A Film Reviewer - Truly Madly DeeplyThursday, November 15, 2012
Except for people who might value the benefits of having a very expensive car or a quality Savile Row bespoke suit quality has taken a dive in this 21st century.
A few who read good books might understand that one of the lions of British literature (the term was coined before political correctness took hold so I believe there is not gender equivalent like Margaret Atwood the lioness of Canadian letters), Graham Greene was a very good film reviewer. Few who read our local press would appreciate (am I wrong here?) that one of our finest local writers, John Lekich writes film reviews for the Georgia Straight. Even fewer would understand the difficulty of reviewing a film with a 300 word max count. Nor would they understand the sheer difficulty in attempting to have a positive approach to films which in Lekich’s case, involves seeing the worst movies out there. Lekich is not the sort of man to lose his composure or let his disdain for lousy movies show up on what he writes. He is an even-keel kind of guy who in a better world would deserve better and get it.
I dedicate this blog to John Lekich and I do hope that he will continue reviewing films (even if lousy) with his own brand of objectivity that does not mine the depths of nasty cynicism or uses a review to show off his good taste and knowledge just because he has both.
In that place where the king is alone ( a term I translate from Spanish, “Donde el rey va solo.”) and which happens to be what in my native Buenos Aires used to be called “el watercló” I have books that are light and fun reading. I suppose that having such books as Tolstoy’s War and Peace or Stephen King’s 11/22/63 would keep one so gripped in the reading that one of the unwelcome byproducts would be severe constipation. In fact I would make a guess that two of the most famous historical members of the constipated, Martin Luther and St. Thomas Aquinas must have sat, where the king sits alone, with a bible in hand.
In my bathroom, on the top of the pile is a book I purchased from my Oakridge Library book bin for $1.00. A Guide for the Curious Film Lover -The New York Times – The Best DVDs – You’ve Never Seen, Just Missed or Almost Forgotten edited by Peter M. Nichols and with an introduction by A.O. Scott makes terrific reading and shows how brief but how good film reviews can be.
I have chosen Anthony Minghella’s 1991 Truly Madly Deeply with Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman for two reasons. For one I concur with the review and two, I photographed Juliet Stevenson during an interview she made with John Lekich. By a strange quirk of coincidence I had a visiting nephew from Buenos Aires, Georgito O’Reilly in tow who found the whole process of interview and photo session interesting.
Before Minghella directed the lavish romance of The English Patient he made this exquisite, fanciful love story about a woman who feels her dead lover is still with her. Stevenson and Rickman are at their most charming as Nina and Jamie, the lovers who seemed perfectly matched. They shared enthusiasms: classical music (he on the cello, she on the piano), sex, poetry, old movies. Then one day he gets a sore throat and that’s that.
Nina takes a picturesque flat in London and tells her analyst that she hears Jamie’s voice everywhere. Then, one evening as she is playing the piano, he materializes as if in the flesh.
Jamie says he is back because he didn’t die properly. Once again they sing and dance and enjoy many of the things they shared together. Nina’s friend can’t understand why she is suddenly so happy again.
Momentum begins to build for her to cast her lot with the living, though. How long can she go watching Fitzcarraldo on video with Jamie and his friends from the beyond?
Minghella warmly makes a case for honoring the past, while finding a way – however bizarre – to let go and move on.