Welcome to my first addition of Wednesday Watching! If you read my new years resolutions, you’ll know one of my pledges was to record every single movie I watched this year and I’ve been using site Letterboxd to write mini reviews (you can follow me here!). For those of you that don’t use the site (very likely) I wanted to pick out my top three every couple of weeks, and share the ones you need to know about. I’ve split them into three categories, ‘The Hollywood’ – a film of the moment, ‘The Horrific’ – one that you may potentially dislike (if you have the same taste as me!) and a ‘Hidden Gem’ a movie you might not have considered.
THE SHAPE OF WATER (2017)
What is this majesty?!
Guillermo del Toro is the OG of the fantasy film- the dark and twisted meets the endearing in equal measure here, and the story just oozes charm, it’s hard not to like. At first glance, it’s hard to see how this movie differs from a classic beauty and the beast/ Free Willy-type story – a mute janitor working at a lab falls in love with a captive creature and devises a plan to help him escape.
But The Shape of Water is so much more. It has the seamless ability to adopt typical movie tropes and completely transform them into an intense cocktail of love as a language and the supernatural. Del Toro not only prevents the creature from communication, but also it’s protagonist’s, Sally Hawkins’ Eliza, an unassuming single janitor living in Cold War America. The lack of speech is more than made up for with the magical score, sign language and of course, THE DANCE!
Although it has some flaws for me- overtly sexual and gratuitously violent in parts- it stuck with me, and does deserve those Oscar noms.
THE HIDDEN GEM
Looking for one of those movies that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled? Look no further than mother!
I will warn you, I’d most typically class the film as a Marmite (love it or hate it) situation – I’m the latter. I love movies that really mess with your thought processes and make you really THINK. Don’t get me wrong, I love a gratuitiously rude movie from time to time, but I’m sticking this one in my hidden gems category this week, because I was really surprised by the amount of bad reviews it recieved on release.
mother! centers around Jennifer Lawrence’s character (mother) and her husband Javier Bardem (Him), as their tranquil existence in their household is rocked when a mysterious guest arrives at their home. J Law was SPECTACULAR as mother, and I’m not being overdramatic here. I’ve never really rated her, but felt like she played this in such an understated, but brilliantly harrowing way. A number of bizarre events occur subsequent to this, and the ending is well, shocking. I went through a number of WTF moments while watching, but sticking to it, I wasn’t disappointed.
With careful camera angles, endless symbols and subtle metaphors, it’s definitely a movie for after-analysis but did it deserve such a poor rating? I don’t think so.
Watched mother!? *SPOILERS AHEAD*
For those of you that have seen mother! but didn’t know what the frigggg was going on, I’m about to explain. No doubt a number of you must have taken to Google to have a peep at what it was all about, but for me the moment became clear when mother gave birth to a son. I knew Him was God, but I had presumed mother, was in fact Our Lady, or Mary. She is infact Mother Earth, but (I’m assuming here) is spelt in lowercase so that God can in fact belittle her.
The movie encompasses itself around the torment of Mother Earth, with the last scenes depciting her burn and damage, before her heart is completely ripped out. It’s a hard watch, for sure, but it’s powerful and (I think) unmissable. So who are those weird visitors? To spell it out, the movie bases a lot of it’s tropes on The Old Testament of the Bible, and Ed Harris (man) and Michelle Pfeiffer (woman) are Adam and Eve, with their two fighting sons as Cain and Able.
You’ll also remember the images of Him increase, like religious icons and the way the house itself starts bleeding ; as if the building is an extension of mother! herself.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017)
I can predict a number of people may read this post and think WTF gurl. You put mother! as a hidden gem, now this?! I know, I’m sorry. But please, hear me out (hehe).
I had high high hopes for Three Billboards, but it disappointed me so much. The jist of the movie is as follows – Frances McDormand’s Mildred is mourning the loss of her daughter who was murdered seven months prior, with no culprit having been found. In a bold move, she paints three billboards with messages targeting the town’s chief of police. A battle ensues between Mildred and the police force, a catalyst being Sam Rockwell’s Jason Dixon, a hothead with a penchant for violence.
I had SO many problems with this movie. Whilst I loved McDormand’s strong will and spunky attitude, and felt empathy for her loss, there were so many things lacking for me. The title of the movie itself feels forced – a very much blatant title for a movie churned out for award season. Sam Rockwell is an actor I REALLY rate, but his character of Dixon was so flawed and I thought he wasn’t a good fit. While Mildred is commendable in spirit, she also does some very questionable things, so I kinda ended up hating her by the end of the movie…
Comedic moments ended up being jarring to me (jokes about rape are NAHT funny) and the most disappointing part for me? Woody Harrelson! I LOVE him, but his role was weak, and his narration was bitty and flawed.
Have you seen any of these movies? What movies have you been rating this week?