. Later Richie brands them as imagining things. He easily demarcs the boundary of fear and courage. Fear – the only thing that helps feed the clown which they all fail to get.

It is good that the kids begin to talk about their fears, which so far they had kept repressed and to themselves. It was Beverly’s incident that led the talk to happen. They all talk about how they have been witnessing a clown when they find out about Mike being in trouble. The Bowers gang is trying to beat the crap out of Mike, as Mike is dead scared, the fear making him see the clown. That’s a spooky scene, by the way, Pennywise eating a hand, and then using it to wave at him.

The Losers Club intervenes and a rock war ensues. Saving Mike the Losers club storm out victorious against the gang of Bowers. It’s clear that when they are together they can overcome fear. Only a glint, the fire they are yet to see.

The Research in It Movie

Bill is staring at a poster of a new missing child. Underneath is the poster of Betty.

It’s like she has been forgotten now that someone else is missing.

Ben figures out that all the historical happenings and destruction have a pattern to it.

This stuff seems to happen every 27 years.

That after 27 years it returns, and then goes into hibernation for another 27.

They also figure out that it might be affecting those who are afraid. Each one of them is afraid of different things, and all these things are frightening them to the core.

Maybe none of this is real.

They rule out the possibility that it could all be a bad dream which, as a matter fact, everyone was secretly thinking about till this point.

Going After the Clown

They all step in to do more research in Bill’s workshop where they discover that every incident ends up connecting to the Well House. They figure out the location of the Well house to be 29 Neibolt Street, but the frames begin to play all by themselves and there’s this old picture of Bill’s mom where her photo is not visible. Pennywise replaces her in the picture and then spooks the children out by stepping into the workshop in a gigantic form.

Now the only way to overcome fear is to create an escape route or maybe open the blinds for the daylight to come in. So that’s how they narrowly escape Pennywise by opening the shutters.

Bill wishes to go after It. When his friends begin to chicken out, he goes by himself. They follow him to the creepy house as Bill tells them how he feels without stuttering for the first time:

What happens if another Georgie goes missing or another Betty or Ed Corcoran or one of us? Are you just going to pretend it didn’t happen like everyone else in this town? Because I can’t. I go home and all I see is that Georgie isn’t there. His clothes, his toys, his stupid stuffed animals but he isn’t. So walking into this house for me is easier than walking into my own.

In the Well House

Richie finds his own missing poster in the house that freaks him out. Something that Pennywise wanted to happen – to make every character afraid. Fear makes them vulnerable and that’s how Pennywise becomes stronger. In the Well House, Eddie falls from the first floor owing to his own fear of leper.

it movie scary the well house

Richie and Bill are individually isolated in different rooms, however, they are together and that’s why they are a bit stronger.

With Eddie left alone, Pennywise appears from a fridge and tries to attack him.

Bill and Richie find three doors and on taking one of them they are scared shitless. But then Bill tries to embolden Richie by reminding him about how nothing is real.

This isn’t real. Remember the missing kid poster. That wasn’t real. So this isn’t real.

That is like a stake in the heart for Pennywise because it beats fear. He was about to harm Eddie, when he realizes that Bill and Richie, despite being really afraid of what was behind the door, have managed to reenter it. It vanquishes fear, the very purpose of It. Walking through the same door they end up to assist Eddie where Pennywise says:

This isn’t real enough for you, Billy? I am not real enough for you? It was real enough for Georgie.

Overcoming Fear in It Movie

As he tries to attack them Beverly barges in lancing Pennywise with an arrow. Fear is unkillable. It can only exist or feel itself withering. It can intensify itself or can be belittled by lack of it. So, Pennywise doesn’t die with that arrow in his head. He turns around using the arrow as a prop to scare the kids even more. Yes, he looks scary and he becomes successful in making the kids more afraid. But who is more afraid? We can see Beverly being terrified so he draws his attention towards her.

As he turns around with the arrow he injures Ben.

Fear takes a different form then. It becomes contemptible and less pure. Kids were all together, they were worried about each other, besides Pennywise was hurt and looked vulnerable, so he decides to take a back seat there. Bill isn’t afraid of Pennywise and wishes to end his reign once and for all.

Don’t let it get away.

He follows him to find his true lair which was inside a well into the sewers. But has to come back owing to Eddie’s condition.

The Breakup in It Movie

Eddie’s mom takes away her child cursing the kids to be akin to monsters. (Irony?)

Bill is keen on getting back at Pennywise but the madness is too much for the rest of the kids to take. Bill and Richie get into a fight.

This is what it wants. It wants to divide us. We were all together when we hurt it. That’s why we are still alive.

The Losers club split with that, getting consumed into their boring lives once again, the one without each other. We see each one of them taking up chores as asked by their parents or guardians. So why is their world without the influence of It?

You see the mundane is jaded. A world full of adventures is when you begin to imagine things. That happens when you are happy, excited, psyched or afraid. None of them happens for the kids when they are not with each other.

The Bowers Quandary

Meanwhile, we see Bowers being given a hard time by his father.

Look at him now boys! Ain’t nothing like a little fear to make a paper boy crumble.

Bowers is really afraid for the first time in his life. And he finds a balloon too with a gift in his mail box – a knife. It should be well noted how manipulative Pennywise is. Throughout the movie, we see the TV always talking about the clown. It is a beautiful hint at our subconscious trying to play us to the tune of our fears.

Bowers is enraged with embarrassment and wishes to get back at his father. So he drives a knife through his neck while he is sleeping. One might say it was Pennywise who did it by manipulating him. But if you really look at it, the clown is a figment that simply amplifies what you wish to do, or whatever you are afraid of. Since Derry is a forgiving forgetting town where crime walks loose, it gives wings to people who wish to get involved in criminal activities.

In the end, he sees the clown on the TV asking him to kill them all. With that, he meant the Losers club who had hurt It.

Beverly’s Stand in It Movie

If you notice every child from the Losers club had a fairly normal life except for Beverly who was forced to live under the ogling eyes of her father.

Are you still my girl?

In an unseen set of events, Beverly takes a stand against her father and hits him with a toilet lid in self-defense. Pennywise shows up because with his father gone she was all alone, and quite petrified, consumed by the fear of what she had done, and what she would do.

it movie pennywise attacking beverly

When Beverly doesn’t show up to meet Bill, he gets worried about her and decides to pay her a visit at her house. There he finds her father in a pool of blood, and the wall is painted with:

You die if you try.

Bill goes to Richie for help and they reconcile because Pennywise had attacked one of them.

It got Beverly.

Eddie stands up against her mother too, overcoming his fear for the first time. She tries to stop him from going out with his friends.

You know what these are? They are gazebos! They are bullshit!

Children get together and prepare for war.

The Ending of It Movie Explained

As they enter their doom, Stanley is reluctant for a while to which Bill says:

If we stick together, all of us, we will win.

They all go to the well, (Pennywise’s entry exit point) and go down one by one. When Mike’s the only one left, Bowers shows up attacking him from behind. Mike spears him into the well as Bowers dies.

it movie scene of kids in the well

Meanwhile, Beverly wakes up in It’s lair and sees all the floating children that had gone missing. Pennywise shows up to hurt her but she says:

I am not afraid of you.

Which bothers Pennywise.

You will be.

It uses his power to make her float like the others, showing her a different world.

Stan ends up getting isolated. His nightmare – the painting lady shows up and attacks him. It hurts him however the rest of the kids show up in just the nick of time to help him. Bill starts seeing Georgie and follows him. Ends up in the lair of Pennywise where he sees Beverly floating mid way in the air. His first priority, however, is Georgie.

I will come back for you Beverly.

Meanwhile the rest of the kids find Beverly floating moonstruck.

beverly marsh floating in the air

They bring her down and Ben kisses her bringing her back to life. You see love overcomes fear. Fear is faltering, hesitation and lack of confidence. Love is bold, confident and strong. Right after the kiss, Beverly realizes that it was Ben who had written that poem for her.

January Embers.
My heart burns there too.

Bill’s Acceptance

Probably the most emotional scene in the entire movie is when Bill finds Georgie.

What took you so long?

All the emotions gush out when you feel the empathy kick in.

I was looking for you all this time.

All this time Bill secretly knew that his brother was dead. But he hadn’t given up on hope. He hadn’t grieved for him the way he should have. He was yet to acquaint himself with the bitter truth.

I wanna go home.

He wanted that moment of reconciliation with his loving brother. Because it was hard for him to accept that Georgie was dead.

I want more than anything for you to be home.

But he finally comes to term with reality and shoots Georgie believing what the world had been telling him all this time. Finally accepting the truth with a heavy heart.

It Means War

Georgie becomes Pennywise and attacks everybody, as the concluding war begins.

In those final moments, Pennywise grabs hold of Bill and says:

I’ll take him! I’ll take all of you! I’ll feast on your flesh as I feed on your fear, or you’ll just leave us be, I will take him. Only him, and I will have my long rest and you will all grow to live and thrive and lead happy lives until old age takes you back to the weeds.

It is a choice Pennywise offers the kids in IT movie. If they were to think like adults, they wouldn’t mind leaving one of them behind. Like the people in Derry who were alright with people missing and disappearing, as long as it didn’t bother them.

The Final Assault in IT Movie

But these kids stood for each other and so they attack the clown until it takes different forms to scare the bajesus out of them. Together they get rid of the menace by destroying him (overcoming their own fear).

You couldn’t kill Beverly coz she wasn’t afraid, and we are neither, not anymore. Now you are the one who’s afraid because you are gonna starve.

In the end, we see the clown fragmenting before disappearing into a pit.

For the first time, Bill truly accepts the death of Georgie as he sees his clothes in the sewer. He cries like he has never before, coming to terms with the fact that his brother has really died.

Guys kids are floating down.

The Losers Club in It Movie

The Epilogue of It Movie

We see The Losers Club together once again. Beverly is telling them about how it felt when she was floating.

We were our parent’s ages. I just remember how we felt.

With that, it is hard not to tack “floating” against something that shows a kid the dreams about growing up. Kids always fantasize about growing up, what will they do, what will they become. It is a life they imagine to be living. While for the kids in the movie growing up is like being killed, killing your fantasies, imagination and the beautiful world that no one sees.

They swear in blood – a symbolism for them not being afraid, to have finally overcome their fears.

Swear! If it isn’t dead if it ever comes back, we will come back too.

Eventually Bill the lad who had been afraid of things who had finally learned how to overcome his fears runs up to Beverly to plant a kiss on her.

You can order It movie 2017 from here:

Thinking Out Loud (Theories Behind IT Movie)

I understand It movie is intended to be seen the way it is presented without any hidden meanings. But the work of Stephen King is a result of careful thought. To the people who fail to read between the lines the story could be just about a clown from a different world who has come to live on earth, who wakes up every 27 years to feed on children and their fear. But for me, I think Pennywise is more of an abstract form.

I will try to explain:

First Theory

Derry is a notorious underdeveloped and lawless town where people have to deal with crimes on a daily basis. The disappearance of children I like to think is as a result of bullies, perverts and child molesters (an exemplary form we saw in Beverly’s father). Children disappearing is a thing that bothers only the children who wish to do something about it. Those are the kids imagining a villain trying to stop them from uncovering the truth. Fear is their enemy and all the elements that try to stop them from uncovering the real truth, right from Eddie’s mother to Beverly’s father to Bill’s and to Bowers, are all companions of that enemy. They are trying to stop their crucial summertime research about the disappearance of kids.

Second Theory

Another theory I can work up with is what if Pennywise had been some kind of a real neglected person who had wished to make Derry laugh once? He could have been a regular person, who must have been admired for his circus. When he said, “A storm blew me away”, I think it is a crisp metaphor for Derry’s disregard for the circus that once might have existed in the town. Something might have happened to him and his business that would have forced Pennywise down the gutters, taken his life in the process. Derry is a repulsive town with its dark secrets and one could only imagine as to what might have happened to the real clown whose abstract is now such a terrifying reflection as Pennywise.

Another Weird Theory for IT movie

Another theory that I can think of deals with the term floating. Floating is something that insinuates that people are moving away towards better prospects. Derry isn’t the town that it once used to be. They have been leaving Derry in search of better jobs, as Beverly’s vision stated. It was a pleasant vision for her that showed them how they could come out of that hell hole called Derry and become something substantial in life. She didn’t remember what they were doing but she remembered how they felt like. So they could be just leaving the town and the term ‘missing’ could be just implying that. Kids think a lot of things. So everything could be just their rare form of imagination.

The Final Verdict of IT movie

Whatever must have been the original thought that forced Stephen King to present such a beautiful novel, the movie adaptation nails it. It movie is beautifully done by Andy Muschietti who forces us to live the flick as if it were our very own story. It takes you back in time, when you used to dream, imagine and fantasize.

It movie should not be missed, should not be just watched for its horror but for its insane story that forces you to think.

Highly recommended for everybody.

You can check out the trailer of It Movie 2017 here:

20th Century Women Review (2016) | Analysis of a Stunning Coming of Age Story

Mike Mills is a charmer of dramedy. He deals with pathos so beautifully it’s hard not to make it your very own. 20th Century Women tries to tell a coming of age story of a boy, his upbringing overseen by his mother and two girls who help him understand things about life with their very own experiences. The flick is set in a backdrop of 1979 where a technological revolution was still in the process of shaping up. Its time dictates the very beauty of it. Quite inspiring, in fact, since today a child’s world has ended up being lost in mobiles, games and internet with limited social interaction.

20th Century Women thrives on real interaction helping each character in the movie to understand each other really well. A setup like that evokes a sense of yearning in your mind, to be in that time, caring for people around you and to be cared for, and being involved in each other’s life so as to carve better humans out of each other. The movie also delves into the life of Dorothea Fields (Annette Bening) who is apparently not from her time but from “The Depression” as her son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) calls it.

The movie is abounding with some great writing. The screenplay is peerless and very pensive. Every interaction forces you off the cliff into your very own world of contemplation. It is brilliantly presented too with Mike’s magnificent direction. His direction BTW is just impeccable and intelligent.

There are so many great conversations and one-liners in 20th Century Women that I think should be properly curdled to identify and appreciate their true magnificence. I have decided to do a proper analysis for that. Hope you like it.

Plot Analysis of 20th Century Women (Spoilers Ahead)

20th Century Women starts off with a scene of the moving sea signifying constant motion. Life is constant motion. It is written on the threads of time and it will forever take you forward. A movie that slaps a timeliness feel on its moniker understands that very well. We are told it is Santa Barbara 1979. The protagonists Dorothea and Jamie find their car in flames in the parking lot.

20th century women movie still

The old and the rusty always dies. It is a paragon of movement, that constantly moving wheel of change. With that, we realize the recognition of something always happens when it’s too late. When something dies you begin to wonder about it, and every story that once entailed it. Although there are memories galore as Dorothea says:

Dorothea: It was a beautiful car.
Jamie: Mom, it smelled like gas and overheated all the time and it was just old.
Dorothea: Well it wasn’t always old. It just got that way all of a sudden.

Now you know that Mike Mills isn’t only talking about the car with that conversation. It is about her too, or about everything that’s old in the world. They were all something once when they were young, bright and shiny. She wasn’t always old. It is her way of justifying herself, and then feeling sorry for it. You don’t see age coming. Time is elusive.

Unfulfilled Promises

Even prior to that in conjunction with the car’s really import, we find out about the lives of our protagonists and how they fit in. How they come to be. We see a montage of frames showing us the vastness of life, the experiences it houses in its bosom, the diversity, variegation, everything.

Dorothea: I’d tell him life was very big and unknown.
Jamie: And she told me there were animals and sky and cities, music, movies.
Dorothea: He’d fall in love have his own children, have passions, have meaning, have his mom and dad.

The last line is a kick in the groin because we immediately find out what Dorothea had promised couldn’t be fulfilled. She got divorced and the car was the only memory that stayed. Jamie’s recollection about his dad is sad as well. He tries to remember if he was close to his dad ever.

Last time I felt close to him was on my birthday in 1974.

And the real reason behind that was something material. He bought him mirrored sunglasses. So you can feel there was no real connection or even a trace of love, for that to matter. He would only call him on his birthday or Christmas.

Mills chooses to show us a movie scene where the talk goes on about promises. The actor in the movie failed to keep them.

Last night we said a great many things.

It is a subtle wink at Dorothea’s husband or Jamie’s father who didn’t stand true to himself.

The Power of Gratitude

We find Dorothea to be a kind woman, who is good with everybody when we find out her offering to feed the Firemen who came to help her with her car situation. She wishes to thank them for their help, and that’s her way of offering gratitude.

Jamie finds that odd, as will anybody else and goes on to explain.

You know when the firemen come people don’t usually invite them over for dinner.

To that she says,

Yeah? Why not?

It is a very powerful remark by Dorothea, which compels you to think. Why wouldn’t you or why shouldn’t you be grateful when someone helps you? Are they obliged to help you? The reason why you shouldn’t be kind to them? Even so, look at the colossal significance of the help they did. No one in their sanest mind will take the trouble of doing all that for you. You realize Dorothea’s kindness is just. But clearly, the times have changed. Yet she is unaware of it or simply chooses to be herself.

Other Crucial Characters in 20th Century Women

Credits roll and the movie begins with the introduction of Julie (Elle Fanning) a girl who is forced to attend her mother’s therapy sessions. We see her dropping by to meet Jamie and Dorothea but they are not home. William (Billy Crudup) is introduced as well meanwhile, who is a tenant at Dorothea’s ramshackle building. He helps her with all the broken things in her house.

Then there is Abigail ‘Abbie’ Porter (Greta Gerwig) the second girl who we see in a hospital. She is also a tenant and on chemo, and struggling with her cancerous body. We see her dancing to music which we later find out reflects her mood.

She learned to dance when she got sad.

Abbie is a photographer and she is taking pictures of Julie when she objects. She says:

I am taking a picture of everything that happens to me in a day.

Julie responds:

I don’t like having my pictures taken. I didn’t happen to you.

Dorothea and Jamie come back and we find out people in the building are quite friendly with each other. Dorothea cares about what is going on in Abbie’s life. There we find out about her illness as well.

Jamie and Julie in 20th Century Women

When Jamie and Julie are alone we find them on Jamie’s bed. She is worried about Jamie when she hears about that car fire. Julie is lovingly touching his face when Jamie considers it as an invitation. She retracts with:

It was so much easier before you got all horny.

Friendship can’t be the same always. Jamie and Julie have been friends all their life. There is an apparent age gap between the two, and Julie likes to spend her time on Jamie’s bed. They just talk about stuff. But Jamie is going through a phase, an age where he has no control over his feelings.

elle fanning in 20th century women

Friends can’t have sex and still be friends.

Julie tries to establish that, and wishes to keep it that way. She might be right of her to want something like that. But she is unknowingly forcing something unnatural on a poor coming of age lad, by sharing the same bed every night, destroying his privacy.

On a remark Jamie makes about her mom, Julie aces it with a line:

She’s compensating for her loneliness.

That’s a remarkable line, right there! You see Dorothea has been constantly bugging Jamie with things from her life. From groceries to her stock analysis, talking, asking him to do some chores, in a way making sure Jamie’s life is always full of her. When you are alone, you want your life to suck less, and you try to be busy with things that make you happy. But you do that at someone else’s cost. Jamie is a child who wants respite. But she fails to see that.

The Birthday Party Dinner

As promised, the firemen show up to Dorothea’s birthday party. By that invitation, it clearly seems that she is rooting for validation. That her birthday should have people, lots of people in it, even though there are strangers galore, it should ‘feel’ like a real party. She doesn’t wish to reflect back in the long run with regret – that her birthday didn’t feel like a birthday, and she is willing to accept strangers home as well.

We find her telling him about the building origins. Williams is trying to share his profound thoughts about the work he loves. He loves pottery but sadly nobody understands him or his love for it.

We are connected to the dirt ’cause we came from the dirt. The dirt is made of stars and stardust, in the same way that we are so when you put your hands into that dirt and feel the Earth Mother…

Abbie finds it ridiculous and guffaws. You get to see two different perspectives of how people are obsessed with different things in life. Abbie fails to see what Williams is so mad about, and the same holds true for Williams.

The Old Times

A montage of images in 20th Century Women, then takes us to the year 1924 when Dorothea was born.

When she was my age people drove in sad cars to sad houses with old phones, no money, or food, or televisions but the people were real.

We find out about her, how the war forced her to leave school, to give up on her dreams to become a pilot. The war took a lot of things away, and it is sad how it is a single most disruptive element that swallows everything in its wake. Jamie recounts the events of her life by telling us that she was the first woman to work in a Continental Can Company drafting room. Right after she met her husband, and then Jamie was born and then the divorce happned. Jamie puts it this way:

People from her time never admit anything went wrong.

This is another of those great lines in 20th Century Women that will make you brood for long. While it could be just pointing out Dorothea’s nature about being laconic, but at the same time, it talks about that period of time, and all the people in it. They were the reason behind the war after all, and yet they never admit that they were in the wrong. You talk with them and they will only have good things to say about their time, as if living amidst chaos was something they had learned to live with.

The Upbringing

Dorothea is really supportive of her son fighting with the world to turn him into a man, preparing him for everything upfront.

He’s not half a person, and he’s not some cute little guy. He has volition and autonomy and privacy.

She appreciates his brain even though he is in the wrong. (That signature forging bit!) We also learn that Dorothea never dates a man for long. One way or the other she pushes them away.

The Happiness Quotient

A scene in 20th Century Women then shows Jamie being concerned about the guy Julie dates. Dorothea senses that concern his words and goes on to remark another great line:

I just think that, you know, having your heart broken is a tremendous way to learn about the world.

In one of the conversations that follow that night, Jamie drops the bomb by asking her the question:

Do you think you are happy? Like as happy as you thought you’d be when you were my age?

It is an inappropriate question to ask but if you think about it, it is really deep. Nobody is really happy, and our visions and fancies, our idea of the world that we dreamt of growing up, never turns out the way we want them to.  A casual remark by Dorothea puts him away, but you know what the child has been thinking.

Wondering if you are happy is a great shortcut to just being depressed.

Another one of those ripped lines. We often wonder about it and hurt ourselves. Dorothea is the exact opposite. She doesn’t focus on thinking about how her life turned out to be, or where exactly her place was supposed to be. She doesn’t want to spend time thinking about that. It is written on her face as she moves on concentrating on the now, the present.

The Punk Music

About one of The Raincoats music that was played in 20th Century Women she opines:

Can’t things just be pretty?

We know what and who Dorothea is – an optimistic person, wanting the world to be a better place, focusing on all the good things wishing everything unpleasant to just go away. To her remark about the music Jamie says:

Pretty music is used to hide how unfair and corrupt society is.

And he’s so right! There is so much sadness in the world, the wrong, the corrupt, and with all the problems, if you are just focusing or choosing to see the good things, it wouldn’t make the ugliness disappear.

Dorothea comments about them not being very good. Abbie understands them even better when she says:

It’s like they got all this, this feeling, and they don’t have any skill, and they don’t want skill, because it’s really interesting what happens when your passion is bigger than the tools you have to deal with it. It creates this energy that’s raw.

It is something that holds true for everything. My passion for drawing, even though how bad I draw supersedes my inabilities. That’s really like a start for everything in this world. Then you have to keep at it, and you end up realizing that you are getting better with time.

The Near Death Experience

Another set of images in 20th Century Women then show us Jamie’s time. The year 1964 when he was born. Dorothea describes the time as the onset of a meaningless war, (for her the World War was meaningful?) with computers, drugs, and boredom. The last reason would force kids to play stupid games. We see Jamie playing a self-destructive game with his friends to which he succumbs and nearly dies for about half an hour.

When he is finally fine, Dorothea asks him:

Why would you do something so dangerous?

To which Jamie replies:

I don’t know. I mean, everyone was doing it.

We tend to do things for the heck of it, but primarily because we have this habit of following others. We copy each other, and even though something might sound really dumb we still do it. Jamie’s reason in 20th Century Women reeks of that very human stupidity that we are forever born with. War was a stupid idea and yet we keep following the same course over and over again.

That Deliberate Attempt

Another example is slapped by Jamie himself when he retorts to the question:

Why did you hurt yourself like that?

with an answer that’s just quite apt:

Why do you smoke yourself to death?

Another one of those examples where people tend to copy others, despite knowing what damage it could bring them. Smoking is a dumb idea, just like Jamie’s stupid game, but he still went along with it. Just as Dorothea or billion others like her who smoke, follow other’s suit.

Why are you fine being sad and alone?

We know that Dorothea has given up the idea of living, and that’s why she has resorted to smoking. She is not even trying to live which makes Jamie really mad. And whenever he asks her something personal she never replies. She thinks of it as inappropriate.

Owing to the time he was born in, Dorothea finds it really hard to understand the world of her child.

I know him less every day.

Things weren’t the way they used to be back in her time. She finds it really hard to communicate when she can’t open up herself and tell him about herself. That’s why she decides to bring in the cavalry – Abbie and Julie.

History and Men

20th Century Women then shows us a beach scene where all the women are talking.

I think history has been tough on men. I mean, they can’t be what they were, and they can’t figure out what’s next.

History has indeed been really hard on men. Even though they are trying to learn from it, secretly they wish to be a part of it. I have seen men who want to be in on some action, and now that they can’t get any of it, they think of the past as a great time to live. The inability to see what’s next and whether or not they will become a part of history is killing too. It is the boredom around that makes our life less exciting. The cardinal reason why they wish to teleport back.

Beseeching Help from Abbie and Julie

20th century women asking for help still

I think he needs help in figuring out how to be himself in all this mess. And I can’t be there. I can’t be there with him. I have to let go.

Dorothea asks for help from Abbie and Julie to raise him even though pointed out by Julie that you need a man to raise a man.

How do you be a good man? What does that even mean nowadays?

The very definition of a good man is lost, and the idea of two young girls teaching Jamie to become one seems about right to Dorothea.

This is what Jamie thinks of it:

You just feel guilty ’cause it’s just me and you.

The fact that it is true bothers Dorothea, but she fails to open up once again. The fight goes on and we see Jaime running off to LA for a show.

Dorothea thinks it is right of him to be mad. But Abbie counters it by:

If it makes him this mad then maybe it wasn’t a good idea.

Dorothea realizes her mistake with that and tries to get William’s perspective.

Jamie returns at night to a waiting Julie who has had a terrible news to break. As he gets in, Dorothea who has been really worried all this time. She finally lets out a sigh of relief, but she doesn’t show. She remarks to the cat instead:

It’s okay, Jeeves, he’s back. You can relax now.

You can order 20th Century Women from here:

Abbie Seeking Validity in 20th Century Women

Meanwhile, Abbie is rooting for someone’s approval, validity or even a little bit of love as she tries to talk to Williams.

I had this new idea for my photography that I was gonna take a picture of everything that I owned so it would be a self-portrait of myself through the stuff that I have.

Her photographs are incredibly sad and yet impactful as they help you to get a read on her. Looking at photographs of things someone owns, creates an image of that person in your mind. You feel that person materializing into something concrete when you really don’t know him/her. That’s the very beauty of it, and the sheer power of a camera.

Abbie chooses to fool around with Williams and she asks him to do role play. Williams finds that odd, of course, since her fetish is that of someone other than Williams.

I can’t just be myself?

But that scene in 20th Century Women is so brilliant and well acted that you can’t applaud the actors enough. She wishes Williams to be a photographer shooting her, and then making the move on her, eventually apologizing. When he acts it out, in the end, he can’t stop feeling sorry for the poor girl in reality, and the apology there, does both the jobs. You can’t help sorry for Abbie yourself. She is going through a difficult time, and she has these crazy ideas at the same time wanting her life to be unknotted.

Julie’s Pregnancy Test in 20th Century Women

It has been a regular wont of Julie in 20th Century Women to tell Jamie all about her life. It is really killing for Jamie to hear and yet he does so, because they have been friends forever. Despite the advice Jamie slips to her, she never acts in accordance. This time things really go out of hand as we can see Julie in tears afraid she might have got pregnant.

20th century women still of therapy

We see a montage of Julie origins this time, how she calls herself self-destructive. Her mother being a therapist keeps asking her to be a part of her therapy-sessions. She fools around a lot, and on being asked why, calls herself crazy.

You wish you were crazy.

One of the lines by Scott Peck from The Road Less Traveled in 20th Century Women puts whatever she is going through in life in perspective.

Of all the misconceptions about love, the most powerful and persuasive is the belief that falling in love is love, or at least one of the manifestations of love. Love is supposed to be a feeling that you feel.

Jamie the friend he is, helps her with her pregnancy test. She discovers she isn’t pregnant after all. Meanwhile we see her teaching all the wrong things, like how to smoke a cigarette. Whether to take it or not is Jamie’s choice. He makes the smart move by throwing it away. At the same time, Julie is also teaching her some of the good things she has garnered with experience, like her idea of strength.

I think being strong is the most important quality. It’s not being vulnerable, it’s not being sensitive. It’s not even, honestly, it’s not even being happy. It’s about strength and your durability against the other emotions.

Abbie’s Reports

Dorothea asks Jamie to be there when Abbie returns from her Chemotherapy appointment. Dorothea drops another life lesson for Jamie:

Men always feel like they have to fix things for women or they are not doing anything, but some things just can’t be fixed. Just be there. Somehow that’s hard for all of you.

Jamie makes the smart move, working on the “being there” part for women, and goes along with Abbie to show his support.

Abbie finds out that her cancer is benign but she can’t be a mother. It is hard for her to take, and Dorothea soothes her with her humour.

As a thank you gesture, Abbie gives Jamie a mix tape, also to help him out upfront as she truly believed in the following:

These were a bunch of songs that I think my life would have been better if they had been around when I was a teenager. So I’m hoping that if you listen to them now, you will be a happier and more realized person than I could ever hope to be.

Abbie’s montage flashes as we discover about her origins this time.

She grew up in Santa Barbara where everyone is happy, but that just made her feel crazy.

That feeling of being out of place, where everyone is one way and you don’t quite fit in.

New York City made her feel sane. It was so fucked up.

Her cancer upended her life, and the reason for that turned out to be her mother’s act of taking a drug when she was pregnant with Abbie. Feeling constantly guilty meeting her daughter, it was too much for Abbie to stay with her mom, and so she rented the house at Dorothea’s.

Dorothea’s Acceptance

One of the scenes in 20th Century Women shows Dorothea being approached by a coworker. He points out that everyone in the office thought that she was a lesbian. Dorothea has shut herself off so bad that people are making remarks about her behind her back.

Dorothea catches Julie once secretly getting off from Jamie’s room, and asks Julie what it was all about. She tells her that she just talks and sleeps. The chit chat backfires on Dorothea when she puts forth the question about her impact on Jamie’s life, that she hasn’t moved on.

You never seem into it.

Dorothea admits that it is hard for her to find someone she likes.

I had my chance twice, but that part of life just didn’t work out for me.

She contemplates on how she has been all this time, and asks about Williams’ opinion once again:

Do I seem stuck to you?

The Going Out Disaster

Abbie, Dorothea and Williams go out to a club where Williams ends up kissing Dorothea.

I mean you don’t kiss a woman unless you know what you mean by it.

It was all of a sudden and Dorothea doesn’t understand why Williams kissed her. For Dorothea, there has to be a reason for that.

On being asked if Williams was with Abbie, he says:

That’s not something serious.

To that Dorothea replies:

Then why do it?

This makes you think indeed. Why do something, when you don’t have your heart in it? It applies to everything in our life even to something as mundane as your job. It strikes a chord in Williams too, and he realizes that Abbie wasn’t someone he was after.

Dorothea sees an exemplary punk, a stereotype that makes her cynically look at what her child’s world is all about. What are the things that he likes, the music he approves, the clothes he wears? There is a whole generation waiting to be unraveled and he has yet to find his place, and the way things are headed she isn’t really happy with it. All of it makes her think, and she admits going into that pub was a life-changing experience for her.

The Feminist Book in 20th Century Women

Clearly, things didn’t turn out well for Abbie as she ended up in a bar fight. She gets dumped by Williams who she didn’t even like in the first place. She finds out Julie sleeping in the same bed as that of Jamie, and slips in a remarkable word of advice.

You cannot let her sleep here if she’s not having sex with you. It’s disempowering.

Julie had been doing that unknowingly to Jamie. The poor lad hadn’t figured it out and was suffering in silence all this time.

The next morning Abbie gives Jamie some feminist books that he begins to fancy and read a lot.

I wanna be a good guy, okay? I just want to be able to satisfy a woman.

That’s the fun part where he starts giving advice to people who don’t like to be talked down upon. He ends up getting beaten for it.

The next time a dude tells you a sex story, you just have to agree with everything he says and act like it’s right, even if it’s not, because they don’t wanna be contradicted. They just wanna live in their fantasy lands.

Advice keeps flowing in.

Whatever you think your life is going to be like, just know it’s not gonna be anything like that.

It is a disappointing thing to say to a child, but it is so true. Abbie doesn’t want Jamie to keep up his hopes high, and be prepared for the worst at all times. They sneak to a club together as she teaches him the basics of talking to a woman by being mysterious.

The Love Life of Williams in 20th Century Women

Dorothea and Williams meanwhile talk about their love lives.

I don’t really make choices about women. They just come to me.

On being inquired about Jamie’s dad, Dorothea remembers love pointing it to just one great habit of his – he used to scratch her back while doing stock reports being left-handed. It is strange how the very definition of love boils down to something so trivial. It is both good and bad in a way, and this topic remains open for discussion.

We see Williams trying to teach Dorothea meditation. Once again we see the conflict of interests, however, we see Williams playing along to please her.

We see a montage of Williams frames this time, as his love life unfurls with the introduction of Theresa, the only girl he was really serious about. He even moved with her to Oakland then to Sebastopol.

It wasn’t really me. I was doing it for….so that I wouldn’t lose Theresa.

There is always someone serious that takes away your interest when it leaves you. That’s what happened with Williams.

After Theresa, women didn’t have to look one way or the other, or be a certain way. I think that I just, I want to win them over so that I won’t be lonely.

But it was the aftermath that confused Williams the most:

But once I have them, I don’t really know what to do with them.

Dorothea and Williams start spending more time with each other, as she teaches him how to woo a woman.

Just be there. She just wants a little company.

Jamie in the World

Meanwhile, Jamie asks Abbie to run away to the coasts, just like he had once to Julie. Abbie tells him the truth:

Jamie, you are in love with Julie. You can’t let her push you around. You have to tell her what you want.

She shares all that night’s experience with Dorothea the other day, who doesn’t seem mad. Dorothea calmly replies:

You get to see him out in the world as a person.

With that Abbie pulls out a photograph of a drunk Jamie, showing exactly who he looks like in the real world as a person. She realizes that he looks nothing like she had hoped for. There is nothing out of the ordinary about him. He is nothing but a drunk guy just trying to have a good time.

In a tete-a-tete with Jamie, Julie tells him she doesn’t have orgasms. On being asked why she does what she does, she replies:

There’s other reasons. You know, like the way that he looks at you or the way they get a little bit desperate at some point. And the little sounds that they make. And their bodies ’cause you don’t exactly know what they’re gonna look like or smell or feel like until you do it.

It is the mystery behind the veil that draws most people towards each other. The sense of wonder of what if, or what might one find when witnessing him/her up close.

It is that sense of intrigue that pulls Julie, as she puts it perfectly:

Julie: Half the time I regret it.
Jamie: Then why do you do it?
Julie: ‘Cause half the time, I don’t regret it.

In Unison with Feminism in 20th Century Women

Jamie reads one of the lines from the book “Sisterhood is Powerful” by Zoe Moss, which by the way, you can order from here:

It is an essay titled “It Hurts to be Alive and Obsolete: The Ageing Woman”. He reads it to her mother considering it relates to her the most:

“I am gregarious. Interested in others. And I think, intelligent. All I ask is to get to know people and to have them interested in knowing me. I doubt whether I would marry again and live that close to another individual, but I remain invisible. Don’t pretend for a minute as you look at me, that I am not as alive as you are, and I do not suffer from the category to which you are forcing me.

I think, stripped down, I look more attractive than my ex-husband but I am sexually and socially obsolete and he is not. I have a capacity now for taking people as they are, which I lacked at 20. I reach orgasm in half the time and I know how to please, yet I do not even dare show a man that I find him attractive. If I do, he may react as if I have insulted him. I’m supposed to fulfill my small functions and vanish.”

That he has tacked Dorothea and how she is into the lines of a book. She refuses to accept by saying:

I don’t need a book to know about myself.

The Regret

Dorothea regrets having asked Abbie to help Jamie at all. She believes Jamie is turning out to become too much of a hardcore feminist.

Dorothea: Learning about a female orgasm is helping him be a man?
Abbie: Well, what man do you know that cares anything about that?

And Abbie is right. No one really cares about it, as much as she had prepared Jamie for it upfront. Her idea of making Jamie something better isn’t, however, playing by her rules. She didn’t know what a modern woman thinks and expects of men. She is as Jamie often puts it from “The Depression” where men had a different definition.

The Menstruation Talk in 20th Century Women

On the dining table happens one of the most awkward discussions for Dorothea where Abbie flings around the word “menstruation” openly. Dorothea and all the men there, in fact, the whole world isn’t really comfortable with the word. It is a topic they wish to speak about in hushed voices. But Abbie hates that and wishes Jamie to learn to be bold and brave.

If you ever want to have an adult relationship with a woman like if you want to have sex with a woman’s vagina, you need to be comfortable with the fact that the vagina menstruates.

There’s nothing wrong with it. It is totally natural and the human perception just makes the topic awkward to be discussed in public.

20th century women menstruation talk

With that window of ballsy opportunity, Julie tries to come clean too and talks about her sexual encounters. The topic deviates and Dorothea calls it a night.

While trying to confront Jamie, the plan ends up getting backfired for Dorothea as he says:

Mom, I am dealing with everything right now. You are dealing with nothing.

It is true. There is so much going on with Jamie, and literally, nothing going on with Dorothea. She isn’t moving on the way she is supposed to but she is worried sick about Jamie’s upbringing. It is just too much for Jamie to take.

The Runaway

Jamie takes that advice of not letting Julie in, and stops her from sleeping this time. But she plays that emotional card asking him to do what he had always wanted to do – to drive to the coast all by themselves.

They leave as Dorothea ends up getting pulled over and then later jailed for her sense of humour (even though it was good!)

At the coast in a room, Julie is reluctant to have sex with Jamie.

I think that I am too close to you to have sex with you.

Jamie tries to make him understand that he could help her with that. But it’s impossible to budge her because she doesn’t want Jamie to become like others.

Jamie: I don’t wanna just have sex with you. I want you.
Julie: But it’s your version of me. It’s not me.

We have a certain idea of a person and we love them for our version of them. When you get to know the real person you begin to see the flaws and the intrinsic problems. That’s when love begins to fade. Julie wishes Jamie to see her point, and not be that person whom she can’t be with.

She compares him to all the other guys, which hurts Jamie as he leaves.

The Homecoming in 20th Century Women

Dorothea is meanwhile brought back home, as she discusses with Abbie:

Abbie: Having a kid seems like the hardest thing.
Dorothea: How much you love the kid…you are just pretty much screwed.

Julie calls Dorothea as she, Abbie and Williams go to the coast to find Jamie. Dorothea isn’t mad at Julie. She forgives her and talks to Jamie and he makes her understand the real import of a mother.

It just seemed like you couldn’t deal with me anymore.

Jamie is mad at Dorothea for asking the girls to help. To that Dorothea replies:

I don’t want you to end up in the same place as me. I wanted you to be happier. I just didn’t think I could do it by myself.

Jamie corrects her by saying:

I thought we were fine, though, just me and you.

The Opening Up

In a restaurant Dorothea and Jamie begin to talk as we see Dorothea finally opening up to personal questions:

Were you and Dad ever in love?

To that she replies:

Sure or, maybe I was just…I felt I was supposed to be in love. Or I was scared I’d never be in love, so I just picked the best solution at the time.

More personal questions follow and Dorothea unspools properly with her child opening up every time:

Are you lonely?

She runs her fancy to create an ideal man for her. Her idea of a real man is the one who is true to his promises:

You know that he’s gonna do what he says he’s gonna do,

The Sad Reality

As we cut in to an adventurous frame, we get a sense of deep satisfaction that finally things begin to look up for Dorothea and Jamie. But the real truth hits you hard in the face. Life is never like that.

I thought that was just the beginning of a new relationship with her where she’d really tell me stuff but maybe it was never really like that again. Maybe that was it.

It is just one of those phases we were shown and that part sounds like a really great story. But life happens to everybody. So the diegesis tells us what happened with everybody in the story. How things pan out for them.

Eventually, Jamie speaks, and he tells us about himself:

Years after she’s gone, I will finally get married and have a son. I will try to explain to him what his grandmother was like but it will be impossible.

It leaves you with a really profound sense of poignancy. Not getting to know the extraordinary woman around whom his life revolved, that’s as gloomy as it gets. Curtain falls.

The Final Verdict of 20th Century Women

20th Century Women is a great movie where all of the actors performed extraordinarily. I loved how Mike Mills did those great introductions, and how he chose to spread them all across the movie. Jamie was always shown cruising on his skateboard on an empty road as if implying that he was cruising through life. Such subtle elements simply help elevate the movie.

20th Century Women is outright alluring and should not be missed for the world.

Liked the analysis of 20th Century Women? Check out my other movie analyses too.

Check out the trailer of 20th Century Women here:

Berlin Syndrome Review (2017) | About Relationships | Full Analysis with Spoilers

Even before we begin, I would like to give a standing ovation to Teresa Palmer. Her performance in Berlin Syndrome is hands down one of the best of hers I have ever seen. She has grown as an actor and it shows on her face. Her act is so natural and realistic that you get an impression you are actually witnessing a stranded girl. Totally uncontrived feel!

What appears to be a mere psycho-captive tale is, in fact, something that beats the eye. There is something deep going on in Berlin Syndrome and for that, I have decided to write you a thorough analysis. With some cool metaphorical comparisons thrown astray the writer of the eponymous novel Melanie Joosten was definitely on to something. Maybe you failed to notice that allegorical crux, of which I speak of. Don’t worry I have got you covered.

Meanwhile you can check out my other movie analyses too.

Berlin Syndrome Explained (Spoilers Ahead)

Okay, to begin with, we see our protagonist Clare (Teresa Palmer), a tourist photographer bumping into Andi (Max Riemelt), a local Berlin guy who is also an English teacher. This part is the “falling in love”. When you are complete strangers but you get smitten by the way the other looks. Despite not knowing anything about him/her you begin to fall, fall hard. You become unreasonable then and you focus more on falling and become desperate for it.

Clare: What makes you think I have problems?

Andi: People who travel alone are usually in search of something.

Andi presses that vein, the one that always hits the jackpot in a relationship. You might know it as “he/she understands me so well”. The ‘connection’ is established in those few seconds of exchange, and we can see Clare falling for the guy instantly. Her expressions by the way – perfect!

It’s Complicated

While the following line might seem as a petty gaffe, there is something deep in it if you really look at it.

I always come here to complicate life.

How often do you do that? Venture into an unruly place like love? When you are not in a relationship your life is simple, untangled. But when you choose to be in a relationship, you ‘complicate’ life. You layer your partner up with your expectations and you want him/her to become your idea of perfect love. Then there is that tinge of insecurity, of possessiveness, of guilt and then things begin to crumble. A relationship is a perfect paragon of how one, despite knowing what it could do to you, chooses to intentionally ‘complicate’ life.

But the line was, of course, intended as a deliberate pickup line to sound funny to tourists, we later discover.

Life Experiences

Our world carves out reflections. Whatever someone does and finds it life changing, inspires others to follow their lead. It might not necessarily bring the same effect on the pursuer. We all want different things in life, but we do want to get the taste of someone else’s elation. On being asked why was Clare traveling, she confesses:

You know, those life experiences…
That people talk about all the time?
I wanted to do that.

No matter what place you are in, everyone feels that way sometimes. Waiting for a chance to storm yourself out, to get out from your life.

Clare thinks of herself as one of those cliched stereotypes calling herself predictable, but Andi considers that to be really brave. For a local person who has his life sieved in his own surroundings, it seems like a bizarre idea to leave everything behind. Andi might have been wheedling her up then, but he was genuine in considering it a brave move.

We end up in an awkward situation wherein the relationship doesn’t feel like going anywhere when Clare speaks about going to Dresden. It upsets the easily upset Andi. She goes to her room but that taste of longing in the mind of Clare stays, as she finds a photograph of Andi on the streets. She then bumps into him in a library and finds Andi staring into a book of art.

That one’s my favorite. She’s holding her hands like that to hide her deformed finger.

The irony in the above statement is that Clare ends up being exactly that girl in the book. We are coming to that part.

Believing in You

This is one part of the relationship when you think of yourself as no big deal, but your partner begins to point out all those things that you secretly want to hear. He/she loves you for who you are, and it feels great when all your good stuff is brought out in the open for you to see.

You photograph disappointment. I mean, all this DDR shit, all these dreams…it is all invalid.

But then there are disagreements that you choose to overlook and often change the topic to avoid getting into fights. So she does.

The next line that Andi delivers forms the basis of the entire movie Berlin Syndrome.

You can suffocate anywhere. You don’t need a wall.

We have these tangible physical characters that we can see and touch, and some of you might as well be thinking that the movie is all about the room that we can see. The walls that have surrounded Clare are the only thing that she needs to escape from. But that’s the whole point of Berlin Syndrome. Walls in the movie are abstract. Andi kidnapping Clare is nothing but a degrading relationship she can’t escape from.

still from Berlin Syndrome movie

As they are having a discussion, we find Andi asking Clare about a locket she is wearing. The first question that escapes his mouth is that of a jealous concern.

Did a boy give you that?

We are yet to find out the psychological state of Andi’s head. For starters, we know that he is an extremely conservative guy with that question. Or maybe that piece of jewelry bothered Andi’s idea of his perfect mate. The necklace was somehow belittling the natural beauty of Clare in his mind.

The First Phase of Love

Andi takes Clare at a secluded and empty place. He remarks that Berlin is full of such quiet places. They have sex that night, as Clare remarks in bed:

I don’t want this to end.

Andi’s lament gives away a sad sense of yearning he has for his first relationship.

All firsts end. First airplane ride. First time you get your ears pierced. First drags of cigarettes. First fuck.

You realize it is true. There is nothing like it. The firsts of everything. There is a sense of thrill, of excitement that goes missing the moment you repeat it. It doesn’t feel the same then. Andi misses her first love, and it is clear on his face. Her arrival brought back memories of his past of which she knows nothing about. She goes on in the background:

I wish we could stay like this, where we don’t know each other.

The Knowledge

The “getting to know” part is the best stage in the prospect of love. That’s the part where you are complete strangers, and everything the other does makes you fall more in love. It grows exponentially. You like petty mistakes, you love your partner for his/her petty sweet nothings. That’s what Clare, or any person really, is smitten with, and she wishes something abominable that is about to change her life forever:

I wish I could stay.

The next line states the one ugly truth of relationships.

What happens when you know someone?

It dictates the way of life. You begin to see the problems, the loopholes, the flaws, the mindlessness and that’s when you realize you made a big mistake. When you know someone, you see them with their problems. You begin having second thoughts. That’s a downward tumble for you right there.

The House Arrest

Leaving Clare without a key the other day, locking her in, Andi begins to show his true colors. In his class he is trying to teach his children a line from a James Baldwin novel called “Giovanni’s Room”.

Perhaps home is not a place, but simply an irrevocable condition.

That’s quite a poignant line right there, saying a million words in a one liner. A further hint at why the Berlin Syndrome movie is not at all what it apparently appears to be. When you get used to something you frame it as home.

Franka’s (Emma Bading‘s) take on the line puts things in perspective:

The character is constantly moving. He feels a little bit shame about himself but he says he is finding himself, but he’s just escaping.

When Andi returns Clare ignores his first mistake and once again has sex with him. The other day she realizes Andi has been deliberately locking her up. He has even removed her sim card, and is trying to stop her from leaving him. She can’t even find her necklace that was given to her by her mother. It is suggestive that Andi has taken everything that she loved or whatever felt like home away from her.

Possessiveness

Andi’s act is a blunt form of possessiveness where your partner is suffocating you by keeping you just for him/her. Andi has trust issues, and that conservative thinking once again flares up for you to see.

I didn’t think I would be able to get back in and then I realized that I couldn’t even leave.

You observe that he has taken Clare’s words too seriously.

You said you wanted to stay.

And then tortures her into taking photographs of her. It is an obsession he has no control over.

There is no reasoning with Andi. He’s a psychopath who can’t be reasoned with:

Clare: You could do so many things.

Andi: But I just want to do this.

Andi is like that quiet beast you know nothing of, and when you try to tame it, it unleashes its fury on you. Clare becomes a victim of house arrest as Andi keeps going to his school to teach. He is also visiting his father, the only good thing in his life that keeps him adrift towards sanity.

The First Fight

Next series of events deal with Clare trying to escape the house by driving a screwdriver through the hand of Andi. He ends up hurting her fingers, making an art of her too like that painting she was watching in a library few days ago. If we tack it up against the relationship theory, it is one of those moments of extreme bewilderment where Clare’s trying to shake Andi off, but the plan backfires and her act of revolt ends up hurting both of them in the process.

What would be the worst thing I could ever do to you? Don’t worry, I would never do it.

With that, it gets established that she can’t fight Andi. He is too strong for her. The question of her leaving is answered with something that forces pain to linger. So that goes out the window.

She once tries to tell him that she misses her mom to which Andi replies:

There’s no point in missing something you can’t have back.

The Acceptance

Now comes the time when you realize when you can’t escape from a relationship, it is time to embrace it. When life gives you lemons you make lemonade, right? So Clare accepts her fate letting Andi has his way with her. He is queer is all, she thinks and comes to terms with.

Teresa Palmer in Berlin Syndrome

But she isn’t happy. She shows her discomfiture and displeasure in the only way she thinks possible by doing the opposite of whatever he wants of her.

Can’t you just be normal?

Sound familiar?

The Pity

We see a broken Andi in Berlin Syndrome, who has lost his father, being accepted by Clare completely.

I thought you weren’t gonna come back.

Andi was gone so long that Clare ran out of resources. She needed him for survival but watching his vulnerability kick in, she pities him. Clare then decides to open up, to tell him about her day, just like one does in a relationship.

Clare: How did you choose me?

Andi: You paused on the street.

The Annoyance

Just when they were talking about the day he had met her, she asks him about his first love to which Andi replies:

There was no other girl.

Like a nagging person in a relationship who wishes to know about your past indulgence, she is asking him questions about his first girl.

Do you still think about her?

Andi never speaks of it though he begins to see the pattern in relationships. Clare is full of it, and we can see the annoyance kick in as she talks and rants about things. For Clare, she wishes to have someone to talk to and after accepting her life as is, Andi is the only person she could talk to. But when you spend too much of time with someone that’s when you begin to see the flaws, and so Andi begins to falter.

The Distraction

We see Andi getting smitten by another tourist but he soon wipes away the thought. That goes on to show how you get bored of a thing when you have it for too long. That’s exactly how relationships work.

Andi’s narrow-mindedness is shown aplenty when we see him getting offended by a mere touch of his coworker. He derides her considering her throwing herself at men all the time. He is a one woman guy and the extent to which he is willing to go is really disappointing to watch.

Andi is at the same time concerned about their relationship too. He thinks that he is making Clare happy, but clearly, she isn’t.

How do you think this is going, from one to ten?

She replies:

Seven.

For Andi, her happiness is of paramount importance too. He can’t let her go, but he is willing to loosen up a little.

He offers her his dead father’s dog Lotte like your lover making you happy occasionally with gifts and stuff. You know, to keep the romance alive.

The Escape

Clare’s acceptance, however, doesn’t mean that she wouldn’t escape if she found a window of opportunity. We see another man venturing into the place while trying to get some cleaning done. Andi kills him. It is metaphorical for your partner closing all your doors for any chance with others.

It’s your fucking fault, okay. Now we have to clean this mess together.

However, there does arise a real window of opportunity in Berlin Syndrome after all, when Clare hides a captive image of herself in Franka’s file. In a theatrical series of events, we see Franka running to Andi’s abode and then hiding there as Andi immediately follows.

Eventually, Clare locks Andi in his own house in a breathtaking climax as she forces Andi’s very own medicine down his throat. She lets him choke on his own theory leaving him for good as we see a tired Andi sitting in his comfort chair wondering about his choices. (or the breakup)

Finally, the curtain falls to freedom.

You can order the Berlin Syndrome movie from here:

The Final Verdict of Berlin Syndrome

Berlin Syndrome is a movie that might appear as a simple tale of house arrest and abduction but it is something more. It is on human relationships and the way it swallows a person whole. Its characters are exemplary paragons of humans who find themselves either in the driving seat or the receiving end.

Andi is like a driving force in a relationship while Clare is the one who is constantly abused. Even though there is a psychotic angle flung here, you can’t rule out its palpability. There are still conservative extremists extant in today’s society that would literally do anything to keep you close.

Berlin Syndrome is a wonderful poetic flick with an amazing screenplay to be understood by its real allegorical import.

Check out the trailer of Berlin Syndrome movie here:

Nocturnal Animals Review (2016) | Full Analysis and Ending Explained

Speechless! Nocturnal Animals would render you dumbstruck. It is an outstanding avant-garde flick that is more art than cinema. Yes, there is art laid out in the form of poetry and if you pay attention you would appreciate the stories they tell. The movie ends in a way so as to leave you speculating. It’s beautifully done and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Seems like a very straightforward tale but really, there is something deep going on there.

So what is it? Without wasting any more time let’s begin, shall we?

Nocturnal Animals Plot Analysis (Spoilers Ahead)

The movie starts with a quite unusual scene which you don’t normally find many directors attempting these days. There are fat naked ladies celebrating. Their flab’s dancing all around their body along with them. They seemed to have shed our very idea of shame in things we consider shameful, and they are simply enjoying it. They are happy with their body even though it’s a contrasting image of what our society has imagined for us. Their idea of happy is breaking all the rules that we have learned to live with. Some of them are leering at you. Again something we consider impolite.

Explaining The Opening Scene

Then we see an image of a bustling highway in Nocturnal Animals, implying the urban life, trying to connect the dots about how we choose to embrace that idea as time flies. Life goes on, nay, it trundles down different lanes choosing one path or the other. One of the roads shows a suburban lane where the traffic movement is really slow. It insinuates that at one point our life too will become stodgy like that slow moving traffic, and then (cars have now stopped) eventually stop.

Immediately after we see those naked overweight ladies playing dead. It symbolizes that’s how we go. Naked to the core. One of the lady’s wand is no longer in her hands, and she’s turned away from it. It symbolizes that the thing that gave her joy in her life has left her now that she is dead. It’s no longer with her. That’s how life is. You don’t get to take the good things with you when you die. And when you die all the good things that surround you leave you to depart alone.

The second lady is seen lying face down on one of the pedestals. It means she can’t even see into our world, or does she even want to? Or is it the shame that has her looking downwards. It’s the variety of life we are. Some go proudly into the soil, some choose to bury their secrets along with them. But none of those people get to take what they love. Their reason for happiness stays above the soil. Even the clothes stay. You go down naked leaving every material thing in this world behind.

still from Nocturnal Animals of Amy Adams junk culture

Susan Morrow

Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is a crucial character in Nocturnal Animals. She is the exact opposite of the art she has launched and overseeing. She is the paragon of beauty, wears modish clothes and poses a contrasting image to those fat ladies. We hear an off-screen noise of her taking deep breaths as she connects with the reality of “you die naked, you should live naked”. She is living a lavish life, our idea of gaudy livelihood and yet there is a certain sadness in her eyes. She is slowly coming back to her senses, to her world, as she begins to breathe normally, and just then we are shown a moving traffic once again.

Her life hasn’t become a slow moving traffic yet. She is still young.

Susan drives to her home. Her gates are so garish and shiny that her car lights reflect off it causing her discomfort. We are so madly running after lurid things in our life that we choose to live with all the discomfiture it tags along. That one scene speaks a thousand words if you really think about it. Just as she drives in, the door automatically closes. Immediately, after someone arrives to a closed door in a different car. Whoever it was we could learn about the distance Susan has grown with him, as if her life had closed a door on him.

We are then depicted an ostentatious living, a neighborhood that is just buildings and trees that are lined up against the roads in a symmetrical fashion. A tacky display – they have lost their meaning in life.

Life of Susan

Susan and her hubby have recently moved in and she has received a package from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has finished a novel and wishes Susan to read it first. He has also given his number and email id for her to contact him. Her hubby Hutton Morrow (Armie Hammer) pretends to not remember Edward as she fills him on about his novel. When Hutton says if she has even talked to Edward in like 20 years, she corrects him saying 19. You could sense that Edward was one of the most important parts of her life, and that she missed him profusely.

Then we feel the strained relationship of the Morrows as they talk about how Hutton misses out on everything and that he has to once again head out to New York.

One of the most interesting conversations happen when Susan sadly reflects:

Susan: You know the strange thing is is, I don’t really care about all this art.
Hutton: I care. It pisses me off.

Susan realizes how Hutton simply wishes to show off and that’s why he cares about it, and not that he tries to even understand it. He is too shallow to fathom.

Strained Relationship

In a tete-a-tete with a friend, she confides that the relationship is indeed strained.

I think we just want different things, or I want different things.

On being asked if she still loves him, the topic gets changed. Carlos (Michael Sheen) delivers one of the most insightful thoughts on Susan when they are having dinner. Carlos lets her know that her work about junk culture was incredible. She truly believes our culture to be complete junk.

Carlos: Nobody really likes what they do.
Susan: Then why do we do it.
Carlos: Because we are driven. Maybe a bit insecure. We get into things when we are young and because we think they mean something.
Susan: And then we find out that they don’t.

Carlos advises her to accept the absurdity of the world, and that they are in a much better state than the real world, and that they should be grateful for that.

Reading the Book Nocturnal Animals

We are shown her being on her meds, as she has been having trouble sleeping lately. Her hand lingers, her thoughts pucker up when she finds “For Susan” written on the second page of Nocturnal Animals. She feels happy that Edward has written something for her, and dedicated an entire book to her.

That’s when the book’s story begins. It’s a wonderful way of depicting a parallel tale whenever Susan digs her head to read.

The story places the author in the shoes of Tony Hastings. Isla Fisher plays his wife Laura Hastings. Ellie Bamber is their daughter and all three of them are making a trip to Marfa. The way to Marfa is deserted. It goes dark quickly.

No phones. No people.

As they are driving through the night, a bunch of hooligans intersect them and ask them to pull over. It is a shocking run of events and even if you were there driving that car instead of Tony, you would have no other option but to stop.

Meanwhile, we see Susan in a trauma trying to go in complete sync with the happenings of the book. She is empathizing with the characters and feeling every bit of trepidation that the family felt.

The Unfortunate Event

Tony is trying to make the most of the situation. Trying his level best to get out of it. He is a decent guy and you could tell by the way he talks with hooligan no. 1 Ray Marcus (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) that he is simply trying to protect his family. But things go south soon with Ray and his other two friends forcing themselves into his car and driving away with Laura and India. It is so heartbreaking to see, having no control over the situation, and being completely incapacitated to help his family.

You could feel your heart shattering into pieces with that look Tony gives as all the noise numbs out, as if that’s the last of their voices he is going to hear of them again.

Susan can’t read further because it has drained her out, as it manages to drain any viewer out. You can’t feel sorry enough. It is one of those moments of a good book that forces you to take a pit stop and think about what the author has written. There is just too much pain. It makes her think about her husband’s safety. She calls Hutton to confirm if he has reached safely. That’s also where she gets a strong inkling of him cheating on her.

She continues to read Nocturnal Animals book to find out what happens next.

You can order Nocturnal Animals movie from here:

Lou (Karl Glusman) the third offender sits with Tony as he drives to follow them. But Lou fools him into believing that they are at the end of the road. Then he dumps him there taking the car back. After a while, Lou returns with a pissed off Ray trying to find Tony. Tony hides behind some rocks unwilling to come out, out of fear. They drive away.

The Mental Trauma

The dawn breaks and Tony is seen walking his way to the road where he had last seen a house. He makes a call from there to the police and they suggest him to retire to a motel nearby.

There is a beautiful contrast that goes on as Tony gets into the bathtub. Susan outside the book too goes into one, feeling the exact pain Tony underwent unable to put a pin on his wife and kid, constantly wondering about their safety. And preparing himself for what might have happened to them. Insane unthinkable thoughts visit him and you know you are feeling the same as a mute viewer. He cries incessantly as the director chooses to subtly display it through water droplets trickling down on a mirror with him in its reflection.

still of Jake Gyllenhaal as Tony from Nocturnal Animals movie

Bobby Andes

In comes Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) in the Nocturnal Animals book. He comes to pick up Tony from the motel to help find his family at the location of the crime. They trace back his steps to a cattle station where he finds two naked bodies intertwined on a red burnt-out sofa. It is like a work of art only the most poignant ever because it reeks of death. As Andes helps him identify the bodies, Tony can only manage:

Is she alright?

There’s a locket on India’s face which we will see Tony carrying around for the later part of the book as a mark to remember them by.

Susan is taken aback when she finds his family’s plight like that. She is worried sick immediately about her own daughter Samantha (India Menuez). Her real name a coincidence? I don’t think so. Tom Ford chooses to put the same naked image of her intertwined with a shade of red aginst her boyfriend to get us thinking of how Susan is imaging her in that moment.

The Flashback with Edward

She begins to think of her time with Edward, about how they had met after a long time and decided to go on a date. They get to talking about her parents who were really old-fashioned in their ways and it pissed her off.

They have an antiquated idea of how I should live my life.

Edward, the sweet guy he is, tries to remember her mother for her. He recollects her being nice to him when his father had died even though Susan debunks that very idea. She doesn’t want to be compared with her mother.

You both have the same kind of sadness in your eyes.

He says all the right things, inspires her to follow her dream making falling in love with him really easy.

After a while we see a conversation being followed up between Susan and her mother. Susan is wanting to get married to Edward and move to Texas with him, but her mother is strongly against that idea.

The things you love about him now are the things you will hate in a few years.

She calls Edward fragile and weak pointing one low moment in his life when his father had died. The contrast there, of how Edward looked highly of her mother because she was there when he needed someone the most, and the way Susan’s mother writing him off for being a crybaby is just too much for Susan to handle.

Even though she doesn’t want to be compared to her mother this is one powerful line she drops on Susan:

We all eventually turn into our mothers.

Identifying Lou

Going to the book again, Tony is having a hard time remembering the culprit’s face, but in one of his nightmares he makes him out. As time passes by, Andes manages to rope one in during an attempted hold-up at a supermarket. One of the felon is shot so we are left with two now.

Lou, the guy who had driven along with Tony to a secluded spot is identified at once, as Andes promises to bag the main culprit Ray.

Susan is empathizing immensely thinking about Edward all the time, of what he might have been contemplating, about all the pain he was forced to silently experience.

Susan: Why are you so driven to write.
Edward: I guess it’s a way of keeping things alive. You know, saving things that will eventually die. And if I write it down then it will last forever.

She confides to a co-worker about Edward saying how brutally she had ended her relationship with him. She tells her about his book as well that’s outright painful and violent. It is getting its toll on her.

You know me, I never sleep.

She questions her life’s decisions. Wondering about the thrill she sought leaving behind a crucial morsel that could have reshaped her life.

Do you ever feel like your life has turned into something you never intended?

The Office Art Work

Nocturnal Animals can’t be commended enough for its art. There is an art of a naked woman’s ass hung up at Susan’s office. Another smirk at shunning off the junk culture. She wishes to be that bold, fearless idea, wearing what others consider impolite like a framed art on the wall.

There’s an art of a deer lanced profusely with arrows too. It is a poignant sight because clearl, only one or two arrows might have done the job. But people kicking a dead dog is simply pathetic. It resonates beautifully with Edward. She considers Edward to be the guy she had kicked when he was down. I will come to that part of how.

still of Revenge art in nocturnal animals movie

Then she walks across an Art piece that says “REVENGE” in a symmetrical manner. All Es are placed in the center, as if saying every revenge has one thing in common – that modicum of satisfaction. It is portrayed in the form of E’s symmetry and the painting seems to bleed its colors. That’s the form in which every revenge ends. She stares at it blankly looking at the Es as if E meant Edward. How he badly wishes to avenge his family. And since she has been reading about that in the book, she could feel how badly Edward’s character Tony needs it.

A co-worker walks in with her phone telling her how she could babysit her own child using an app. On checking out the baby in the phone Susan accidentally drops it when she sees an image of Ray’s character she has unknowingly imagined from the book. It is clearly an accident depicting how the events of the book have taken a toll on her. But it also symbolizes how she was reckless with her own baby too, putting perspective in the word REVENGE.

About Change

She imagines Edward in pain still wearing their wedding ring. It is hard for her to brush that image off. She is thinking of what she did to him.

Susan is against letting a worker go, which she had earlier made up her mind to.

Sometimes maybe it’s not such a good idea to change things quite so much.

Even though it was a curt remark at one of the board members who she was trying to get at, it also means she accepts that it wasn’t right of her to leave Edward bringing in such a vast change in her life. Because it didn’t turn out as great as she had imagined.

There is another art of a man shooting another who seems happy to be shot at. There’s fire behind him that seems to be taking him anyway. And yet he is willingly letting the impending murder happen. It reflects so much with Edward who is willing to die because he feels dead all the time. He is a sad soul like every sad person out there who believes everything is lost. He is allowing life to take a shot at him and to pull that trigger. Also, he is burning from inside wishing a quick death.

Pinning Ray Marcus

Back in the story again, Andes locates Ray Marcus accompanying Tony who identifies him as the main culprit. They take him down to the trailer where he had raped and killed Tony’s wife and daughter. Tony loses it trying to get something out of him and hits him in the head.

I wanna know the exact story, what you did to them. I wanna know what they said. I wanna know what my wife said and I wanna know what my daughter said. I wanna know how you killed them. And I wanna know if they knew it was happening to them. I wanna know what they felt. I wanna know if they hurt. Answer me.

The Flashback of Downfall

Susan thinks of her time with Edward when things began to coil up in the corner. It was the moment they started having disagreements, and things kind of escalated. On being shown one of his works, Susan gives it a critical eye to which Edward says:

Nobody writes about anything but themselves.

And the dissent becomes huge. She fails to understand Edward’s creativity, at the same time wondering where is it going to lead him.

Do you know what it feels like to put yourself out on the line creatively and then have someone you love tell you that they don’t understand it?

That’s when Hutton swoops in. It was her desperate time and she ended up falling for him.

Edward and Susan’s final fight is when things begin to crumble. She walks away from him turning him down as Edward tries to put back some sense in her.

When you love someone you work it out. You don’t just throw it away. You have to be careful with it. You might never get it again.

Ray Walks Free

We get to see how good Andes is in the movie Nocturnal Animals, when he breaks it to Tony that he has cancer. He has been so much invested in bringing justice to Tony and his poor family that he has completely forgotten all about himself.

Do you have anyone in your life?

Andes takes a good time to think about the aforementioned question as he tries to remember that he doesn’t have anyone except an estranged daughter.

When they come to figure out about Ray’s clean walk, they are both desperate to provide some lynching justice of their own. Andes has got nothing to lose and they agree on pinning Ray for good.

They tag him to a pub from where they take both Ray and Lou to a secluded place at Andes’ camp. Things escalate as Ray manages to escape free as a bird while Lou gets shot.

The Abortion

At the exact moment, a bird crashes into the windowpane of Susan’s house. It is poetry for how a person thinks that there is a way ahead right through but ends up overseeing the adversity that knocks him out. Then it could also be a remark about the thing that happens next in her recollections where she had chosen to abort Edward’s child. The bird, here a probable daughter, thought she was going to see the world but Susan smacks her down. She is aborted even before she could fly.

still of Jake Gyllenhaal as Edward in Nocturnal Animals

She says those words out loud that forms the entire basis of the story of Nocturnal Animals.

I am gonna live to regret this. I regret it now.

Immediately after we see Edward staring at her drenched with knowledge about the abortion. That’s her regret that she has to live with, because it has pushed Edward into darkness. She is unable to find him for 19 long years, because he wouldn’t pick the phone or talk to her. Because she did something so despicable that ended up upending his life.

The Final Showstopper of Nocturnal Animals

Back in the book story, again after shooting Lou Tony breaks down remembering how helpless he had been. How helpless he had felt.

I should have stopped it. I should have protected them. I should have seen it coming. I should have stopped it.

As suggested by Edward once “Nobody writes about anything but themselves” you can understand that the helplessness was exactly how he felt when he let that abortion take place. He could have stopped it by abating disagreements, or walking in just in the nick of time, changing her mind to stop Susan from doing what she did. And all that frustration goes into the writing where he ended up being weak where it mattered the most. And he laments it profusely giving one of his best performances. Jake’s an amazing actor really!

Trying to find Ray they both split as Tony ends up barging into the exact place where Ray was. It was where he had murdered his family. A perfect setup to draw that vengeance sword in him.

still of Aaron Taylor Johnson as Ray Marcus in Nocturnal Animals

Ray tries to get through him pressing the nerve where it hurt him the most.

You are too weak. You are too weak to do anything about it.

That’s when he shoots Ray twice before being hit by a crowbar Ray was hiding.

That Weak Epithet

If you think about it that’s the exact thing that had ended their relationship. Susan had blamed Edward for being too weak. It was the high point of the Nocturnal Animals book since that’s how Edward used to feel about when someone called him weak. Because he was strong, and that’s why he decided to bring down the justice sword on him showing him what he was really made of.

The dawn breaks and Tony walks out one-eyed stumbling across the dead body of Ray. There is no one around and he shoots once in the sky to get attention, but the recoil is too hard on him and he falls down. Trying to crawl he ends up shooting himself. It is an accident as he slowly fades away holding on to his locket pointing out that justice to his family was finally delivered. While dying there is a slight content smile on his face as he accepts death without any regrets.

Back to the real world, now since the book story is now over, Susan is feeling her locket too. That locket looks the same as Tony was seen wearing. I guess it must have been Edward’s gift at some point to Susan to signify family or love.

The Ending of Nocturnal Animals Explained

She gets a message from Edward asking her to let him know the exact time and place and that he would be there. She then tries to remember all the warm moments she had spent with him. Susan wants that again. She is still not over him and she is hopeful for their meeting. Things are going pretty bad for her in the relationship department, and Edward was always that spark missing from her life.

Susan slithers into her best dress, removing her lipstick remembering Edward to be the one who adored her for who she was and not for the girl she pretended to be. Just like the art we saw about the obese dancing ladies, she wishes to be real and unbothered by that junk culture telling its stories on her lips.

She chooses to put away that ring, and spends hours looking in the mirror primping and preening herself so that Edward would like her even more and fall in love with her again. There’s that idea of a happily ever after in her mind that she is really looking forward to.

At the Restaurant

She reaches the promised spot in a fancy restaurant sits at her table, and keeps looking at the door waiting for Edward. She feels the absence of that ring on her finger and wonders about it. There are loud footsteps as if someone is approaching but it isn’t Edward.

That’s another turning point of Nocturnal Animals. Edward doesn’t show up.

She realizes in the end that she has been stood up. That it was Edward’s intention all along. Taking away that last straw of hope from her to see her suffer. He was never coming back. He just bound her in hopes with the book and everything layering up lies to get his REVENGE! She had aborted their child, an unforgivable crime in the eyes of Edward and he wanted to get back at her. It is a sweet revenge of building up immense hope for a future together and then crashing it with a snap of the finger. It is a fitting vengeance if you look at it. Edward shows that he is not weak by taking such a bold step. And the curtain falls.

The Final Verdict

The director of Nocturnal Animals, Tony Ford does a fabulous job, turning a violent tale of vengeance into something more. It isn’t just the book that is the intended story, but the actual life of Susan that ends up becoming one. The way it ends leaves you with thousands of questions. You can’t stop thinking about the end of both the stories. Both the stories end up showing that Edward and Tony are not weak. They get their revenge one way or the other.

I can’t stop thinking about Nocturnal Animals either. Watching it made me profoundly sad. Rewatching it just tells me how intelligently it has been crafted. Yes, it makes me sad again. There are tons of moments in it that tears you apart from the inside. It is beautifully helmed.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams take Nocturnal Animals to a whole new level. It is hard not to feel or cry when they do. You can’t oversee Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s extraordinary performance as Ray Marcus as well. He is such an amazing actor. He becomes a wicked character so bad that it’s hard to recognize him through that mask of accent he puts on.

Tom Ford gets into your head like a director who is really serious about movies. His way of looking at art and choosing to bind the flick through it is absolutely ravishing. By far one of the greatest directors I have had the good hap of encountering.

Nocturnal Animals is a worth watch. It is timeless so if you haven’t watched it already please do. Nocturnal Animals deserves all the love.

Check out my other Analyses of movies.

Check out the trailer of Nocturnal Animals movie:

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review (2017) | Analysis with Spoilers

The Sense of an Ending Movie is based on the popular eponymous novel that tells a story of a man with a forgotten past. It is a case of repressed memory with the protagonist trying to sift through old leaflets that gradually tell us more about his darkest secrets. Everything plays through the perspective of the protagonist and it becomes a sojourn of discovering things the way he discovers them himself.

The Julian Barnes novel of the same name is a work of genius. You can tell that once you are finished with the movie, and when you connect all the dots. To play things through the perspective of Tony Webster, the protagonist played by Jim Broadbent, and to unfurl locked memories one by one until the final climax spills the beans gives you a rare sense of satisfaction. Barnes has brilliantly built the setup to reveal things just when they are supposed to be revealed, and left an ending for you to speculate. It forces you to think and that’s why it is so impactful.

Direction of The Sense of an Ending Movie

To complement his work we have Ritesh Batra, the director of the beautiful flick The Lunchbox, who chooses to juxtapose images from the past into the present. He places frames intertwined with each other to help things emerge in the form of what Tony remembers. He does it sometimes via a conversation with the protagonist’s ex-wife Margaret Webster (Harriet Walter) or sometimes just trying to remember things from the past. Then he chooses to relive the memories by actually revisiting it in the form of old Tony by manually letting his old version visit the exact scenes. It is so beautifully and subtly done that you cannot praise him enough.

I think the ending takes away the realization part a little bit, owing to his direction. He might have wished to leave an open thread for his viewers to find out, but in an attempt to close the circle, he goes for an amicable ending instead. Even though it is strangely satisfying to watch owing to the upbeat music he chooses, the cardinal issue at hand steers away. It was supposed to bring us towards an epiphany but instead, it ends up becoming oblivious to the elephant in the room.

I intend to discuss that in detail in the following analysis part.

Analysis of The Sense of an Ending Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

I am assuming you have already watched the movie and then proceeding because it’s going to burst the bubble for you. If not then stop right here, and watch The Sense of an Ending Movie first.

When The Sense of an Ending movie begins, the primal theme is set up with the words of Tony as he says:

In those days we imagined ourselves as being in a holding pen, waiting to be released into our lives. And when that moment would come, we would be at university. How were we to know that our lives had already begun, and our release would only be into a larger holding pen? And in time, a larger holding pen.

It tells us how little he remembers of his school. He wasn’t fond of it and just thought about it as a ladder to release him into his life. Also, the fact that he felt as if life was right around the corner, and that whatever he did during school or university, or whatever mistakes he committed wouldn’t matter as much in the long run. That’s one of the reasons why he remembers so little.

The Letter in The Sense of an Ending Movie

We see a grown up Tony receiving a letter from a certain Sarah Ford (Emily Mortimer) who had recently passed away and wished Tony to have an attachment (which we later discover to be Adrian’s diary) and some money. The letter read something like this:

Dear Tony,

I think it right that you should have the attached. Adrian always spoke warmly of you, and perhaps you’ll find it an interesting, if painful, memento of long ago. I am also leaving you some money. You may find this a bit strange, and, to tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure what my own motives are, but I wish you well, even from beyond the grave.

Yours,
Sarah Ford

P.S., it may sound a little odd, but I think the last months of his life were happy.

I think a lot of things get instantly clear through this letter. But we fail to pay attention because we weren’t introduced properly to all the characters in the movie.

Emily Mortimer as Sarah in The Sense of an Ending movie

He remembers Sarah to be his love interest Veronica’s mother, whom he had visited once during an awkward weekend spent at their house. We aren’t even shown what went on during his short stay. Hints were dropped although it is hard to make out anything with it.

Wading through the Past

He sets up a meeting with his ex-wife to discuss his past deeds, and to figure what the letter could mean. On being asked who was it he slept with – Veronica or Sarah, Tony asserts that he didn’t sleep with any of them. At least that’s what he remembers.

As part of a flashback, in their first meeting, Veronica points out why Tony wears his watch inside of his wrist, and he replies he didn’t know it was that way. At a later stage, we find even his friends wearing the watch in the same manner. We come to discover it was their way of revolting against notions of time. That is one of those allusions for Tony’s silent revolt against time. He is oblivious, candid, and nothing is too important for him.

During his stay at Veronica’s, we find Tony to be instantly obsessed with Sarah. There is so much sexual frustration in him, for Veronica not letting him have sex, and this voluptuous Goddess in the form of Sarah materializing like that, you have to understand Tony’s state of mind.

I hope you sleep the sleep of the wicked.

When he wakes up Sarah is all by herself, and you can tell something is going to happen between them, and that something did happen by the way Sarah bids him goodbye with a horizontal hidden gesture when he left their house.

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Adrian Finn in The Sense of an Ending Movie

In comes story’s second most crucial man, Adrian Finn played by Joe Alwyn. The guy is an insightful philosophist, you can tell with his answers.

All one can ever truly say of any particular period of history is that something happened.

He becomes quite a good friend of Tony within no time. He quotes Patrick Lagrange at one point forming the basis of the entire movie.

History is the certainty produced at the point when the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.

He follows it up with:

It’s the lies of Victors, as long as you understand that it is also the delusions of the defeated.

As they move on in their lives, Adrian is the only good thing Tony wishes to stay close with. Unfortunately, Adrian swoops in to steal his girl, Veronica. Adrian writes to Tony about how close they had become, and if possible forgive them for their misdemeanor. Tony was amused beyond limit with that very idea of him dating Veronica, the girl with whom he saw nowhere. So he prepares a letter for him mentioning it was perfectly fine with him.

Soon after, Adrian kills himself. Somewhere in the back of the mind Tony is convinced that Victoria must have been pregnant with Adrian’s child, as there was one case similar. Unable to live with that blotch on his mind, he chose to take his life instead.

Veronica Revisited

In the present world, somehow managing to contact Veronica’s brother Jack so as to arrange a meeting with Veronica, Tony finally gets to meet her. Veronica tells him that she has burnt the diary, and offers him a letter that Tony had written to Adrian and Veronica when they were seeing each other.

That’s when Tony realizes that he hadn’t posted an ‘approval’ letter wishing them well, rather written a hurtful horrible letter cursing them both.

Dear Adrian and Veronica.

Hello, bitch, and welcome to this letter. A letter to you both to wish you much joy. You certainly deserve one another. Indeed, I hope you get so involved that the mutual damage will be permanent. Part of me hope you’ll have a child because I’m a great believer in time’s revenge. Yay unto the next generation, and all that. But in fairness, it would perhaps be somewhat unjust to inflict such ill will on the fruit of your poisonous loins.

Adrian, if she hasn’t let you go all the way yet, I suggest you break up with her. And no doubt she’ll be round your place as quick as a flash with sodden knickers and a three-pack, eager to give it away. Certainly, it worked for yours truly. Veronica is undoubtedly someone who will manipulate you.  Even her own mother warned me against her. In fact, if I were you, I’d check things out with mum.

Feeling Sorry

On re-reading that horrible letter years after, Tony feels really sorry for them. Somewhere inside his head he is convinced that it could have been his letter, and the embarrassment that might have ensued after, that could have caused Adrian to take such desperate steps.

He stalks Veronica till he finds her whereabouts. He discovers the name of the man she was seen holding hands with to be Adrian. Jumping to the conclusion that Adrian must be the son of Veronica and the deceased Adrian, he arranges a meeting with her once again to pay his regards.

The Huge Revelation

The meeting doesn’t go well as Veronica storms out to a truly apologetic Tony. He hasn’t still got the gist of it and considers young Adrian to be Veronica’s son. Veronica doesn’t want to talk about since it is an abhorrent case worth extinguishing.

However, it is later revealed by the caretaker of Adrian, when he revisits the pub that young Adrian was, in fact, Sarah’s son, that Victoria is actually young Adrian’s sister. It is a setback for Tony, yes. He had been living a lie all this time.

Tony heads back to meet his daughter at the hospital where he confides in her about everything that had happened.

She formed a relationship with my best friend. And I wrote them both a very nasty letter. And recently I’ve been working under the assumption that they’d had a child together shortly before my best friend committed suicide. But now it appears that the mother of that child wasn’t my ex-girlfriend, but it was her mother. And I can only assume that it was my horrible letter that in some way pushed the friend…

We can see Tony still being oblivious to the fact that something had happened between him and Sarah as well.

As his last statement insinuates, he assumes his letter to be the reason for the whole “Adrian – Sarah” setup. He thinks of it as a spark that might have evicted Veronica out of the equation, led Adrian to come closer to Sarah. It is very likely that they developed feelings for each other, and ended up having sex.

The Final Unanswered Question

However, all of it doesn’t answer one question:

Who is the father of young Adrian?

From the perspective of Tony, it is obvious that it is none other than Adrian who had fathered the child. But if you stop judging things from Tony’s perspective, (which you should by now because of his flaky memory), it is quite obvious even Tony could have been the father of the child.

Why, you ask?

With Sarah’s letter to Tony when she chooses to include him in his will, wishing to share Adrian’s diary with him, it is quite apparent that she has been fond of Tony as well. There could have been something in Adrian’s diary which Adrian wanted Tony to see, and understand. But Veronica intervenes having read it, destroying it completely since she didn’t want any piece of Tony lingering to dig out this farrago all over again. What was she hiding?

The child could very well belong to Tony since that horizontal secretive gesture from his memory is still left untended. Even Tony had sex with Sarah, and we know that for sure because of that gesture. That memory being a sordid one for Tony, was repressed unknowingly in his brain like all of those memories he had forgotten about. To stop Tony, an unreliable fellow from being a part of a semi-truth, and from further smudging her dead mother’s name all over again, Veronica does what is right.

Unfortunately, Tony remains as convinced as he was about everything in his life even after he feels that he has discovered the ultimate truth. But that’s once again his perspective of looking at things. Veronica chooses to let him think he found his closure and that’s what we the audience get at too.

Final Words from The Sense of an Ending Movie

I’ve been turning over in my mind the question of nostalgia, and whether I suffer from it. I suppose I am nostalgic. I think of my time with Margaret and Susie’s birth and her first years. A bunch of kids in school. A girl dancing for once in her life. A secret horizontal gesture beneath a sunlit Wisteria. I think of Adrian’s definition of history.

I think of everything that has happened in my life, and how little I have allowed to happen. I, who neither won nor lost. Who avoided being hurt and called it a capacity for survival. I think of how our lives got entwined and went along together for a time. And when I look back, now, on that time, however brief, I am moved more than I thought possible. Indeed, I’m sorry that I have known nothing of your life in the years since. No doubt you could have taught this old fool a thing or two. Perhaps, in a way, you have.

Even so Tony has learnt something from all this. He begins to focus in the present more, starts to live with a clear perspective, paying more attention to things around him so that he doesn’t miss out on life once again. It is a nice way to end the story, as we see Tony getting back on the saddle yet again, asking for forgiveness for not being there, and then carrying on living without regrets.

Changed Tony

Tony chooses to remember what he chooses to remember. It has always been like that. Even after the truth is revealed to him, the memories of Sarah have been constrained in his head. He has literally no remembrance of spending time with her, and he clearly spits it out during his last apologetic words of consolation – “how little I have allowed to happen.” or “avoided being hurt”. It is pretty self-explanatory of Tony, of how he chooses to live.

the sense of an ending Jim Broadbent and Harriet Walter

Tony is really sorry for how in his madding sense of wrath he chose to overlook what Veronica had to go through after Adrian’s demise. Swallowed by his smug egotistic mien, he never even bothered to turn around to look at lives of the people he really loved and cared about. This realization is somehow enough and overwhelming for Tony to carry on his life unapologetically. That’s what we see him do when he tries to make amends with his ex-wife, and pay more heed to his daughter and grandkid.

The Final Verdict

The Sense of an Ending Movie ends without letting us in on the conclusion of Adrian’s diary that Sarah intended Tony to find. It is clearly left to viewer’s imagination as to what might have been in the diary. It is unfortunate that the director doesn’t even try to help us look in that direction. For some, The Sense of an Ending movie might not have been so huge owing to that very fact.

But if you are in a habit of reading through the lines, you might find it very interesting that the movie ended leaving things for speculation. The way it has been wrapped alongside two different eras is simply gorgeous. It is the sense of an ending that you might think is an ending after all, but when you try to witness the genius in the threads left open you see more, and the ending doesn’t seem like an ending at all.

The Sense of an Ending movie is embellished by some powerful acting by Jim Broadbent who literally stays the heart and soul of the movie throughout. It is fun to watch even if you choose to pick Tony’s vantage of understanding the tale. For those who think that’s that to it, and there’s nothing more, even you peeps will be satisfied.

Liked the analysis? You could find better ones here.

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Paterson Movie Review (2016) | A Shout-out for all the Poets | Full Analysis with Spoilers

It is hard to put a movie in words when there is much to say and you know no matter what you say, it would never be enough. Paterson movie is for every poet out there, who is constantly humming to the hidden metres of life. It is for all the dreamers who caper on words, who like to keep their thoughts close to their hearts, and who are forever eluded by life’s countless mysteries. It is for those who look for walking metaphors, of allusions in the mundane, who seek ‘meaning’ in the void. If you love to read between the lines, you are going to absolutely love this movie.

While there could be many interpretations of Paterson, for some it could be vacuous, for some it could mean the world, or it could all mean nothing, I am just going to go ahead and say watching it is a beautiful experience per se. For a poet like me, it meant the world.  It is probably one of the finest movies I have seen in a while. It is so good, I couldn’t stop myself from finding metaphors in the images.

Here’s a full movie analysis of Paterson movie. The flick is a poem and poems are supposed to be read between the lines. Hope you will enjoy it.

Paterson Movie Full Analysis with Spoilers

Paterson movie is spread out gorgeously throughout a week. It starts with a Monday, with Paterson’s ‘silent magic watch’ waking him right on time for work. As he is in the process of leaving the bed, his partner Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) talks about a dream she had about having twins. We later realize that the Paterson movie is full of instances where twins show up. It is this ability of him as a poet to linger on things and thoughts that transfigure into real life objects. It is an intellectual remark on how everything in our life is interrelated. Laura’s reference about twins and then twins showing everywhere might seem normal to others, but to a man like Paterson who notices things with his beady eyes, it is no less than a miracle.

You are a great poet. All your poems are still in that notebook.

It could also be a subtle wink at metres and rhymes that always somehow sound alike in a poem. And Paterson movie is no less than a poem. There are circles and patterns everywhere, in cheerios on curtains, on bus wheels, in the poem about molecules, and in our lives. The way things begin and then end in the same pattern. The way Monday begins with the movie and then the movie ends with a Monday. Every element in the movie like Paterson and Laura or even better Paterson and Marvin, like black and white stay juxtaposed to mean something, and yet we are all so attuned to it, that we overlook everything.

Bus Driver in Paterson

The bloke has a menial job. Compare it with yours. It’s the same one you go to day after day. You have been doing it for so long that no matter how awesome it might have been at one point, it has one day ceased to be. But you do it anyway to earn your daily bread. So Adam Driver is a bus driver in Paterson. Paterson in Paterson. That’s another congruity right there.

Paterson movie still Adam Driver

The bloke has a menial job. Compare it with yours. It’s the same one you go to day after day. You have been doing it for so long that no matter how awesome it might have been at one point, it has one day ceased to be. But you do it anyway to earn your daily bread. Paterson is a bus driver in Paterson. That’s one congruity right there. A poem already taking form.

There’s a photo frame of him on the table where we see him in Uniform. He has probably served in the Army once, an allusion that he has tried different things in life, and he chose the one that suited him the best. Being a bus driver isn’t bad for him since it gives him ample time to think. He aspires to be a poet after all. Since we find him observing a matchbox, and then carving a poem as he walks his way to the bus station.

Love Poem

We have plenty of matches in our house.
We keep them on hand, always.
Currently our favorite brand is Ohio Blue Tip,
though we used to prefer Diamond brand
That was before we discovered Ohio Blue Tip matches.
They are excellently packaged, sturdy
little boxes with dark and light blue and white labels
with words lettered in the shape of a megaphone,
as if to say even louder to the world,
“Here is the most beautiful match in the world,
its one-and-a-half-inch soft pine stem capped
by a grainy dark purple head, so sober and furious
and stubbornly ready to burst into flame,
lighting, perhaps, the cigarette of the woman you love,
for the first time, and it was never really the same
after that.
All this we will give you.”
That is what you gave me, I
become the cigarette and you the match, or I
the match and you the cigarette, blazing
with kisses that smoulder toward heaven.

He has a hidden knack for writing extraordinary poems that he steals time to pen. He sits down to write not just so he could finish things in a day, but he chooses to write whenever he feels like or whenever he gets time.

That’s how a work should be like, spread out and not meant to be finished in a day.

The Character of Donny

He has a supervisor named Donny (Rizwan Manji) who fails to get small talk. If you try to understand him a bit more, you will realize he is a guy who can only see his problems. We have cynics and pessimists in real life too, the people who will always see their glasses as half empty no matter how good their life must be.

Paterson is more of a realist. Since we have been witnessing his life on the big screen, we are aware of his insecurities and his dreams. But he remains neutral to everything in life. He is calm and composed, maintains a rare form of equanimity throughout the flick. His perspective of life isn’t all drums and glory, but a silent understanding of it, and coming to terms with every emotion. Besides he has his poems to burn bright.

In his daily routine of driving the bus around Paterson, he listens to stories, not being completely absentminded or blocked out by life’s countless delicacies around. Some are funny anecdotes, some are historic facts, some are conversations about life. It is these things that make Paterson’s work less punishing. It’s all the musings of the world in his backseat that channel in the form of conversations.

Marvin the Dog

He walks back home every day to find the mailbox tilted. It’s like that little inconvenience in your life that bothers you when you see it and you fix it every time, but it always manages to come back. At a later point in time, we are shown that it is none other than Marvin who tilts the mailbox to cause Paterson inconvenience.

The monstrous dog is a paragon of our extreme abhorrence. It’s like our fate that we are stuck with. We can’t do anything to shake it off, it constantly tags along. You could personify that ugliness into a person or a thing whom we forever overlooked in our hunt for contentment.

Paterson hates Marvin. It is that itchy part of her adorable partner Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) that he has to put up with. I am sure there are a lot of instances in your life that would fit the bill. But the hatred is mutual. It’s that jealousy to be the favourite that boils Marvin up. It is evident when we see literally every moment in the Paterson movie when Laura kisses Paterson, Marvin grumbles. Laura is obsessed with Marvin. She has him even painted on the wall.

To take the dog out every night is part of that blotch that Paterson has to lug. It is obvious that it appears Marvin has Paterson on the leash, as he tries to tug him towards places he wishes to go.

I am guessing this is your human ball and chain,

But Paterson is hard to beat when the Bar shows up. He orders Marvin to stay out every night while he disappears in for hours to have his beer and chat with Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley).

Doc the Bar Guy

Doc is one of those rare good friends Paterson has who maintains a wall of fame to tack the best the city has offered so far. It is like that elusive dream you are after that will put you right up with the elite.

There is this beautiful dialogue where the Doc is playing chess.

Doc: I am getting my ass kicked today.

Paterson: Who are you playing?

Doc: Myself.

If you really think about it, aren’t we all in a constant battle with ourselves? Chess is merely a personification of it, a nod to the mind games we are always dealing with every second of our life.

Giving Up on Life

We once again close in on a conversation in the backseat. Two men are having an amatory discussion about their love life. They talk about lost opportunities but are content with the way things have panned out for them. They are just tired people who have let go of things, left things to fate, and aren’t actually doing anything to get back on the saddle.

It is their perspective that they have learnt to be cool with, even though unknowingly they have become hideous for judging women; So we see through the contemptuous scorn of a girl who alights from the bus. The constant war to please the other sex, and then to please the same gender, will forever be on. It has been this way since ages. We have to act cool amongst our buddies, and then end up becoming a slave to lust.

Paterson watches his watch as time passes by. Images of his shadow, the city in movement, are all suggestive of it. That’s when he helms another poem.

Another One

When you’re a child
you learn
there are three dimensions:
height, width and depth.
Like a shoebox.
Then later you hear
there’s a fourth dimension:
time.
Hmm.
Then some say
there can be five, six, seven…
I knock off work,
have a beer
at the bar.
I look down at the glass
and feel glad.

Exploring Laura in Paterson Movie

Laura is like one of those motivators you see on TV, a success story listening to which makes you feel good, but you often end up ignoring out of lethargy or unsurety. She constantly urges him to do the right thing by making a copy of his poems, but Paterson simply nods to her.

Golshifteh Farahani as Laura in Paterson movie

She is that quintessential motivator who gives you plenty of strength, believes in you and makes you immensely happy. Laura is that epitome of life, brimming with buoyancy and the feeling of hope in your life.

I really think you should do something about those beautiful poems. They should belong to the world you know.

But she is also that success story whom you are watching grow. She is the one pursuing her dream, getting good at it, succeeding with everything she picks up, turning things into gold. It is evident with her paintings, with her dream to make it big with her delicious cupcakes. It is also apparent with her newly found interest of playing guitar, which by the way didn’t even take her a week to act upon and execute.

I love how you smell when you come home at night.

On the other hand, there is Paterson with his dream to become a renowned poet, but he is not even inching in that direction to prove his mettle. It does feel kind of black and white and forces you to marvel at the juxtaposition again.

Poem

I’m in the house.
It’s nice out: warm
sun on cold snow.
First day of spring
or last of winter.
My legs run up
the stairs and out
the door, my top
half here writing

Everett and Marie in Paterson movie

We find a dwindling breakup story in the form of Everett and Marie. The former is a hopeless lover who doesn’t understand the concept of letting go, while Marie is trying hard to break up with him, but it is beginning to get ugly. Paterson and Doc are nothing but silent observers to their unfortunate affair.

Paterson: Is there anything we can do?
Doc: Nah. I always say I’ll try to change things with ya, make ’em even worse.

The height of the torture rips open the roof when Everett comes with a gun in the bar threatening to shoot himself. Paterson tackles him to find that his smooth move goes to waste, since the gun he was holding was a toy gun.

Without love, what reason is there for anything.

It might seem like a hopeless side-story, but if you pay heed enough and try to think from both Marie’s and Everett’s perspective you can’t help feel sorry for both of them. You feel trapped in a web, and choose to be like Paterson, unfazed by what goes on around.

Paterson: Working on a poem for you.

Laura: A love poem?

Paterson: Yeah I guess, if it’s for you it’s a love poem.”

Method Man

On his way to the bar one day, Paterson eavesdrops on Method Man, an aspiring rapper, and artist. He pays his regards to him, appreciates the work he is doing. He is like all those people that we get, and appreciate because they are all dreamers like us. On asking if the Laundry Place was his lab, Method Man says:

Wherever it hits me is where it’s going to be.

There goes another conversation in the bus between students about Gaetano Bresci, the anarchist from Paterson. They end the historic ranting with a:

Male Student: Do you think there are any other anarchists still around in Paterson?
Female Student: You mean besides us? Not likely.

Glow

When I wake up earlier than you and you
are turned to face me, face
on the pillow and hair spread around,
I take a chance and stare at you,
amazed in love and afraid
that you might open your eyes and have
the daylights scared out of you.
But maybe with the daylights gone
you’d see how much my chest and head
implode for you, their voices trapped
inside like unborn children fearing
they will never see the light of day.
The opening in the wall now dimly glows
its rainy blue and gray. I tie my shoes
and go downstairs to put the coffee on.

Young Poet in Paterson movie

On his way from work one day he finds a little girl (Sterling Jerins) sitting all by herself. Paterson finds her to be a poet herself, and she too like him used to carry a secret notebook to house all her poems. She isn’t a fan of rhyming just like Paterson.

Young Poet: It doesn’t really rhyme though.
Paterson: That’s okay. I kinda like ’em better when they don’t.
Young Poet: Yeah, me too.

She recites one of her poems to him which is titled Water Falls, strangely suggestive of Paterson’s favorite place “Great Falls of the Passaic River“. It goes something like this:

Water Falls

Water falls from the bright air.
It falls like hair.
Falling across a young girl’s shoulders.
Water falls.
Making pools in the asphalt.
Dirty mirrors with clouds and buildings inside.
It falls on the roof of my house,
It falls on my mother, and on my hair.
Most people call it rain.

Later at home he tells Laura about the poem, and she reflects how the poem sounds just like him. Paterson once again reflects a twin of himself. People are similar to each other in many ways. It’s just that it takes poetic eyes to see them. Every tiny thing in this universe is interlinked like the Water Falls, the twins, the Secret Book (which was also the name of Petrarch’s early books), Laura (Petrarch’s love interest was also named Laura) and the circles.

People are torn between their interests so much that they supersede one’s desire atop their other half’s. Doc is scolded by his wife on stealing the cookie jar money for his Chess tournament, when clearly she was saving it to get her hair fixed.

To counter that ugliness is Paterson’s relationship with Laura. You can almost sense that contrast kicking in once again.

Paterson: She understands me very well.
Doc: You are a lucky man.

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The Bad Day

Everyone has a bad day. That bad day comes as Friday for Paterson when he fails to wake up on time.

Some days something inside just doesn’t wanna get up.

It is soon followed by his bus breaking down. There is a moment of distress and it makes him agitated for a while. He doesn’t have a cell phone and he is forced to borrow one from a little child. A little child has it, there’s that collocation all over again. While Paterson is averse to keeping a cell phone around, and is tingled on numerous occasions during the week about not having one,

Doc: You still don’t got a cell phone?
Paterson: I don’t want one. It would be a leash.

and he could be probably right in thinking one way, but what he fails to realize is that technology makes life easier.

Not everyone is right. The fact gets proven.

Paterson: The world worked fine before they even existed.
Laura: I know darling but sometimes they make things easier.

Everyone he tells about the bus keeps wondering if the bus could have exploded into a fireball. Because that’s the first thing that comes to their minds. It goes on to show how we are wired to think in a similar way. Blame it on all the movies we have grown up watching.

The Run

I go through
trillions of molecules
that move aside
to make way for me
while on both sides
trillions more
stay where they are.
The windshield wiper blade
starts to squeak.
The rain has stopped.
I stop.
On the corner
a boy
in a yellow raincoat
holding his mother’s hand.

Marvin’s Revenge in Paterson Movie

In the madness of Laura’s cupcake’s viral business, Paterson accidentally leaves his Secret Book on the sofa while he was writing the following poem for Laura.

Marvin dog in Paterson movie

Pumpkin

My little pumpkin,
I like to think about other girls sometimes,
but the truth is
if you ever left me
I’d tear my heart out
and never put it back.
There’ll never be anyone like you.
How embarrassing.

Marvin takes his revenge by completely destroying, nay, shredding the book to pieces. It’s karma that gets you, your hatred for something ending up taking something dear from you. Here the dog ripping the poetry book apart is one instance.

On returning Paterson and Laura find the destruction gawking at them. Paterson’s heart explodes and yet we see him not expressing much. Laura tries to say all the right words trying to set things right, but the damage has already been done.

They were just words. Written on water.

Paterson chooses to walk out and visit his favorite place. He is angry at himself for not making a copy of the book before when he looks at his desk at all the legendary books.

On his way, he meets Everett who seems in a much better shape. He has finally learnt to let go of things in a way inspiring him to do the same.

Everett: Sun still rises every morning and sets every evening. Always another day. Right?
Paterson: So far.

The aforementioned is one of those cliches we always find in life, but we choose not to pay attention when it matters the most.

The Japanese Poet

Paterson is lost in his thoughts and weighing things heavy when he realizes that it is alright after all. He has gone blank with the pain though, that’s when he meets a stranger (Masatoshi Nagase) at his favorite place. He is a Japanese Poet himself who inspires him to never lose hope engaging him in a terse yet powerful conversation.

A bus driver in Paterson. This is very poetic. This could be a poem by William Carlos Williams.

He gives examples of all the great poets out there of how they too were stuck doing odd jobs in their lives, and yet they turned out alright. On being asked if he liked poetry too, he replies:

I breathe poetry.

The Japanese poet, however wrote poetry in Japanese, and was averse to translation.

Poetry in translation is like taking a shower with raincoat on.

As he is about to leave, he gifts an empty notebook to Paterson adding:

Sometimes empty page presents more possiblities.

It is almost as if he made out a fellow poet the moment he engaged him in a conversation. More like a twin from another land. Understanding the situation and gifting him just the thing he needed – hope.

Hope is in the form of the Japanese guy who puts a notebook back in our hand, inspiring us, asking us to never stop even after failing at something terribly.

We find Paterson starting up his chores all over again, jotting a fresh poem altogether to serve as the last poem in the Paterson movie. It went something like this:

The Line

There’s an old song
my grandfather used to sing
that has the question,
“Or would you rather be a fish?”
In the same song
is the same question
but with a mule and a pig,
but the one I hear sometimes
in my head is the fish one.
Just that one line.
Would you rather be a fish?
As if the rest of the song
didn’t have to be there.

Curtain closes when we meet Monday once again. It is the circle of life reiterating. Paterson movie ends.

Poems in Paterson Movie

In the end we get to know that all the poems in the Paterson movie were written by Ron Padgett. You cannot thank Ron enough of thinking such beautiful stuff. His poems have been provided apt backdrop of things Paterson is imagining whilst writing. They are metaphors for water flowing insinuating the flow of poetry, of objects in his poem and characters Paterson is thinking about. It is beautifully done by the director Jim Jarmusch.

Paterson Movie is of course not for everybody. It is a tad esoteric and for poetry lovers. If you liked my analysis please do comment and please share something that I missed. I would love to find out that all the time I invested in writing this mammoth article didn’t go to waste.

For more movie analysis and explanations you can check our Analysis leaflet.

You can check out the trailer of Paterson Movie here:

Understanding Arrival Movie | Full Arrival Movie Explained with Spoilers

Finally got some time to write the explanation of one mind bender of a movie Arrival! Such a beautiful concept the movie has that it explodes you, when you figure it all out. It is a movie that teases you with its inklings until it drops the bomb at you. But the true nature of its beauty lies in its profound direction, of how the rest of the world interprets the word ‘alien’, and their incapability to understand the unexplained.

Without wasting any more time let’s dig into it. Also, if you haven’t seen Arrival movie yet, there was no point coming to this page. You should go first watch it, read our review maybe first,  and then proceed, coz it’s full of spoilers!

Arrival Movie Explained (Major Spoilers Ahead)

The best way to understand Arrival movie is via the fact that there is no definite order to things. There are no tenses. So if you are being shown a scene that looks like a memory it could very well not be.

  • We see what appears to be a flashback of memories, frames that show our protagonist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) playing with her daughter, raising her up all by herself. Then we see her grow up to be a beautiful teen, but unfortunately one day she passes away from a disease that looks like cancer.
  • We move on to gather the profession of Louise Banks. She is a linguist who teaches in a college. That’s when 12 Alien Spaceships appear all across the globe at different locations. Everybody freaks and leave as she too gets the day off and decides to hit home. She is least interested in what’s going on, as she speaks to her mother.
  • Forgetting about the huge repercussions of Alien ships, she goes to the university yet again to find it deserted. That’s when enters the U.S. Army Colonel Weber asking for her help. She is briefed on to help them understand why the Aliens are here, as she joins the team that comprises of Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner).

You can understand communication and still end up single.

Visiting a Spaceship

  • In Montana, they are brought in to check out one of the spacecrafts. On entering they find the spacecraft had its own strong gravity that explains how throwing something upwards rivets it to one side.

still of suited up scientists from Arrival movie

  • They follow the path to meet two huge aliens behind what appears like a protective glass. Ian names those heptapods Abbott and Costello in an effort to make them understand the concept of introduction.
  • It is there where they discover their language was, well, alien. Huge confusing circular symbols are drawn on the glass with a disappearing ink. With that begins ceaseless session of questions and answers in an attempt to understand what the hell the aliens were really trying to say.
  • Meanwhile, Louise Banks keeps getting visions of her daughter. Let’s not forget that! Till this point she thinks those were mere dreams. Also, Ian makes an allusion that Louise could be dreaming in a foreign language, the language of Heptapods.

The Huge Twist of Arrival

  • Then comes the huge twist. When Louise and Ian finally fixate and relate their letters to our letters, Louise asks a question about the nature of their visit. They answer with the word ‘Use Weapon’. Even though Louise is convinced that the word weapon is open to more than one interpretation, the rest of the world goes loco and opts to attack the pods instead.
  • Further communications are barred as Louise and Ian make one final attempt to understand what Abbott and Costello were trying to say. In the backdrop an explosive was put in the spaceship to knock it out of space. A series of complex messages are left by the Heptapods, to decipher in a hurry. But the bomb goes off, as Abbott saves their lives in process.
  • Ian and Louise wind up in military beds, and the spacecrafts go further up in the atmosphere for their safety. Ian deciphers the symbols that were left by the aliens to be pointing towards the concept of time. That it was nothing but one-twelfth of a gift they intended to give. Thus they figure out that the heptapods want all the nations where the 12 spaceships were present to cooperate with each other so that the intended gift can be utilized.
  • But it is too late. Chaos has ensued. Entropy of life has seeped in. All communications have failed, and the world is ready to attack the innocent ships that have come seeking our help and are hanging mid-air gawking at their certain sealed fate. That’s when a pod is sent for Louise by the heptapods.

Epic Revelation

  • It is here that we get to understand what is really happening. When she reaches the spaceship Costello communicates with her telling her that Abbott was on its deathbed.
  • When she asks the heptapod who was the girl she has been seeing, you realize that her daughter “Hannah” wasn’t actually born, and that it wasn’t a memory we were being constantly shown.
  • The heptapod explains to her that what she has been seeing (her dreams) the future all this time. That time is non-linear from their perspective.
  • 3000 years from now they would be needing humanity’s help, and that it is crucial for them to teach us how to use the gift which was nothing else but their language, something that gave us the ability to fathom time, its surreal non-linearity. If we understood that, using its help we could be helping them out in the near future somehow.

still of Louis and Ian in Arrival

Dodging off War | Arrival Ending Explained

  • When Louise returns with this epiphany, she envisions her distant future where she has managed to unite everybody, and written books on Heptapods and stuff. She is felicitated by General Shang in a United Nations meet saying that it was Louise who had changed Shang’s decision to suspend Chinese attack. To her surprise he even goes as far as to show her his personal no. that she had dialed in order to waive off the Chinese attack.
  • In the real world, China was about to attack the pods. This gives her the inkling to act quickly and so she runs for a SAT phone and calls the General on the no. from the vision. Now she doesn’t know what to say, so she scours for it in the future vision yet again, only to realize Shang telling her the exact words she said on the phone that did the trick. It was Shang’s dying wife’s last words,

“In war, there are no winners, only widows.”

  • It was the only thing that could have possibly changed Shang’s mind. With that intimate knowledge Shang calls of the strike, and the other nation’s follow suit, eventually cooperating to understand their language, the cardinal gift.
  • When the heptapods realize their job was done, they disappear.

Epilogue

We realize through plethora of allusions that the physicist she used to talk with her daughter about was none other than Ian. The following line then eventually gets delivered:

“If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?”

It gets responded immediately by Ian:

“Maybe I would say what I felt more often. I don’t know.”

Soon he adds,

“You know I’ve had my head tilted up to the stars for as long as I can remember. You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t meeting them. It was meeting you.”

This confirms that it is Ian that she ends up marrying. That she conceives Hannah with Ian in the near future, and that her knowledge of Hannah dying, forces Ian to leave her. That’s why we see Louise alone raising her.

But the line about the future leaves it to viewer’s imagination as to whether or not Louise would do something different to change her doomed future. Because it is after all, what she gives the aliens to learn from.

Bottomline of Arrival Movie

The bottomline in Arrival is that aliens don’t know how to save themselves from their looming downfall, their imminent death in the future. So, they have come to learn to handle this from us. So when they tap in our understanding of freewill, they have a shot at it. That they are to benefit only when we unite to understand their language. As to what is that imminent threat, we don’t know. And I think it is not important either.

The moment we work on World Peace, they leave us, because time being non-linear their impending doom gets called off, by something some human did in the non-linear version of time.

Well, to put it bluntly as I have put it, might sound stupid to some, but the thing is the movie’s true strength lies in its concealed timeline. It tries to cloud your judgment by showing glimpses from a different juncture in time. But it also patiently waits with its titanic climax to reveal everything in the end. It leaves you intensely satisfied, and that’s what a good movie should do.

Arrival is simply a work of genius. The more you think about it, the more awesome it becomes. Let your thoughts shower in.

Dangal Movie Review (2016) | Celebrating the Rigorous Phogats

The Phogat family finally gets the limelight they deserve. If it weren’t for Dangal movie, one of Nitesh Tiwari‘s best works hitherto, more than half of the country wouldn’t even realize a feat so colossal had happened once in their backyard.

It goes without saying, we barely care for things that aren’t there for big screen viewing. How much we weigh a feat depends on the who, the what, and the how of its portrayal. In a way things were already headed to awesome-ville the moment we saw Aamir Khan sizing this huge project with his thoughtful eyes. The bar was still in the hands of Nitesh though. Unfortunately he couldn’t really raise it to the extent we had expected it to reach in the climactic half of the movie.

Overlook that, and you still have a brilliantly directed flick in your hand. Right from the point where painstaking detailing has been put in its wrestling bouts to the point where personal ego is allowed to rip relationships apart, Dangal doesn’t disappoint.

Aamir Khan’s Dangal

It wouldn’t be wrong to say Dangal is entirely Amir Khan’s movie. We are already aware of how seriously he takes his projects. Heights he scaled for Dangal movie in order to crack perfection once again was quite evident from his “fat to fit” video. He got under the skin of Mahavir Singh Phogat and literally became him. That puckering of his eyes and that frown over his brow tell you he was living the constant turmoil the protagonist had once faced. He makes melodrama more interesting to watch. It is hard not to empathize with him whenever he delivers a crushing line. Then it wasn’t just him who was taking his role seriously, but the rest of the cast too.

still of Aamir Khan's transformation fat to fit in Dangal movie

Moving on to the flick’s deuteragonist, Geeta Phogat, is the one who is chosen to take the movie forward. As some might already know, Geeta was India’s first gold medallist in Wrestling at Commonwealth Games. Dangal movie is basically centered around her childhood, her ego clashes with her father, and then the onward journey to earn that elusive gold. It also serves as an inspiration for women all across India.

The Childhood Phase

Phogat kids had it rough. Geeta’s childhood portrayal was superbly aced by Zaira Wasim. It was complemented brilliantly by Suhani Bhatnagar, who plays young Babita Kumari. Zaira is a very talented artist who makes her presence felt every time she comes on-screen to deliver.

The ‘Hanikarak Bapu’ song beautifully captures the monstrosity levied upon by every Indian child by a strict parent in reticent words. Children’s innate knack to shudder the moment they hear their father roar was strangely relatable. Indian parenting is still as arrogant as the movie projects. It is in fact a way of living, which even though is gradually waning today, is still extant in less developed areas. People choose to believe in those obstinate chores to instill in their child a wont, hoping parents are actually doing the child a huge favour. Thus follows the Dangal theme trying to show the biopic as is.

A child is every reflection of their parent’s. It’s their hammering that gives a child’s life a perspective. In an attempt to prep them up to align them towards a purpose, Mahavir lays down questionable iniquities on the Phogat sisters. But in the end, they deliver. It is what the world remembers them by.

How many Phogats gave up trying to pursue a dream or a vision they couldn’t see all the way through? Or worse, ended up rebelling against cruelty and losing the image, the fate that was meant for them in the first place? There’s a reason the name of the Phogats will resound in eternity. It is all because of a constant painful struggle to reach an elusive goal, and a focused path manifested by a strict visionary topped with a rigorous lifestyle that helped in turning dreams into reality.

The Primal Aspirational Argument

There are two faces to a coin. It is aptly justified when a broken Mahavir visits his children at night to ease their pain. It crushes him too being that strict, but he believes to achieve bigger things in life sacrifices are inevitable. He puts:

I can’t be a father when I am being a mentor.

If you are thinking why one should be enforcing one’s thoughts and aspirations onto a child, you have to understand it is a child that can be manipulated. You can’t impose your thoughts on a grown up. Try to reason with a grown up and it will end up in a fuming debate. If there’s a direction you see, you can only tell someone with a clean slate to follow it, and not a person that questions you back.

still of Zaira Wasim as Geeta Phogat in Dangal movie

To a child who has yet to figure out a dream, it is a perfect phase to show him/her a path. If you prepare them upfront, they will come to understand one day why one’s doing what one’s doing and what needs to be done.

You put that in my head. It’s all I see.

That leaves us with two ways to look at it – What Mahavir did was absolutely unjust, trying to surmount your dreams on your children’s delicate shoulders, smothering their own dreams, making yours their own. Or you could look at it as what Mahavir achieved by pushing his children was exactly the kind of fame his kids expected from life. Isn’t that the job of every mentor? All great sportspersons who excelled at something had their coaches moulding them constantly at every juncture. If there was no Mahavir or his big dreams, we would have never heard about the Phogats at all. That’s where the former argument goes invalid.

Extraordinary Family Drama of Dangal Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

Whilst trying to justify Dangal’s heartwarming drama, we get to see some of the most havocking bits, all coiled up after Geeta and Babita grow up. There is this moment of egoistic clash between Mahavir and Geeta that will tear you apart. It is very engaging and makes you very emotional. It is the apt music placement that tingles the right chords causing you to have your blood-curdling moment.

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Also, when Geeta keeps losing, realizing her mistake, is contacted by Babita. She suggests her to talk with her father to ask for forgiveness. That’s another dramatic moment right there! It would again have you crying along with the protagonist. It’s quite nerve-racking in a way. You can’t help but empathize with them, and that’s why the tears end up becoming real.

Downsides and Flaws

Whilst Dangal is a great movie it isn’t entirely devoid of flaws either. After a dashing better part of the flick where all the melodrama lurks, when you realize you are about to reach the movie’s climax, things begin to kind of fall apart. Suddenly Geeta Phogat loses her awesome comportment; she becomes strangely submissive.

We find a coach who is shown in an ugly limelight. His character is made so wicked that it is hard to take him seriously. It is not good for the plight of Indian sports. People are so emotional that they are going to believe such elements exist in our country, and might blame a coach for someone’s poor performance. It is a fictitious character created from thin air, named Pramod Kadam played by Girish Kulkarni, since we can’t really do without a villain in our stories. Also, maybe we need all the hate to go somewhere I surmise.

Nitesh loses his touch when he makes sports a laughable affair. He shows international players in a negative spotlight, as if there’s no extant spirit of sports in people from foreign land. I doubt if the Australian actually made a smug statement of destroying Geeta Phogat. It was a villainous image she was framed into.

Climax of Dangal Movie

Nitesh Tiwari also changes some facts to make the final look like a nail-biting affair, which was okay actually. But when he decides to emote the whole climax by locking Mahavir away, you can’t help but shake your head. It’s as if he ran out of story, and was desperately looking for that modicum of a culminating point to satiate a patriotic crowd. That appears immensely contrived and artificial. Ending is written in a light so as to extract uncalled for nationalism from a parallel running anthem. Nothing subtle about it! It looked really daft!

Sakshi Tanwar ends up getting sidelined way too much for her one big on screen role. There is so much talent in her that never really came to fruition in the movie. Also, the screenplay of the movie is average and doesn’t carry that glint of subtlety to it. It becomes really disturbing at times when you are forced to listen to the weird juxtaposition of “Attack!” and “Defend!” shouts that break in during an intense match. You can’t help but wonder if that is the way international matches are really shredded.

The Final Verdict

If you really look at it, Mahavir Singh Phogat was the person who did things differently. He took the world by surprise by not following the normal ways of the living. He was bold enough to fight societal barriers, was prepared for any kind of backlash that emanated therefrom, and ready to take the world head-on. His resilience is profoundly riveting even though he seems to be layering his dream on his children.

The prime motive of biopics is to celebrate people. It’s sad, in India, it can’t be done without spicing things up. So much that we drift away from the original course. Dangal movie was no different when it ran out of stories to tell. It’s awe-inspiring energy goes missing in the later ending part. But when you take all the artificiality and the cheesiness out of the equation, you realize the movie is actually a byproduct of some really fine and intense diligence. All of it was possible because of a combined effort put in by its actors and the rest of the crew, not to forget its astounding outstanding melodrama.

Check out our other reviews of Indian Movies as well.

You can check out the trailer of Dangal movie here:

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