An ode to solipsism, made watchable by the pleasant looks of Greta Gerwig, the chastest onscreen slut I’ve seen in awhile, and the normal looks of Joel Kinnaman, whom we have watched and grown to love over the two years of AMC’s The Killing, in which he plays the scruffy and barely intelligible Holder. Otherwise, this film gives scant confidence for a future inhabited by this generation or for the current state of Ph.D. programs in New York.
While the situations tended to comedic extremes, the underlying relationships were touchingly real, and of course I know something about being a “trailing spouse.” Ultimately, the charm of Emily Blunt and Jason Segel carried the day and made us forgive absurdities such as the wedding finale. One of the best comic absurdities, played absolutely straight, was the career involved: a post-doc position, at which the heroine was not very good, in an apparently useless academic career. As usual in a Judd Apatow production, the ancillary characters ranged from perfect to hilarious. And speaking of Apatow, it’s time to give him some credit: there’s nothing profound or even intense about his relationship flicks, but all share a gentleness and strike familiar chords. I’m reminded, at the moment, of Trollope.
For those hungering for more Lord of the Rings, this is your ticket: mass movements of armies on horseback, trees that move, morphing birds, little people with pleasing personalities, scads of black magic, aerial pull-away photography and a sincere and pure heir of a kingdom on a quest. I don’t mean to diminish Snow White – after all, LOTR set quite a high bar, and to play in its league is quite an achievement. The comparison is more to locate this film in its proper context: this is not your grandma’s Snow White, and there is no Dopey or Snoopy whistling while you work. The story is by the myth-book and the outcome is never in doubt, but what makes this movie stand out is the classic beauty of almost every shot on the way. The galloping horses took my breath away and the costumes and court ceremonies were illuminated manuscripts come to life. Charlize Theron was the acting star. Kristen Stewart was merely acceptable in a role that would have better suited Keira Knightley ten years ago. I think I could watch this again, with the sound turned off.
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