flipp525 wrote:A Quiet Passion is a consistently moving film and really just beautifully written. Of course, I knew that Cynthia Nixon would be the big draw (and she does not disappoint, delivering a deeply felt performance as Emily Dickinson)...I was surprised by just how many of the supporting performances I ended up responding to. From Jodhi May to Jennifer Ehle to Catherine Bailey (who almost steals the show at points and has some great lines). Joanna Bacon (who plays Emily’s mother) delivers a monologue about a young man she knew in church as a youth that, I think, is one of the most moving and heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen on film. This film is a true gem that really should have made more waves this season. Terence Davies’ direction is very profound and delicate at times, the waning sunlight on the door as Dickinson laments the spectre of a man who may not ever come is just haunting.
Watched this last weekend and loved it. I've not been a huge fan of Cynthia Nixon in the past, but she really is excellent here--I this her coldness really works to her (and the film's) advantage--and like you mentioned, much of the supporting cast registers really strongly. This may be my favorite ensemble of 2017.
I also think that, even though it's not dealing with a child growing up in Ireland (like some of Davies' previous films have), this feels like a very personal film: As a celibate gay man, he's kind of been forced, uncomfortably, to find solace and meaning in filmmaking that many of his friends and siblings find in family and marriage. He's also said that he thinks he would've been celibate and alone even if he were straight, that no one would've been interested in him. With that knowledge, I strongly feel like like Emily Dickinson is, in a lot of ways, an avatar for Davies himself. Even without that, it's just an excellent, fascinating movie. Can't believe I put it off because I thought it would be boring.
Last Flag Flying, on the other hand, didn't go so well for me. I think it's just a Linklater thing with me at this point. I get that with many of his films he is trying to go for something that is (seemingly) free-form and not tethered to rigid structure. He wants the experience of his films to be somewhat akin to the experience of everyday life, which is often experienced casually and free of big moments. But that approach doesn't serve this materially well, because it's undoubtedly about a very big, very pivotal moment in someone life. This movie just feels so aimless, like you could walk out of the room for fifteen minutes and come back in without feeling lost or having missed anything significant. Some filmmakers can pull this off, but I've never felt like Linklater was one who could because I think his pacing is always really weak. At one point, I was shocked when I looked at the timer and saw that it was only an hour in. There's no excuse for this movie, which could've been done in an easy ninety minutes, to be over two hours. Has some nice moments, and Carrell is really solid, but Bryan Cranston has turned into a boring ham.