Sunday, November 11, 2007
how you can find true humanity in a fake person
starring ryan gosling, emily mortimer and paul schneider
directed by craig gillespie
written by nancy oliver
viewed at the sundance theater kabuki, san francisco
every so often, a movie comes along that is so expertly created that it shows that there can be a strong human truth found in even the clearly absurd. take "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind" for instance. if left to the simpleminded, it would have been just a movie about how you can get your mind erased. but with charlie kaufman and michel gondry's amazing gifts of storytelling, it transcended into a strong human truth, that you may be able to erase the hard drive of your brain, but never the hard drive of your heart.
why did i begin with that? because a movie whose basic premise begins with a man buying a "real girl" sex toy and passing it off as his girlfriend is fraught with the very worst that slapstick can offer. in the hands of the farrelly brothers, the real doll becomes a prop. in the hands of michael bay, the real doll becomes something worth exploding, an inanimate object that stays that way until its parts are flying every which way.
but when it stands for something, when it becomes more than a prop or a target, when the filmmakers don't stoop for the easy jokes or a simple plotlines, well that's where the human truth shines through. and we can all connect to it. and it leaves us with something wholly inspiring.
that's what i felt when i left the theater with the first lady of steveohville. she felt it too. it wasn't a movie about a dude who buys a real doll and passes it off as his girlfriend. it was a movie about how love can go through great lengths when great lengths are needed. and if there's someone out there who doesn't relate to that, well, you begin to feel what ryan gosling's character was feeling.
this is the best movie i've seen so far this year, the best script i've watched this year, and gosling's performance is much more multilayered than the brilliance of daniel day-lewis' in "there will be blood".
which means that if you've got $10 and 90 minutes to spare, there's nothing better i can recommend you spending them on.