Alice in Movieland











This movie does what few romantic comedies do and lets us see *after* the Happily Ever After of the first movie. Six weeks into her relationship with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), Bridget (Renée Zellweger) begins to question how perfect her life has become. Despite being in a relationship with a man who clearly loves her (or maybe *because* of it… hmm…), Bridget’s insecurity increases to enormous proportions. Her self-esteem plummets as she views herself unreasonably harshly in contrast to the pedestal Mark is on. She is certain he sees her in this same light (fat, socially inept, and generally not good enough for him) and her insecurity turns to jealousy when she compares herself to Mark’s beautiful colleague Rebecca and begins to despair that he may be having an affair. He’s not, of course, but jealousy and insecurity are nearly incurable once set in motion. Additionally, in the wake of a pregnancy scare, they struggle with how different their backgrounds are. It all comes to a head at a luncheon with their parents when Mark says they aren’t thinking about marriage yet. Bridget’s certainly thinking about it and this comment crushes her already fragile view of their relationship. She breaks up with him very soon after. Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) is thrown back into the mix when Bridget’s boss hires him to do a televised travelogue series and wants her to be his co-host. Thankfully, she brings Shazzar along for protection, because, once in Thailand, Daniel turns up the charm and tries to get Bridget into bed. But you have to give her credit! She *is* at least a little smarter in some respects than the first movie and leaves him shocked at his lack of success. On their way out of the country, however, Bridget is arrested for carrying cocaine (the souvenir from Shazzar’s vacation fling). Daniel does nothing to help her and Bridget lands in jail. After some time, Mark arrives in legal capacity to tell her that she will be released, but still seems to be hurt from the breakup and tells her that he’s only the messenger. But once Bridget is set free and makes her way back to London (now a bit of a celebrity because of her ordeal), her friends tell her that Mark worked tirelessly, traveling to several countries, pulling in favors from top officials, to get her released (which somewhat echoes P&P’s Darcy’s background efforts). Hoping against hope that he still loves her, she bursts into a meeting at his legal office to ask him to take her back. He excuses himself from the meeting and, after a slight blunder on her part, asks her to marry him. The movie ends with her catching the bouquet at her parents’ vow renewal wedding.

There are a few things we could say about this movie. Yes, it is obviously a sequel and, therefore, some of the things like her unflattering tv adventures and her battle to resist Daniel and the fight between the two guys do seem a little overworked. And, yes, as one reader remarked about the first movie, the ending here too does seem a little too abruptly “storybook” in it’s sudden, near perfect, happy resolution. And, YES, Bridget is remarkably more stupid in this one and the first half of the movie (with her and Mark) is almost painful. Yes. I will grant you all these things. … I still very much love this movie (in a very different way from the first). I love the first movie the way I love all romantic movies with a happy ending: for its vicarious emotional high. This movie… What I love most IS the painful part. The part where she’s being completely insecure and paranoid and jealous and utterly hopelessly stupid… I love that part. It is the greatest of negative lessons. I know exactly how she’s feeling. I see exactly how she gets there. I know why and I identify soooo much, because I have felt that way too and it SUCKS. I can see why she is so crazy and acts so rashly, so… stupidly. Every time I watch it, I cringe and I want to yell at the screen for her to stop being retarded, but I love it, because it’s very cathartic for me. It reminds me not to be that way. Every time I watch it, I resolve to be sane! And secure. And trusting. The next time I am in a relationship, I will *not* be Bridget. I will trust him when he says he loves me (if indeed it should be obvious that he does). I didn’t believe him last time and I ruined everything. Bridget reminds me of that. …and, yet, amazingly, Bridget gets a happy ending (yeah, maybe that part’s slightly unrealistic, but after the first half it would be cruel not to give us *some* emotional reconciliation or bring us up a notch).

Oddly, my biggest complaint is that I hate the poster. In the first one, she’s all sweet and pretty looking. Here, it might as well read, “Uhhhhhhh… Me no know…” She looks Retarded (and fatter and hardly like the same person). Hate this poster. HATE, HATE, HATE this poster.

But I have to admit that I very much enjoyed the fight scene in this movie. While they obviously put it in because the one in the first movie had been such a hit, it really does work in the story line. Mark needs to confront Daniel (after all, he thinks Daniel slept with her again) and that seems a very sweet expression of how much Mark cares for her. YouTube is woefully lacking in clips of this scene, but I did find one (sorry about the quality):

There is, of course, talk of a third Bridget Jones movie, but nobody seems to know much yet.

Advertisements


{January 17, 2010}   Laws of Attraction (2004)

I really need to stop watching previews til I catch up with the Colin Firth reviews, but can you blame me? I saw this…

…and I thought, “Wait a second. I *own* that!” Apparently, I’d never watched it. So wasteful! I know! So I went hunting through my movie stash and here we are.

All in all, pretty good, pretty cute (especially Pierce Brosnan). It’s about two lawyers, two *divorce* lawyers, Daniel Rafferty (Brosnan) and Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore), who… wake up one morning and find themselves married. To each other. Problem: they don’t *like* each other. At least, that’s what she thinks (well, they *have* been bickering pretty much nonstop since they met. Er… is she just bickering at him?). Poor Daniel. I felt so bad for him when she told him they were going to have to get it annulled.

Audrey: Oh, oh, oh, it’s all coming back! We gotta find the guy that did this and tell him we didn’t mean it!
Daniel: Well, what if I did mean it?
Audrey: Of course you didn’t, how could you? You don’t want to be married to me!
Daniel: (after she runs out of the room) How do you know?

You feel so bad for him!! And he keeps trying to make it work. She, however, has the curse of many women, insecurity, and doesn’t realize that he actually loves her til after she makes him leave.

On a few points, it’s a little formulaic, like the crucial last minute save (oops! well, you knew it was coming), or the two of them falling into bed after the first date, but, eh, so what if it’s predictable? It’s a romantic-comedy!! They’re always predictable! Doesn’t mean we don’t love ’em. The point of the genre is that it makes you feel good, gives you a few laughs, and leaves you walking away all dreamy-eyed, ready to find your own Pierce Brosnan (who, by the way, did not fail to bring his rugged good looks and irresistible smile to the picture, even if he is, and I only just realized this, 56).

I was actually very pleased to see that they gave their “relationship” a little time to develop before the crisis of ending up married. I’d been worried they were going to do it much earlier in the film. I was a little disappointed with Moore, though, because, although she looked stunning, she seemed to go a tiny bit overboard with her character’s uptightness (and something else I can’t quite put my finger on…). Maybe it was to help accentuate the contrast with Daniel’s easy, laid-back manner. She did, however, unravel far too quickly when drunk (a smidge past believable there) and her blind insecurity got a tad old after awhile. And I’m not sure why they thought the Weather Channel joke was funny enough to leave in the movie… twice. But, as I said… it does what a romantic-comedy’s supposed to do. It’s a decent, feel-good movie. (I’m not going to complain about 85 minutes with the dazzling Brosnan even if the plot *is* slightly unrealistic!!)

And, if for some reason Brosnan does nothing for you, the movie *does* boast a couple beautiful shots of Irish scenery. At least, I hope they were actually shot in Ireland. I think that would have been a nice treat for the native born actor.



{January 15, 2010}   Truly Madly Deeply (1990)

I liked this movie. It has very sad overtones to it, but it makes you think, and that, more than being smashingly entertaining, is truly the mark of a good movie. I must say, though, this is my least favorite movie in terms of Rickman’s hair (and the mustache is just silly).

It’s starts off sometime shortly after Jamie’s (Alan Rickman) death. His girlfriend Nina (Juliet Stevenson) is having difficulty moving on. Anyone would. They had been so in love and his death was so unexpected and sudden. She sits at home, playing the piano, humming the cello part that he used to play. She doesn’t go out. She’s isolating herself. Not dealing with it very well at all. Then… one day he’s back. As a ghost, of course, but Nina’s ecstatic and for a little while they’re lost in their own little world as happy as they ever were. But eventually Nina has to go back to work. It’s not a dream world where you can just stay at home with your boyfriend’s ghost all the time, now is it? And Jamie starts bringing home some of his ghosty friends. They’re not scary or anything, but they’re *ghosts*, and they’re always there… and they’ve taken over her VCR… And Nina meets someone, Mark, who’s very much alive. Spending time with him, she’s refreshed. She slowly begins to realize that you can’t live life in the past, no matter how much you loved what or who you’ve lost. Jamie’s return helped her find the closure she needed to be able to move on. Mark is there to help her live.

I didn’t care much for the Mark character myself, but that’s probably out of jealousy for Jamie. The two men are so different… and, though I fing him a bit annoying, Mark (and how different he is from Jamie) seems to be exactly what Nina needs. She’s alive again, the way she used to be with Jamie.

I understand that this movie was written partly to showcase Juliet Stevenson in a way that she wasn’t able to be seen in other parts that she’d had. Thus, we see her playing piano and being quirky, as well as demonstrating that she’s not afraid to portray some very messy emotions (such as the scene with her therapist where she expresses how angry she is that Jamie died).

I’ve filed this one under my favorites because it *is* one of those movies that touches you and changes you just a bit. You might never have thought about the long-term realities and problems of having a loved one come back as a ghost (I’m being silly), or (to be serious) the fact that clinging to the past can keep you from living in the present. This movie presents this truth in a gentle and heartfelt manner while paying tribute to how very painful letting go and moving on can be. Very good. Very good.

Find it on YouTube here, or elsewhere here.

The poem scene:

“Forgive me, if you are not living, if you, beloved, my love, if you have died, all the leaves will fall on my breast, it will rain on my soul all night, all day, my feet will want to march to where you are sleeping, but I shall go on living.” [Pablo Neruda]

Alan Rickman talks about the movie’s writer and director, Anthony Minghella, after his death.



et cetera