As November and its ludicrously large parade of film releases comes to an end, it’s time to play unload my takes on the releases I just couldn’t make screenings for, though a full review of my favorite will be coming hopefully by weekend’s end.
Miss You Already
This tale of two lifelong friends finding themselves at differing forks in the road, one pregnant for the first time and the other diagnosed with cancer, will hopefully find an audience in the years to come. Far from great, Catherine Hardwick’s film recalls the work of Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill), with the piss and vinegar attitudes being thoroughly coated in sugary sweetness. While not everything works – go away little moppets – stars Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore are wonderful together, in sickness and in health, aided by consistently witty script by Morwenna Banks.
This is a fine enough drama about the titular movement in early 20th Century England that gets its push from an outstanding ensemble. Carey Mulligan is superb as a woman drawn into the cause, struggling to find the balance between her home life and what she believes to be right. If the surrounding characters lack the complexity, they are nonetheless played as perfectly as possible by the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson and Ben Whishaw. Definitely dry in its telling and lacking a specificity at times that would take it to the next level.
Cate Blanchett is amazing in this entertaining, cluttered movie by James Vanderbilt, who makes his debut as a director after years writing mediocrity (The Amazing Spider-Man releases) and a work of genius (Zodiac). The procedural elements of the latter, along with Blanchett, are what keeps Truth from ever being a bore, even when its stances fail to step back and seeing the larger scope. For a film about journalists that make news and entertainment, too much of the day-to-day is lost in the shuffle and blithely forgiven.
Speaking of stories about journalism, Spotlight handles that subject far better. In focusing on the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the depths of the Catholic Priest molestation scandal, this movie by Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, Win Win) and co-writer Josh Singer (The Fifth Estate), doubles down on the interviews, debates, and microfiche laden hours, almost entirely ignoring the personal of its characters lives. The fact McCarthy has Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Live Schreiber and more to tie his feature to is a major advantage, with each turning in aces work.
Over the course of a breathless two hours, McCarthy refrains from hand-holding, flashbacks or other easy nods to allow the audience to catch up to what unfurls. We merely are witness to the facts, no matter how bluntly depraved they are presented. If it misses a beat, it’s in the tension, with numerous editors, lawyers and locals stating that when the local Archdiocese catches wind of what the Globe’s reporters are prepping, the shit will hit the fan. A shit that, well, never arrives.