Way better day. Way, way. Remembering why I love movies.
Started out with “Love is All You Need,” a supposed comedy by Oscar winning (“In a Better World,” foreign film) director Susanne Bier. It is funny a good deal of the time, but in a complex, layered European brilliant way. This woman is known for her dramas, and she sure knows how to bring drama — or harsh reality — to comedy. Pierce Brosnan stars alongside the luminous Danish actress Trine Dyrholm (she’s basically their Meryl Streep) in a wedding movie that’s so much more than a wedding movie.
Then I squeaked in to “Frances Ha,” the latest Noah Baumbach movie starring and co-written by Greta Gerwig. There are two types of people in this world: Those who realize Gerwig is the most natural talent of her generation and… well, who cares. This is probably Baumbach’s most positive film, exhilirating and consistently funny and insightful in black-and-white. Yes, Woody is an obvious influence. So what? There is no better influence.
Then I spoke to Naomi Watts, the first person I ever interviewed at this festival, a decade ago for “21 Grams.” If memory serves, she got a best actress nomination then, and she’ll get another this year for “The Impossible,” a true story about the effects of a tsunami. She was delightful and we ended agreeing we’d get together again before a decade passed.
Then the big finale: “Cloud Atlas,” the epic production from the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, spanning centuries, with the same actors playing various characters through those centuries. It’s two hours and 43 minutes and surprisingly easy to follow as it flows from the past to the distant future. It stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and tons of other people.
This is one critics are going to be reticent to commit on — it’s so huge and so out there and ambitious, and a little bit corny but hopeful and hopefully true in the long run. Hey, I’ll commit: I was never bored for a second, which is saying something at the end of a long day/week/whatever. I was fascinated by the interweaving script and editing and honestly didn’t think the Wachowsis had this in them, although I did believe in Tykwer. The whole thing was seamless and exhausting and I have no idea whether audiences will sit through it but on the other hand it could become huge. It doesn’t matter, it already is huge.
If it catches fire, though, look for an Oscar nomination for Hanks, who plays four, and maybe five or six, characters. It’s the best thing he’s done in years. On the other hand, it could suffer the fate of an equally brilliant (if less ambitious) film, “The Fountain,” which simple asked audiences to go too far. Me, I’ll go that far.