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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Lost City of Z Movie Review (2016) | The Pursuit of a Dream

The Lost City of Z movie is a beautiful dramatic biopic of an explorer churned between his family, war and his dream to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon. It might have been a failed expedition in actuality but it never was any less than an intense elusive dream of Col. Percival Fawcett who never for a second doubted his resolve, and more importantly never gave up. He spent his whole life visiting and revisiting Amazon with a dogged persistence to discover what he had accidentally come across – remnants of a lost civilization.

In order to truly understand the obsession of Fawcett with the jungle, you have to first try to get into his boots. You have to understand the import of being an explorer. You have to think like one. Back in the days when there were territories yet to be explored, uncharted regions on the map yet to be mapped, finding a city or archaeological evidence used to be huge. Today it might not seem much since man has scathed every corner of the earth, and there is all this technology around waiting for us to get things done. There’s Google now! But at a time when Fawcett breathed in, there wasn’t much to support him in his manual scavenge.

Uncharted Land

The biggest truth of visiting a new place is that you are absolutely unsure of what is going to happen, or what perils you might face. That too if you are barging into a place where people do not speak your language and consider your cultural and physical differences as a sign of intrusion, it is hard as hell to find your place. There’s a scene in the The Lost City of Z movie where Fawcett and his crew are trying to explore Amazon, and end up being attacked by a tribe for trespassing. You could only imagine how difficult it is to wade through such live dangers.

To look for what is beautiful is its own reward.

Fawcett was a brave man. His obsession was a result of an unfulfilled desire. Having come so close to finding a city that he had seen proofs of existence about, it started taking its toll on him. He ended up dedicating his whole life in search of the unexplored and disappeared into the unknown with his son. He had a purpose hidden for him in the forest and if you ask me it was a life well-lived, in search of something, because half of the time we are hesitantly rambling on without a fixed purpose, and many times it turns out there is nothing really we are looking for.

About the Plot of The Lost City of Z Movie (Spoilers)

The Lost City of Z movie takes its montage from the real life of Percy Fawcett (played exceptionally well by Charlie Hunnam) as researched and written by David Grann in his book. It is a story about Fawcett’s life of the times he went out for exploration leaving his wife to take care of the children, of his newly found obsession with a supposed city in the forest, his confrontations with the Indians on his way, and then with his family on numerous occasions, his reconciliation with his son and then his final voyage into the unknown.

James Gray directs the movie beautifully capturing every minutia of his life giving apt focus to everything precarious in his sojourn. His best frames linger even during fuming conversations between Percy and his wife Nina (Sienna Miller), as she tries to find herself some time with her husband. The screenplay is absolutely brilliant and his further embellished by the poems Nina writes for her husband. They are all very powerful and insightful.

Colossal Sacrifices

The sacrifices Nina make just so that her husband Percy could go out and pursue his dream are worth an ovation. It is no simple feat and she should be remembered and honored for her patience and sacrifice the way the world today remembers Percy Fawcett for his city of Z.

Don’t go. He (Jack) will not know you when you return.

There are some powerful and dramatic bits lodged in conversations between Percy and his son Jack (Tom Holland) too. James Gray doesn’t compromise anywhere while narrating this tale keeping everything at the same pace throughout. There is ample drama for any drama lover in The Lost City of Z movie to take the monotony away.

RGS Meetings

There was a meeting with Royal Geographical Society where Percy tries to convince them of the existence of a lost city. That part is brimming with energy, as it lets us know what RGS is all about. It is apparent that RGS is a body that creates some of the best meetings ever. The RGS is abounding with allegations then and there, support whenever or whoever deems it necessary, and it could come from even a single person and be backed on the grounds of impactful points. It almost makes you feel why can’t every meeting in the world be as dynamic as RGS’s. It will open playgrounds of innovation. Exceptional stuff!

Their civilization may well predate our own. I call it Z. The ultimate piece of human puzzle. It is there and we must find it.

Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson) the explorer, is a pleasant company to have around. Fawcett trusts him beyond limit, and he proves so on so many occasions. But when his final expedition comes along, Costin decides to stay at home. It was a matter of personal choice, and despite there was a madding sense of discovery in Percy Fawcett’s head, Costin wasn’t as enthusiastic given the failures they had met in the past. Then again your mind wanders as to what if Costin had said yes to the final journey. Maybe something different might have happened with his presence, or maybe he would have disappeared too.

James Murray

Expeditions and Explorations always have someone to slow the zealous down. It holds true even in our life. If you are burning with fervour for something, and you are trying to shoot for the moon, there will always be something or someone trying to slow you down or make sure you don’t get there. James Murray was one such element in his story. He single-handedly destroyed an expedition that could have unfolded into something tangible. He was dead weight they were carrying around for the sake of humanity. It infuriates you to see him trying to bring everyone down.

The anger and the frustration you could read on Percy’s face is undoubtedly obvious. And yet he does the right thing by sending him off to survive on his own, so as to not jeopardize the welfare of his crew. But Murray played convincingly well by Angus Macfadyen, being the serpent he was, stings him in return after reuniting with RGS. With Percy refusing to apologize to him and quitting RGS in the process, you could smell justice being served on a silver platter.

You can order The Lost City of Z movie from here:

James Gray’s Version of the Ending

Percy and Jack never returned from their final expedition in the Amazon. Whilst there are hundreds of speculations about the fate they might have encountered, we have our very own James Gray’s version of the ending. While it is a hopeful end to slyly show them being held captive by a tribe that offers them something to drink, after which they are shown being lifted towards some hazy place, it would break your heart to think about the reality. Their end could have been much more painful or maybe they were held captive and never allowed to leave for the intrusion. It only disheartens you to think what could have happened to the father-son duo.

It is as if Fawcett’s life’s a book that doesn’t pan out in a happy ending. But the paragon of hopeful perseverance stays Percy’s wife Nina, who spends the rest of her life waiting, never for once giving up the idea of them being okay. We get to see her trying her level best to make Sir John Scott Keltie (Clive Francis) understand that her husband and son are alright. She even presents him with a compass Fawcett had promised to send if he found the city. It is suggestive that he did.

The final scene shows her reflection disappearing into the woods which is one stunning way of using the figurative to tell the spectators that her thoughts forever stayed with the jungle. And that later she went on an expedition of her own to search for her husband and her son. She spent the rest of her life in the forest with undying hope. That’s one of the most crushing things you will see. Her hopeful words in the end will rend your heart into pieces.

All the Bitterness

One might say it was foolish of him to go and to take his son along with him on his insane expedition. It was beyond stupidity to follow a dead dream that could have been a mere dud or a product of simply overthinking. But you have to understand the vision Percy Fawcett carried throughout his life. It was a taste of fame and the thought of acquiring something elusive and holding it between his hands. It was also a tad about resuscitating his family name.

still of Charlie Hunnam as Percy Fawcett in The Lost City of Z movie

Even when he is in the midst of a war, and he is defamed to have failed twice in his attempt to find his lost city of Z, all he could think about was being surrounded by trees, surviving in the lap of nature. The vision that he sees of himself, in an image to settle his unrest, is literally calling him out to step out into the Amazon once again. It is as if the mysteries of the unknown beckoned him to pursue the one thing that he enjoyed doing the most.

I am here to attempt great things.

It was dangerous nevertheless, and with their final fate, it becomes almost indispensable to not let go of the bitter thought. But when you wear the shoes of Fawcett and try to relive his verve for exploration, you will realize that sitting and doing nothing about it would have hurt more.

The Final Verdict

Percy Fawecett’s life was a life spent in pursuit of something elusive, which could have been a dud shot, as many would argue, but it was more than that for the man himself. A guy with a dream, a purpose and an expectant gusto to get there.

Isn’t that the way everyone should live?

The Lost City of Z movie is capable of bringing clouds of thoughts over your head. After watching it, you can’t help but speculate about the ending the Fawcetts might have met. It takes your heart towards the family he left at home that sometimes failed to understand the vision of an obsessive man. It is so sad and at the same time so powerful that any sane man could melt.

The Lost City of Z movie makes you conjecture theories to satiate the tale of the lost men. At the same time, it makes you want to reflect his fixation with your very own dream, and whether or not it would be a good idea to spend a life trying or simply sit at home and do nothing about.

BTW Charlie Hunnam is on a roll, always in the news – a wink at King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

You can check out the trailer of The Lost City of Z movie here:

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review (2016) | A Biopic to Celebrate a True Hero

Hacksaw Ridge Movie is a game changer for those who think taking lives is alright. It is powerful enough to stand against ideologies, makes you want to question your belief, and puts the right thoughts that brazen heads tend to overlook. There is nothing noble in war. It swallows everything in its wake. People need to see that. The struggling life of a man named Desmond Doss who spent his life in the service of others, who made a promise to himself to not touch a gun in his life, and the conscientious objector who puts everyone who thinks “war is just” to shame, is a life worth celebrating.

Clashing Ideologies of Men

People don’t get the concept of peace very well. Many don’t understand why it is important not to kill anybody and to live in perfect harmony with each other. They consider fighting to be the only way to get there. For such multitude, a mere clash in idea or ideologies has to be sorted out with a fight. It is a thrilling way to live when you are proving your mettle with your might and not brains; One has to almost agree to it to feel the adrenaline rush. But if you just sit for a while and ask why? Why fight? Reckon the cost one is forced to pay to go through a war. You will realize it isn’t the right way after all.

War is not right. It has never been just. War shouldn’t happen in the first place. Taking a life is the biggest curse. It is important to realize that a country is prepping up heartless creatures as an excuse to fight their wars in the name of security and defense. Soldiers are akin to dispensable robots created under the belying aegis of patriotism, and they are monsters on fields, slaying people who are just like them to gain something they will never gain – Peace!

I mean how could any sane man live after that?

Desmond Doss – A Real Hero

real desmond doss with wife dorothy image

Whilst it’s a message that is hard for people to understand, and a raging debate that might go on and on, Desmond Doss a real wise man chose to actually do something about it. Joining an army just to save people without picking up a gun, it is a commendable feat per se. With its superlative pensive concept, Hacksaw Ridge movie was already on its way to become huge. With a power pack performance by Andrew Garfield (was exceptional in Silence as well) and a great direction by Mel Gibson, the movie turns out to be a colossal biopic indeed.

You can order Hacksaw Ridge Movie from here:

Plot of Hacksaw Ridge Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

Hacksaw Ridge movie is a biopic so the plot of the flick comprises mostly of the happenings around the real life of Desmond Doss. But to piece them correctly you have got to praise Mel Gibson and the screenplay writers Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight who end up doing a fabulous job at the montage and writing.

To begin with, it is the accidental fight with his younger brother Hal that puts that painful searing empathy inside the heart of Desmond. He had almost ended up killing his brother which made him see what he was about to do. With a grunting insane dad Tom (Hugo Weaving) in the backdrop whipping him, and him not feeling what was happening around him, that empathy of blood in his hands was punishment enough for Desmond. The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” houses in him then and there and he promises to abide by it come what may.

He grows up to be a fine young man played by Andrew Garfield who is keen on helping people and saving lives. He meets Dorothy Schutte played by Teresa Palmer when he takes an injured man to the hospital. Love blooms gorgeously as he confides in her, his interest towards medical stuff.

With an unceasing desire to join the army as a combat medic, he enrolls himself to the dismay of his Dad. On his way to join, he proposes Dorothy for marriage and she accepts.

Joining the Army

Put under the watchful scornful eyes of Vince Vaughn‘s Sergeant Howell, he is constantly pestered by his own fellow soldiers owing to his disapproval of guns. Finding his reason absurd Captain Glover (Sam Worthington) and Howell, try to discharge him immediately under the pretext of him being mentally unstable. When they fail Desmond is put to test under punishing labour, beaten many times by his comrades, so as to make him quit. But Desmond’s resolve is unflinching.

On the grounds of insubordination, Desmond Doss is arrested and not granted leave like others on completing his training. He was supposed to marry Dorothy but he fails to show up at the wedding since he was imprisoned.  Dorothy visits him in prison beseeching him to plead guilty, but Desmond’s dogged staunchness will put every resolute man to shame.

 I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself if I don’t stay true to what I believe.

In a dramatic turn of events his Dad, who was a veteran of World War I, shows up with a letter from a higher authority that overrules all laws. Charges on him get dropped and he goes on to marry Dorothy.

Battle of Okinawa

It is during the battle of Okinawa that Desmond’s steadfastness as a medic is brought to test. It was Maeda Escarpment also known as Hacksaw Ridge where his battalion 96th Infantry Division was supposed to charge up and secure the mountain. While both the armies suffer heavy damage, the infantry decides to hole up at night.

Owing to a massive counterattack by the Japanese the other day, Americans are scared off of the escarpment. But Desmond doesn’t leave as he chooses to stay to save soldiers in the wake of the disaster. One by one he finds injured soldiers on the field and rappels them down from the cliff.

Help me get one more.

The scene is so poignant that it will bring tears to your eyes. A man that nobody liked owing to his strange disparate belief is the one who stands the bravest in the wake of a lost battle. He is saving lives running from soldier to soldier, giving them hope, resuscitating them with life, rappelling them down the Ridge. And such selflessness! In that dire time where a wrong move could cost him his own life, all he asks is to be able to save one more life.  It is just crazy as hell.

Saving Lives Selflessly

In an attempt to save lives he finds Howell holed up and injured. The guy who never appreciated him, and who constantly tried to ensure mercilessly that he was expelled from the Army.  Yet finding Desmond to the rescue fills Howell with hope. And Desmond with utter divine forgiveness and loyalty chooses to save him despite the hell he had to go through under Howell’s carnage.

still of andrew garfield as desmond doss in hacksaw ridge movie

Watching the ridge spurt out the wounded every now and then, the medic unit down below becomes active and inspired. At one point Doss ends up entering the enemy bunker and saving an injured enemy too. This highlights the humanity Desmond Doss had in him all along. It’s beyond faces and races. It respects a fellow human being for being one and judges no one.

He saves Howell’s life as well bringing him down safely. With Captain Glover ready to take back the Ridge next day, everyone wished to have the heroic medic by their side. Doss leads them into the battle, deflects grenades saving countless lives in the process but ends up wounding himself. The battle is won nevertheless.

In the end, through real life clips, we are told that Desmond Doss saved 75 lives at Hacksaw Ridge. Only a true hero could do that. He was presented the highest, Medal of Honor by the then President Truman.

The Ugliness of War

Mel Gibson doesn’t stop himself from showing gut-wrenching gore. The word has to go out and he seems keen on showing us minutia that repulse us beyond limit. But in doing so he often shows us the cliches we have come across so many times before.

For instance, there is this infantry sitting comfortably inside a bunker recollecting all those who perished. You can sense the contrivance in that image kicking in as if Mel wanted that scene to be deliberately put.

The Company B soldier quotes Herodotus out of nowhere:

In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.

Whilst the message was great, it felt as if it was forced. There is lesser realism in Mel’s direction of Hacksaw Ridge movie and there are so many instances strewn all across where you can almost pinpoint why the director might have gone with a particular scene. It kills realistic cinema.

The Final Verdict

It is really sad that there are fewer heroes who propagate non-violence and fewer who are willing to follow the golden rule of living. The world is abounding with hotheaded youth who are yet to see the pointlessness of it. They might not see what Desmond saw all his life.

Desmond Doss was the one who advocated it whilst being in one of the ugliest places mankind could find itself in – right at the center of it. The message nevertheless stays loud and clear.

Thou shalt not kill.

A movie this beautiful needs to be celebrated. The life of a true hero needs to be revered. It is sad that there is defiance at every corner when you are trying to do the right thing, but not falling back looking at the face of the adversity is how heroes get made.

Hacksaw Ridge movie is a biopic that we need today. We need it to make people comprehend why it is not alright to hurt people. Why it is not alright to go to war, and why it is of prime importance to save each other from ripping each other apart.

With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.

You can check out the trailer of Hacksaw Ridge movie here:

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.

You can order Paterson movie here:

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:

Colossal Movie Review (2016) | Analysis and Explanation | Major Spoilers

Colossal movie isn’t really a monster flick. So if you are rushing into the theatres just to see a Kaiju and Robot stand off, I would say don’t. Also, if you don’t like movies with hidden meanings, or if you are too shallow to understand poetic vibes, metaphors, and profound reflections, this isn’t a movie for you. Okay now that we have separated the facile crowd, remaining intense peeps, come with me. I will introduce you to this genius of a flick.

Colossal Movie Theme (Spoilers Ahead)

There’s one dialogue in the Colossal Movie that is basically the nub of the entire flick. When Oscar played by Jason Sudeikis asserts things to be boring, that life is boring, that we don’t pay attention unless and until something huge, something colossal happens to us, that’s when you realize the grandeur is simply showy.

That being said, if it were a simple flick about an alcoholic girl who has trouble holding on to things in her life, we wouldn’t have been surprised much. That is life for you ladies and gentlemen! You mess it up when things go boring. Then you jump from one leaflet to another in search of something interesting only to mess it up all over again. It’s that platitude of life that laughs at us, and we are no strangers to it.

Now you put a Kaiju in there to make things intriguing, and suddenly you are listening. The Kaiju in Colossal is nothing but a pictorial representation of Gloria’s (Anne Hathaway‘s) problems with her life. She has a drinking problem that seems to be uprooting her foundation. You can see that from the way she reacts to Tim (Dan Stevens) leaving her in the beginning.

Gloria’s Drinking Problem

Gloria is broken and she knows the solution to her problem is to just stop drinking and gain the reins of her life back. She is blacking out every now and then, sleeping at odd hours. At one point, she sleeps before inflating a mattress, and even while she was inflating it. She always ends up waking up in cramps and spasms. Days and conversations are lost with her shuteye. The world passes her by when she’s sleeping and she hears about everything for the first time, even though a news would be out for hours. It’s a muck she has brought upon herself, and things around her have paced up whilst she has slowed down.

Anne Hathaway as Gloria in Colossal Movie

Drinking has cost her job, her boyfriend, in short, her life. Until one day she wakes up to realize the monstrosity of her problem. She faces it in the form of a Kaiju, a gargantuan personification of her colossal problems. When she moves around with her problems she is bringing people down, here “killing them” even though she doesn’t mean to.

Why Seoul?

The people here are from Seoul where the Kaiju seems to appear whenever she is drunk as a fish. Nacho Vigalondo, the director, chose to press it against the time 8:05 AM just so we have a pictorial representation of something so deep. The reason he chose Seoul is because he had to pick a place that was aloof. Primarily, because when you have issues, you hurt strangers too.

For example, fighting with someone in a restaurant full of people. You have charred them too but you don’t care because it seems to you that ‘your’ life is more important and that ‘you’ are the center of it. That they are obligated to witness your monstrosity. The Seoul people are nothing but metaphors of lives you destroy in the process of you trying to figure out your life.

Another reason that Seoul was chosen is because it wishes to satirically remark West’s unperturbed feelings for the East. They believe it to be another world altogether and look at it as a wreck that is doomed for destruction. They are glad that they are away from the real problems and choose to brazenly witness it from a TV screen. It’s an apt and subtle wink at their unwavering thoughts as they do nothing but quilt up further just to gaze at misfortune of alien people.

Another one I could think of is how Seoul rhymes with Soul and has a spiritual level of gravitas to it. It takes you to delve into your soul to see what wrong you have done, what damage you have done in the wake of your complication.

Oscar with his problems

Gloria’s sorrow when she accidentally kills a helicopter is her lashing out at her minor fun act that causes a massive rampage. She feels really sorry for what she has done, and gets Oscar to arrange some Korean words to say sorry to the world. She is happy when the world forgives, as people say,

I knew it was a good monster.

That’s when the twist in the tale happens when a Robot like monster appears alongside the Kaiju telling us that Oscar is another one of those guys with “huge problems”. He dons a veil of the good guy for the better half of the movie, that makes us believe that he is one of the good people. But everyone carries a baggage that stays hidden from the world. His issues unroll when he finds out about Gloria sleeping with Joel (Austin Stowell). That baggage is nothing but sheer hatred and jealousy.

Jason Sudeikis as Oscar in Colossal movie

Oscar is a nice guy in actuality but he has this wont of shovelling his issues under the bed. So, that’s what he has been doing all this time until that glitch makes him lose it. He lashes out not only on Gloria, but also on Garth, one of his good old friends played by Tim Blake Nelson, whose issues he used to ignore all along. He breaks with,

I am tired of playing the good guy.

Oscar is a reflection of all those people who keep it together, only to explode when something horrible happens to them. So the Robot monster breaks loose.

Monster Face Off

There they are – a Kaiju and a Robot, Gloria and Oscar with their problems in the real world, fighting against each other. One stepping very carefully so as to not hurt the people around, the other reckless in his ways, because he doesn’t care about who thinks what of him, and is willing to hurt people in his frenzy.

Gloria’s avoidance of beer is her trying to straighten up her act so there are no repercussions. Oscar forcing one down her throat is him trying to twist her up so she stays the way she is.

Re-enters Tim. A glint of past that shines bright. Yes, he is nothing but a hue from the good old days she had once ignited with. He is an ex that sounds a good enough escape, but is in fact a horrible thought per se.

Oscar scares him away, with the firecracker and everything, putting on a show of wrath. He is really a messed up guy, a bully, yes that’s the word I am looking for, who has shackled Gloria, filled her house with furniture, TV and a job, roping her under favours so as to stop her from leaving him. The real life reflection of it is her not trying to escape because he blackmails her by hurting other people in Seoul, so she couldn’t leave.

I know what you have been thinking, why couldn’t Gloria just go and tell the cops and get him instead. Trust me I thought that too. But that’s what a shallow thought is. Things aren’t going to get better with the police involvement. It’s about her trying to stand her ground by fighting the biggest monster off her. It is going to get reinstated if she doesn’t face her problem herself.

The Ending of Colossal Movie Explained

Until one fine day it strikes Gloria that she could simply go away from him, and crush him even so by restraining his actions by helping those who get affected instead. That’s her going to Seoul, catching Oscar and flinging him away into space, making one final stand to show him who’s the boss of her life.

Her walking down to a Seoul bar to tell the bartender an amazing story is about her trying to tell the world of how she overcame the monster that had her caged. The irony to that is the bartender offers to offer her a drink.

The movie concludes at that point compelling us to think whether or not she would wind up once again encircled with the colossal problem she had just managed to scare away. While there’s a world out there trying to lure her into making mistakes, she has to face her demons by staying focused with life. It’s something she has to resist to stay sober, and not give rise to another monster that could bring havoc once again.

Why Gloria is a Kaiju and Oscar a Robot?

There is another great point to ponder upon as to why was Gloria representing a Kaiju and Oscar a Robot. You see, a Kaiju is evil in the minds of the people. Her huge drinking problem is frowned down upon by society. Her not being able to keep her life together, her blackouts, her inability to land a job, and constant partying habits are every representation of bad ways in societal eyes. That’s why she is akin to a Kaiju.

colossal movie kaiju image

But in reality she is good and pure from her heart. She accepts that she didn’t want to harm anyone, and that she was truly sorry for her act. It is something that is contradictory to a Kaiju’s behaviour.

Oscar, au contraire, appeared like a nice guy, and hence he is the robot. Because everyone thinks that he is a really good guy from the way he carries himself. Unfortunately he ends up doing just the opposite of good. That’s why the veil of a ‘Robot’ which the people consider to be just.

So we take another great point from the Colossal movie that what appears from an outward appearance is not necessarily the way things are in reality.

Direction of Colossal Movie

I can’t help but applaud Nacho Vigalondo enough for his colossal project. The trailer actually belied what the movie was going to be all about. It had us think that it was a mere comedy that was supposed to be superficial. But it isn’t. It is so much more than mere cheap thrills. To be able to wrap something so powerful inside a concept that appears shallow and that too is a resounding story in its own, it takes colossal balls. And Nacho has them!

Then you can’t overlook the editing of the flick. It gives ample focus to issues and makes for a good engaging watch. At all times issues are addressed, tension is created and every step promises to unwind into a plausible course of action. Everything falls in its natural order. That’s what makes the movie a hoot to watch.

The One Obvious Issue

The only thing that bothers is how many things do we have to sieve away in order to capture the gist of the movie? If you are watching Colossal movie in its utter joviality you are going to think it is nothing but a monster sci-fi flick that is for mere ephemeral fun. Well, I am pretty sure more than 75% of the moviegoers might have taken it that way.

Some might argue why wasn’t there any sort of linkage asking us to think in that direction. Why wasn’t there any remark if the movie was supposed to be an allegory? Why does it force us to think so much? The answer to that was in Oscar’s statement about boredom.

You take out the monster equation from the flick and it falls flat like an age old tale of a girl trying to figure out her crumbling life and then eventually taking a stand.

But that’s the whole point of it. If things were apparent and out in the open it wouldn’t have been as good a movie as it ends up being.

The Final Verdict

Colossal movie is an eccentric take, yes but it is so deep when you begin to actually think about it. It is manufactured to meet an esoteric bunch because if you think you have got it, considering it to be all about mere monsters and psychos, then you really haven’t.

Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis remain the heart and soul of the movie just like their metaphorical monsters. Both keep it casual to show the worldly bit, joking around, fooling around with their fun and frivolous side, only to end up being serious eventually before ripping each other apart.

The flick is truly about facing real problems, but it keeps everything fun and light by bringing to life epitomes of behemoths. It leaves everything out to exist on its own without actually relating anything to anything. So there are like two stories in it each capable of existing on its own universe.

Colossal movie is for the unusual masses who like to read between the lines. Watch it only if you aren’t as shallow as the unfeeling crowd.

It is a peculiar flick yes and so I will place the Colossal movie amongst my Avant Garde Bunch.

You can watch the trailer of Colossal Movie here:

 

Split Movie Review (2016) | M. Night Shyamalan is a Paragon of Persistence

How many times did we see M. Night Shyamalan fall? Like an ant falling with food every now and then but trying again nevertheless. Split movie is his one shot that hit home run after more than a decade of movie making. He has finally grabbed hold of that ‘mojo’ he had been missing with his inventive thinking. It became all possible because of a rad ambitious project like Split and of course, a superb performance by James McAvoy.

Not only is the Split movie a thrilling flick, but it’s also bloody horrifying and gut-wrenching. It leaves you with dozens of questions wondering if a character like that could exist in reality, and at a lot of point, leaves you in electrifying shock. The story is about a man who has not one, not two, but 23 split personalities. Can you imagine that? He kidnaps three girls and holds them captive in an unknown location while he scours through his inner-self to discover yet another personality.

James McAvoy’s Performance

The heart and soul of the Split movie is James McAvoy. Had there been a different actor in his shoes, Split might not have turned as awesome. The way he gets under the skin of different characters is simply mesmerizing. He gets so lost you can’t tell any of his personalities apart. It is almost as if a whole new character has appeared out of nowhere.

The broken are the more evolved.

There is one scene wherein we get to see a close up on his gradual transformation where the camera zooms in to find him drop his act. He becomes a someone else altogether. Goes from casual to grave. And you know it in that fleeting second that James McAvoy is simply the best. You know at once why he is one of the greatest actors who is out there. He reassures you of the fact when he goes full-blown during the movie’s climactic scene.

Quickly becoming a different character with a snap of a finger and then delivering it flawlessly without going for a single cut, now that’s something.

hedwig personality of Kevin in Split movie

Amongst the numerous personalities McAvoy portrays in Split movie, we get to see these prominent ones:

  • Dennis
  • Patricia
  • Kevin
  • Hedwig
  • The Beast
  • Barry
  • Orwell
  • Jade

One of the most adorable, fun and awesome personalities of our antagonist is the character called Hedwig. He is a nine year old boy who is a delight to watch and listen to. James McAvoy plays it really convincingly too. He almost makes you feel sorry for his villainy.

Plot of Split Movie

Three teenagers namely Claire, Marcia and Casey are abducted by Dennis who is one of 23 personalities of a guy named Kevin Wendell Crumb. The latter has gone dormant with potent characters like Dennis, Patricia etc. calling the shots in his head. It is Dr. Karen Fletcher played by Betty Buckley who has been treating Kevin of his dissociative identity disorder who is oblivious of the kidnapping.

The three girls discover his special case when they meet Patricia, the feminal side of Kevin. Soon they meet Hedwig, a nine year old in the body of Kevin, who tells them they are chosen for a sacrifice to be made, for a 24th personality still in creation called The Beast.

Barry used to be the prominent character in Kevin’s mind who used to meet Dr. Karen for her psychiatric sessions. But Karen finds out soon enough (with all the mails she gets and with a feigned contrived show Barry puts on) that it isn’t Barry after all. She discovers about Dennis and Patricia for the first time, with the former telling her about the existence of their next personality called The Beast who is rising to cleanse the world of impure souls.

We are what we believe we are.

Meanwhile in his lair, Claire and Marcia attempt to escape but end up getting caught and are put in separate rooms. Casey played by Anya Taylor-Joy is the wise one with a terrifying past of child molestation. She befriends Hedwig and tries to escape but fails.

The Beast

Dr. Karen, with plenty of doubts, suspects Kevin to be holding the girls captive. She ends up coming to his place. When she discovers the captive girls there, Dennis drugs her and locks her up too. Meanwhile the transformation begins as Kevin turns into a beast. He displays phenomenal strength imitating characteristics of an animal that includes him climbing a wall.

the beast personality from split movie

An individual with multiple personalities can change their body chemistry with their thoughts.

As beast, he returns to a locked up Dennis, who has, by the way, written a note in a paper a way to summon the dormant personality Kevin by calling out his full name. The beast kills her and then kills Claire and Marcia before eating them up.

The Final Showdown

Casey stumbles at the corpse of Dr. Karen finding the note to bring the real ‘Kevin Wendell Crumb’ back for a while. Disgusted by what his personalities had done, Kevin asks Casey to kill him with a shotgun. Just then we see all his personalities simultaneously trying to project themselves. When The Beast returns Casey shoots it injuring it a little. As it tries to attack her, it claims of cleansing the world of the impure and the untouched, people who have never suffered in life.

As it tries to rip open a cage where Casey has locked herself in, The Beast witnesses marks on her body understanding she was a pure soul herself. He spares her life in the process before disappearing into the night.

You are different from the rest. Your heart is pure! Rejoice!

She is then rescued by a worker, where she discovers that it was the Philadelphia Zoo where she was held captive in. In another scene, we see dominant characters of Kevin namely Dennis, Patricia and Hedwig talking amongst each other, reconciling and agreeing that Kevin’s 24th personality (The Beast) is the only way to change the world.

Let us show them what we can do. Let us show them how powerful we can be.

The Ending of Split Movie Explained

The final bit is one of the most exciting parts of the movie. It’s Shyamalan’s subtle wink at the sequel to Unbreakable movie.  In case you have missed it, let me take you back to what happened.

Kevin’s horrendous crime is being talked about on the TV in a diner. There are some customers reacting to the crime being similar to an incident in the past related to a terrorist wheelchair guy. Sitting next to them is none other than David Dunn (Bruce Willis), who reminds them the name of the terrorist by calling his nickname “Mr. Glass” (Elijah Price played by Samuel L. Jackson).

It tells us that the incidents of Split happen in the same world of Unbreakable. It’s none other than Night Shyamalan’s very own Movie Universe just like MCU or DCEU where his movie sequels and movies are all related to each other. (Not all we hope!) The Split movie ends subtly hinting that the main super-villain of Split might cross paths against our superhero David Dunn at some point.

The Final Verdict

The genius of M. Night Shyamalan can’t be applauded enough. His ability to think unlike the mob has helped us find some amazing movies over the years like The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village and Unbreakable.

With a subtle entry into the Unbreakable world with Split I think Night Shyamalan is back at his best. He is weaving great stories and it’s doing the trick for him.

As far as his direction is concerned, I loved how he tried to bring us up to speed with some of the other personalities of Kevin via recorded videos. Of course, not all 23 could have been possibly shoehorned in just one movie. I also loved how his personalities would black out only to return at unknown places. A wonderful way of showing what multiple split personality feels like.

Even if you let Split movie breathe on its own without the Unbreakable shimmer, and it’s still hands down an amazing blood curdling take on horror. Let it be the repugnant part of Casey’s uncle molesting her, or the part where The Beast takes his shot at Cannibalism unperturbed by its existence as a human or the nail-biting moment of an upside down clinging Beast charging on the lights to attack Casey, everything has been brilliantly done.

Composers James Newton Howard and West Dylan Thordson have done a fabulous job with the music. That scary chilly music as and when needed has been used aplenty.

A thrilling movie like that shouldn’t be missed.

You can check out the trailer of Split movie here:

Hidden Figures Review (2016) | Appreciating the Underappreciated

Hidden Figures is about the people who stay hidden. Those underdogs who boldly take on the world and never come out on the front page. These people need to be acknowledged. They need to be celebrated. And that’s what Margot Lee Shetterly does with her book. The flick is based on that very book about the underappreciated who were literally the driving force behind putting an American man in space.

How many times have we toiled hard for something and let all the glory go to the man sitting on the throne? How many times have we given our blood, our sweat and soul for a job only to find someone else snatch our accolades away when time comes? Haven’t we dreamed for the rostrum too? Don’t our eyes seek glory too? Don’t we deserve it? Where’s our spotlight, the people who work 24×7 to make things happen?

Hidden Figures is the story about those who went unnoticed, who gave everything they had and yet somehow got sidelined in the race to dominion. That race is none other than the infamous space race.

Plot of Hidden Figures (Spoilers Ahead)

Three brilliant mathematicians who worked at NASA namely Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan who are played superbly by Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer are rooting for their chance to show the world they have potential. They have one major setback though, a hurdle that was so ugly during those times that it is hard to imagine an America that literally slayed a million dreams because of it – Racism. Unfortunately it is still broiling with its fumes.

The Segregation

These African American women are having a hard time being noticed until one day a bright opportunity shows up for Katherine G Johnson who is assigned to The Space Task Group owing to her impeccable skills with Analytic Geometry. The problem there is that she is the only colored woman in the team, and everybody hates her. To make matters worse there is no colored people toilet in the building where she works.

still of taraji p henson as katherine goble in hidden figures

Can you imagine the daily torment of running all the way to the toilet that’s located half a mile far in another building, constantly working nevertheless, and then running back to the headquarters, of course, half a mile again, just so there is no setback in work. At times it would be raining outside and she would be soaked trying to make it to the toilet and back.

Just ’cause it’s the way, doesn’t make it right,

If that weren’t enough, there is prejudice even in coffee machines. Then in her work culture. People constantly being dismissive of her thoughts, not giving her the credit for her efforts. It is really sad for her to be working in a place that doesn’t appreciate her, and yet she gives more than 100% being glad for the opportunity to be a part of something huge.

Kevin Costner’s Al Harrison

Al Harrison the head of the Space Task Force played brilliantly by Kevin Costner is the guy calling the shots. Kevin creates a character that’s very much believable and relates to those highly involved researchers who really want the job done. He is grave and intelligent, and sometimes arrogant just like a real leader.

He identifies Katherine’s talent when she solves complex equations and is impressed with her genius. However, on constantly not finding her on her desk, he asks her where she goes. Katherine snaps venting out her anger telling him everything about the segregation at work, about her toilet, the coffee etc. As a result, Al goes ahead and personally breaks the “White Ladies” toilet sign breaking the shackles of differentiation then and there.

Here at NASA we all pee the same color.

Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson Story

Running parallel to the story is that of Dorothy who wishes to be a supervisor, but is constantly put down by Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst). Mary on the other hand proves her talent and wishes to pursue her engineering degree.

Every time we get a chance to get ahead they move the finish line. Every time.

Dorothy makes herself indispensable by learning FORTRAN and teaching her coworkers the same as an IBM machine jumps in to make the ladies history. Vivian is forced to give her a chance and she finally gets to be the supervisor.

While Mary convinces a judge to let her attend an all-whites college to pursue her engineering degree. She becomes the first colored woman to do that which is an achievement per se.

still of john glenn meeting the ladies in hidden figures movie

Katherine proves her mettle with her geometric calculations in a room full of big names winning John Glenn‘s trust. The latter becomes the first American to orbit the Earth and return safely back owing to her spot on calculations.

Epilogue

When epilogue ensues we get to know that Katherine was also one of the major heads responsible for calculating trajectories of Apollo 11 and Apollo 13. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her service, also one of the Research Facilities at Langley was named commemorating her.

We get to the peak together, or we don’t get there at all.

Dorothy headed the programming section of Analyis and Computation Division in Langley. While Mary earned the highest senior engineering title, later demoting herself to become a manager of Federal Women’s Program and Affirmative Action Program. In short, each one of them ended huge!

You can order Hidden Figures movie from here:

Minor Obvious Issues

One of the problems with the movie is its contrived feel. You realize Al Harrison trying to break the toilet board is merely put for theatrics, and it wouldn’t have possibly happened. Characters that try to push the colored, forcing upon them feels of segregation weren’t actually immediate characters like Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons) or Vivian. These were lodged in the American society back then, and even though things they did weren’t obvious but they were still there. These characters weren’t concrete and individuals like them have been cut out from thin air to prove a point.

Putting a man up in space wasn’t just one person’s diligence, it was a team effort. The whole unit, the team was responsible for doing the unthinkable. Now if you are acknowledging just few, doesn’t it make the rest of the team, I don’t know, hidden figures?

The movie traverses from the original happenings on a lot of occasions but as Margot admits, it was fine, since not everyone could have been possibly scooched in a movie, nobody is complaining in that front.

The Final Verdict

Margot Lee Shetterly’s story writes an after-glory of sorts that celebrate the real brains behind US’s intense affair with space. The movie takes a lot of liberty with the story fitting it in with theatrics, and showing us the ugly side of segregation. However, it celebrates the unnoticed people bringing them into the limelight which is in itself celebratory.

The screenplay of the flick stings you with its ballsy statements. It’s powerfully written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder.

Yes, they let women do some things at NASA, Mr. Johnson. And it’s not because we wear skirts. It’s because we wear glasses.

Theodore Melfi‘s direction is good, and he places apt focus on showing both sides of the wall. He packs in enough fun to keep things enjoyable, at the same time he doesn’t move away from the color issue. He portrays what ugly things people have been doing for so long, and shows us the pointlessness of it all  against bigger things like trying to gauge the unknown.

It’s a movie that one should not miss for the world.

Check out the trailer of Hidden Figures here:

Silence Movie Review (2016) | Ripping for the Faithful | Debatable for the Faithless

The passion project of Martin Scorsese finally comes to fruition. It took him 25 years to carve this beauty, and Silence Movie is in every way abounding with all the right emotions that we expected from it. The movie is based on the eponymous novel by Shusaku Endo and is about two Jesuit priests who travel to Japan to find Father Ferreira, their mentor, at the same time spread Christianity in a chaotic land where Christian priests are unwelcome.

The flick is a spiritual sojourn where it tries to quest for humanity in a place and time that objects to new teachings and principles. Japan was ruled by a tyrant then who was bent on uprooting any kind of alien dissonance from its soil. Religion being one of those major issues that stood at his cross-hairs. The movie is driven forward by powerful performances by Andrew Garfield, Liam NeesonIssei Ogata and Yosuke Kubozuka.

Direction of Silence Movie (Spoilers)

Scorsese is hands down one of the best in the business. And he keeps reminding everybody of that every now and then with his superlative direction. The movie captures minutiae of life, creates real tension forcing us to relive it as if we were right there surrounded by some serious agitation. It shows an inhumane past of Japan that one shudders at the very thought of leading a life in that era.

He recreates crucifixion so powerfully that it draws out instant pathos from you, crushing you under the weight of emotions. Even when he builds up dispensable characters, he makes them so concrete that it becomes really hard to part with when time comes.

silence movie character image of Shin'ya Tsukamoto as Mokichi

There are some brilliant diegetic moments scooched in, wherein Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) writes to Father Valignano (Ciaran Hinds) home and reads his thoughts through his letters. Then at times he speaks directly to God. They are so brilliantly written that you can’t help but empathize immensely with the protagonist.

The wait of your silence is terrible. I pray but I’m lost. Or am I just praying to nothing? Nothing. Because you’re not there.

Martin Scorsese also has that unpredictability quotient that we never see coming. We hope perversion relents, we hope heads wouldn’t roll but the fact is – you never know. The deafening silence of its melodrama is hard to fathom. You just keep hoping to hear a voice, throughout the Silence movie just like Rodrigues himself, but you know life’s like that.

Kichijiro’s Character

There is this unique character Kichijiro played amazingly well by Yosuke Kubozuka. You can’t help but wonder about his presence in the movie. His story runs parallel to Rodrigues’ hunt to find Ferreira and on more than one occasions he betrays him and his own people. He apostates continuously and bounces back to confess his sin. He is constantly asking for forgiveness from Rodrigues, who keeps forgiving him for his sinful acts.

At one point he has been compared to none other than Judas. His sins are terrible and when you really try to figure him out, you understand he is nothing but a common man who is just trying to get by when things go south. At the same time, there is guilt in him. He is truly sorry for his acts but ends up repeating his mistakes when a challenging time comes. Kichijiro is just a weak man caught in a wild place. He has suffered profusely and he suffers every second of his life with guilt.

Importance

If you notice carefully you would realize how he never leaves Rodrigues at all, always winding up at his door asking for forgiveness.  There is one scene in the end where Kichijiro tries to illuminate that flicker of faith back in Rodrigues even after he has apostatized.

I suffered beside you. I was never silent.

The above voice goes in the backdrop showing Kichijiro in the frame. It’s the voice of God speaking to Rodrigues once again trying to reason with him, telling him it was alright.

still of Yôsuke Kubozuka as Kichijiro in Silence Movie

Even though Kichijiro had been a sinful man he teaches Rodrigues one important lesson. That despite apostatizing and renouncing God, you can always come back to Him because He always forgives. Something Rodrigues wasn’t sure about after he had apostatized.

It was in the silence that I heard your voice.

The Silence movie ends the way it had started, in silence, with sounds of nature all around, implying silence is never there after all. That all you gotta do is listen.

You can order Silence Movie from here:

The Raging Debate

While at a time where religion was trying to spread its wings in every corner of the world, this might have seemed quite okayish to exist, but in times like today, it ends up becoming one of the most controversial chapters ever. If you look at the movie cynically, you realize what were Father Ferreira, Rodrigues and Garupe (Adam Driver) trying to do anyway? Weren’t they trying to spread Christianity, forcing a religion on people? Whilst the Japanese Inquisitor confirmed the existence of Buddhism in their country, weren’t they still bent on giving a country a taste of their own medicine?

Then you see what that Inquisitor was doing after all. Wasn’t he killing his own people in the end, trying to apostate a foreign guy? What kind of ruler does that? Okay, don’t answer that, a bad one, I know. But still people are being killed in the name of religion. Was everyone blind to that? Why are people so terribly blinded they fail to see what’s beyond religion?

Atheist Much?

If you drift further away from religion here, if you are an atheist, then the very idea of it would seem quite absurd. First of all, you are trying to force a religion on someone, then because of your ideals you are getting people killed. Hadn’t any of the foreign priests stepped on their land in the first place, the massacre could have been entirely avoided. Even Rodrigues confesses to that idea secretly when he tells Garupe about how he felt.

Then again what is a religion if not a set of code of conducts and moral values to keep people in check? We created it for our own convenience. Like Marvel and DC stories are in vogue today, it might as well be a religion for some. Okay leaving this ceaseless debatable thread open right here.

Signs of Faith

Then there is that insanity of valuing things like fumi-e that are mere stones and wood that are considered as gifts from God.

They value these poor signs of faith more than faith itself.

While to some this might sound justified, but to non-believers this is really hard to gobble. Your inability to step on a mere rock is getting someone killed. If there is an even an ounce of compassion in you for another fellow being, you would do it eyes closed. How hard is that to fathom? Isn’t compassion, humility, and fraternity above God? Does God teach you to make his idols and objects and demand of you to treat Him with such reverence? If there was a God He wouldn’t ask you to be so foolish. He would willingly ask you to step on Him if you can’t help it.

Does God teach you to make his idols and objects and demand of you to treat Him with such reverence? If there was a God He wouldn’t ask you to be so naive. He would willingly ask you to step on Him if you can’t help it.

I think that’s what happened to Rodrigues when he chose to listen. That voice of God was nothing but his very own reasoning for himself, where he accepted renouncing God with a heavy heart.

The Final Verdict

I understand the Silence movie was supposed to be watched keeping faith in heart. But for those who have none, if you really look at it, the amount of torture, killing and mass murder that happened in the name of religion is simply appalling. I guess, it could have been avoided too. It is as if killing someone because someone chooses to believe in Superman‘s existence, and that I think is highly unacceptable.

In a world where we judge everything by our own conscience, by passing everything on the belts of morality, I think a movie like Silence poses a serious question. Why are we so blind? But if you get under the skin of Rodrigues, a dogged guy who cannot be moved from his beliefs, you begin to feel for him. You begin to empathize and when you do, it is hard not to cry. There are blood-curdling moments strewn all across the flick that ensures you leave the theaters teary eyed.

Wicked characters like that of the Old Samurai played by Issei Ogata, provide a convincing spread on the Endo story. The Silence movie ends up becoming a really powerful wrap capable of existing sturdily on its own sans the God factor.

It’s just the doctrine that it fights for might not be the same for everyone out there.

You can check out the trailer of Silence Movie here:

 

Lion Movie Review (2016) | A Biopic that Promises to Rip your Heart Out

If you haven’t watched Lion Movie up till now, I beseech you to watch it right away. The Oscar Nominated movie (in six categories) is a flick so profound, touching and melancholic, that it is definitely going to leave you wiping your tears. It is a true story based on the book “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley, which packs in a gut-wrenching tale of a lost boy who tries to find his origins.

Direction of Lion Movie

Lion Movie is directed by Garth Davis. His direction is simply mesmerizing. He doesn’t leave out the details, doesn’t rush things, doesn’t leapfrog to show you just the crucial moments, rather focuses on stepping stones that are paramount in properly packing up an entire story.

With Greig Fraser by his side, he picks up long rails to depict Saroo’s running, follows the protagonist up from beautiful angles. Greig and Garth have a keen eye for capturing beautiful shots. It is evident when they choose to sit behind characters, capture vista from distant locations and walk alongside his people. I loved how the former sometimes chose to clear the lens on a face.

Also, nothing seems insincere. The cast is lost just like the child is. Garth brings out some dogged acting from even a young child like Sunny Pawar. Nobody is aware of the camera and that’s what makes things more uncontrived.

Plot of Lion Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

The plot of the Lion Movie is nothing but leaflets from the real Saroo’s book. The movie starts off with little Saroo helping his brother Guddu steal coal from a chugging train, which they use to trade milk to get by. They have an amazing relationship. Guddu is always taking care of Saroo, given how young Saroo is, appreciating him for every tiny effort of his. Both enjoy each other’s company a lot.

still of Saroo played by Sunny Pawar in Lion movie

Saroo wishes to accompany Guddu who goes to a job at a place nearby. His resolve to prove that he is no longer a mere child when he picks up a chair and then a bicycle goes on to show how eager he is to spend more time with his brother. Sunny Pawar simply nails that part.

The Lost Boy

They head to a nearby station platform where Saroo ends up dozing off. Guddu promises to return asking him not to go anywhere. Waking him, not finding Guddu around he boards a train wondering if his brother’s there. Tired, he once again sleeps, wakes up only to find the train moving. Doors are locked, and he is stranded in a moving train. The train goes on, ends up reaching Calcutta. Being too young and naive he doesn’t know or understand how he could get back to his hometown. He remembers her mother’s name to be “Ammi”, remembers the place he lived in as “Gneshtali” and doesn’t know the way of the world.

Saroo, the lost boy, wanders the city, finds its ugly jaws trying to get a piece of him. He is hungry, unfed, and he keeps narrowly escaping trouble. Until one day a man finds him and takes him to the police. With no place to map him to, they find him an orphanage. Around three months later, with the help of an advertisement about the child, an Australian couple, Sue Brierley played by Nicole Kidman and John Brierley played by David Wenham, decide to adopt him. Saroo’s upbringing happens in Hobart, Tasmania along with another adopted brother Mantosh who has rage issues.

You can buy the movie Lion here:

The Time Leap

The movie then traces the worried mind of an adult Saroo Brierley who is trying to find his forgotten origins. He is constantly peeved by the fact how his real mother and brother must be still searching for him, while he breaks bread unperturbed. He finds love in Lucy played by Rooney Mara but ends up being distant owing to the constant buzz in his head. Same he does with his parents. Afraid to tell them about his desire to see his real mother, he locks himself up in his house, and subjects himself to thorough brainstorming.

still of Rooney Mara and Dev Patel in Lion Movie

The movie captures the minutiae of his thoughts, how he wishes to locate his mother and brother. He imagines them still looking for him, on the station, at the river. He begins seeing their profiles in broad daylight, losing it every day.

One day he goes back to Sue, his mother to tell her how sorry he was, and how hard it must have been for her to own kids with a past. She replies that it was their choice to adopt reasoning:

The world has enough people in it. Have a child, couldn’t guarantee it will make anything better. But to take a child that’s suffering like you boys were. Give you a chance in the world. That’s something.

One day with the help of Google Earth he locates the exact location of his house thus pinpointing his origin. He then sets out to meet his mother and brother. On reaching there he finds his mother. The atmosphere erupts in delirium. He gathers that Guddu, his brother, was dead. He had died the same night he had gone missing, hit by a train. Saroo finds his sister Shekila too, and with that family reunion the movie concludes.

Minor Issues

Whilst Garth gave his level best in terms of direction, casting of Saroo’s real mother seemed a tad out of place. Kamla was terribly done. She seemed distant with her acting. Whilst there were plenty of good Indian actresses out there who would have nailed Saroo’s mother avatar, Garth Davis decided to choose Priyanka Bose for the role. I wonder why.

Guddu’s angle was, I felt, necessary too. If it wasn’t for Guddu’s accident, he would have come nevertheless for his brother. That sheer fact could have been milked to ooze out more feels. But even without that, the Lion movie has enough reasons to send you on a sobbing spree.

The Final Verdict

The Lion Movie is one of the saddest stories you will ever hear, and the fact that it’s all true makes you mewl even more. I kept weeping the whole movie. It is hard not to empathize with the boy, the plight of the adult Saroo, as he begins to experience that gush of emotion that overwhelms with pain and missing.

To do something so selfless and noble as to adopt a child from a different land, giving him a life and providing for him, is simply commendable. You can’t stop applauding the Brierleys enough. It puts hope back into the world where it should belong. At the same time, it inspires us to do something of the kind. You never know a Saroo could still be out there, waiting for his directions to come.

You listen to its amazing score, and your heart ends up being a slave to the angst. Dustin O’ Halloran and Volker Bertelmann (Hauschka) simply aggrandize the movie with their music. They are placed at right junctures to fill you up with emotional trauma.

A flick that everyone should watch. A real life tale that should not be missed for the world.

You can check out the trailer of Lion Movie here:

 

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