I haven’t been to the cinema a lot these past few months, but I guess I corrected that situation yesterday. Yesterday, at a chain of Pathé cinemas here in The Netherlands, there was a mini film festival showing 5 movies back to back. The day started at 10.30 am and ended at 11 pm and my friend and I decided to go… It ended up being a very good albeit harrowing day and I find I really need time to process the 5 dramatic movies I have seen…
We started with Brooklyn.
Synopsis: “An Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan) in 1950s New York falls for a tough Italian plumber (Emory Cohen), but faces temptation from another man (Domhnall Gleeson) when she returns to her homeland for a visit.”
It was a beautiful film to look at, compelling story, within 20 minutes we were wiping away the first tears! Saoirse Ronan is absolutely wonderful and I have to say I really liked Emory Cohen, who I had never heard of before. He is just heartwarming and so lovable! This movie was a great start to the day.
We had a lunch break and then saw Room which for me turned out to be the most harrowing movie of the day.
Synopsis: “Held captive for years in an enclosed space [by a man they call ‘Old Nick’], a woman (Brie Larson) and her 5-year-old son (Jacob Tremblay) finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time.”
The two leads, Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, were absolutely amazing in this movie! It had me on the edge of my seat, the movie really hit home, I think I cried through at least half of it and by the end I was literally sobbing! Even when I got home late at night and told my husband (who was still up) about it, I burst into tears again… The story was told from the point of view of little Jack. We first see his life in this tiny room with his mother, which for Jack is really quite happy. They then manage to gain their freedom (that part of the movie really had my heart thumping!) and then Jack, in his innocence, must come to terms with living in the big world he has known nothing of for the first 5 years of his life. It is about the close bond between a mother and her son and how they really need each other. The movie affected me more than it did my friend, maybe because I am a mother myself? In any case, it was harrowing and beautiful and touching and sweet and it will stay with me for a very long time yet…
I didn’t have long to recover, as after a 25 minute break the next movie started, called Demolition.
Synopsis: “Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father-in-law, Phil (Chris Cooper), to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis’ letters catch the attention of customer service rep, Karen (Naomi Watts), and, amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son Chris (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.”
This movie I also really liked, Jake Gyllenhall was excellent in it! As were the other actors! The demolishing of his old life that he needs to do before he can build a new one was shown figuratively as well as literally and I loved it. He even gave some great parenting advice on how to effectively use the word ‘fuck’, which I will definitely keep tucked away for future reference. 🙂
We had a dinner break then, went out for a quick bite to eat and returned to watch the fourth movie called A Bigger Splash.
Synopsis: “The vacation of a famous rock star (Tilda Swinton) and her boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) is disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old producer boyfriend (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter (Dakota Johnson).”
Due to the actors this was the movie I was most looking forward to but I have to say that, of all the movies I saw, this was the least impactful one. It was good, I am always blown away by Tilda Swinton and was so again here, Schoenaerts and Fiennes were excellent too (and both quite sexy!), but somehow I didn’t find it so easy to really sympathize with these people. Perhaps, because I saw it after the other three movies, it seemed more… I don’t know…trivial maybe? Great acting but not something I’d necessarily have to see again.
The final movie was a Danish-German production called Land of Mine (Under Sandet). Actually my friend suggested we skip this last movie after all the harrowing movies we had already seen, and I was considering it, but then said I was curious enough to stay. We had held up so long, one more movie couldn’t hurt. It’s the one movie we knew absolutely nothing about and I suggested that movies like that sometimes turn out to be little gems. And I turned out to be right!
Synopsis: “In the days following the surrender of Germany in May 1945 a group of young German prisoners of war was handed over to the Danish authorities and subsequently sent out to the West Coast, where they were ordered to remove the more than two million mines that the Germans had placed in the sand along the coast. With their bare hands, crawling around in the sand, the boys were forced to perform the dangerous work under the leadership of the Danish sergeant, Carl Leopold Rasmussen (Roland Møller).”
The blind hatred against the Germans right after the war is very apparent and the sergeant suffers from this too. Then he starts to see that these are just young boys and things start to change for him. This movie has a calm pacing to it and yet has you at the edge of your seat throughout! After all, a bomb can go off at any time and kill anyone and it does happen – several times! It’s a bit like Russian roulette – who will survive and who won’t? You are torn between feeling it justified that the Germans themselves have to tidy up this landmine mess that they left behind and also feeling for these young boys who can hardly really be held responsible. Great movie, watch it if you can, it really gets you thinking. It makes me feel the need to ask my mother about this. I wonder how it was on the beach in Scheveningen (Den Haag) here in The Netherlands where she lived before and after the war…
During my travel home again I didn’t know which movie to think about first. All sorts of images and feelings were jumbled about and hurtling through me. I got home by midnight but didn’t get to bed until 2 am, as I really needed to decompress after such a day with such films! In my dreams last night several of these movies melted into each other… I think I also need the rest of today to recuperate!