Wednesday, 16 September 2009
I'm so lost, Leonard
One of my planned posts was a comment on Two Lovers by James Gray, with a lovely clumsy and unattractive Joaquin Phoenix just before he went mad and dropped acting - but I found something I'm kinda stupefied how it matches with my opinions
I'm by no means and will never be a Jewish boy, but always wanted to marry one.
The film is a bit modernized version of Portnoy, that even now quite powerful and universal Philip Roth's story of a Jewish bachelor's infinite problems with his desires for shiksas. And if the shiksa is played by that mistress of acting and versatility, Gwyneth Paltrow, wearing her usual Calvin Klein/Ralph Lauren/what have you outfit, we are more likely to shrug our shoulders (or is it just me?).
But we shouldn't this time. I enjoyed how this film, using so many cliches ("I loved you ever since I saw you asking your mother to dance.") remains somewhat moving. Maybe exactly because of the cliches. We have Leonard, an ageing Jewish son, living with his parents (mother played by still stunning Isabella Rosselini) after he cut his veins when some improbable girlfriend from non-Jewish milieu left him. So he sits in his hovel full of old comic books & VHSes, and only because of a strange whim of the screenwriter, cherishes a completely ridiculous dream of black and white photography making.
Gwyneth is the troubled beauty he meets in curious cirsumstances, Sandra is the good Jewish girl nearly pimped to the hero by both his'n'hers families.
From the beginning we know of course that nothing will come out of this odd couple: women like Paltrow's character never quite fall for troubled boys without careers, and Sandra is a pharmaceutic company employeer, who bores Leo to death.
I was wondering, how come I care about this film? It's no match with so many masters of man/woman flirt/romance: Rohmer, Cassavetes. the shameful truth is probably the incidentally (and accidentally) sharp image of our own images of love and the seeming choices we have in life.
I also recommend you this blog's fantastic exchange between Wes Anderson, a cherished "niche" director and a journalist, who discovered, how Anderson pushed the Parkinson ill Pauline Kael, a legend of film criticism, to praise his movie:
and have a look at the collection of mp3 he always give under the post. I have to think about sth like this here, when i will cross this pain-in-the arse infantile initiatory period.