So, I was reading the above thread when I got to the entry about the movie Ponette and I dutifully watched the offered clip. I read the consequent comments that the movie was a real heart-wrencher and “the whole theater was sniffling…,” and “I’m trying not to cry here at work…” etc. and all I could think to myself, and I say this meaning no disrespect to the obviously talented little girl actress, was, “Meh.”
It’s not the child actor’s fault. I’m sure she performed exactly as the director wanted, and everybody else seems enthralled with the movie. There’s a quiet scrunching of the face, and a genuine tear when the girl is told her mother is dead. There’s no yelling while trying to hit her father for what she hopes is lying. No flinging herself on the ground. No high-pitched squeals of anguish. Just a very reserved, very quiet, “touching” spit-take. Nice.
The spit was the only thing that kept my attention from wandering off. But that’s how it is with most emotional movies today. Such wonderful minimalism. Tell a person their world is ended, and they’ll suck in their lips, get glassy eyed for a moment and nod with a solid sensible stoicism. Even the littlest kids in movies will do this now. How natural. How real.
And excuse me, how dull.
I watched another movie today. It was from 1957, and it was called A Face in the Crowd. Talk about ham. Andy Griffith’s character of Lonesome Rhodes was a raving loon most of the time, all bugga eyed and loud as hell. Patricia Neal was in there swinging with mouth agape and sobbing and glaring, and all the rest were hunched up and crawling to Lonesome Rhodes, licking his boots. The only one showing restraint was Walter Matthau, of all people.
And you know what? It was riveting. I couldn’t look away.
Yes, they are two different movies from two different eras and involving two very different contents. Maybe I’m just jaded. Or not sophisticated enough.
Or maybe Hollywood faces are so stiff from all the Botox pumped into them.
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
Not likely to see anything that memorable again.