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February 3, 2019 at 12:31 pm #3675
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After making plans on going to Sundance and looking over the films on offering this year, I was intrigued by this one, mostly because I’m a fan of Mia Wasikowska but also partly because of the unique plot. I was lucky enough to get into a screening, and though I was pleased with many aspects of the film, I was disappointed by its overall form.
To start I’ll go into what I thought were the strong aspects of the film:
-The costumes were fabulous. The film was loosely set in the 1600s, I’m assuming somewhere in what is now the United Kingdom. The colorful and beautifully crafted clothing wonderfully conveyed various themes, and later, transitions that the characters were going through.
-The music/score was chilling yet whimsical and masterfully done. I was impressed by how it was able to jump out at the audience at times while still seeming to blend effortlessly into the story. Excellent!
-The locations and sets were visually stunning. I believe it was all filmed in Australia (at least that’s the country of origin? I’m not at all educated on filmmaking or how country of origin vs. filming location interact)
-I loved many of the side characters in the town. Each of those actors provided excellent performances and were a delight to watch.
The film’s weaker points:
-I felt the films overall tone was constantly at odds with itself. That’s not to say that humor can’t be found in the macabre, but some of the humor came off as distasteful, and in some instances downright awkward when it seemed like it was trying to be shocking. I think the writer/director was going for a dark comedy, but certain (*very specific*) plot points would have been better left out or seriously reworked.
-The ending message was cliché and unfortunately a bit tired. It bothered me that the message of the story relied on a mutation of historical phenomena (sorry if this is vague, I’m trying hard to avoid spoilers) that came down to “people shouldn’t be afraid to be different!”
-The main actors did really well with what they had, but I felt like there was a definite disconnect between the two leads. I never would have believed them to be in love, or even to have once been in love and later fallen out of it. I don’t know if it was the script or what, but it was not pleasant to watch.
Unfortunately these things tainted most of the movie for me.
And a minor gripe:
I’m all for the inclusion of non-white folks in European historical fiction, but what’s the point if they’re mostly non-speaking background characters? Is the message you’re trying to send that “people besides white people exist”? Because we all know that. People of color need leading roles, not to continue to be wall paper for white people’s stories..
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We saw this movie at the Sundance Film Festival, and it was great! I loved the time period that it took place in, and the acting and story line were great. I highly recommend this movie..
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