Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce (2012)

This review is short because of lack of time.  But, in short, I loved this.

A man walks to the mailbox to mail a letter, and finds he cannot; he resolves to think about it while he walks to the next one, and again cannot... and thus begins the journey of a thousand miles, not only from one end of Britain to the other, but deep into his pain, fears, and regrets.

The journey here is truly the destination, and brings not only the quiet, elderly Harold Fry face-to-face with his most deeply buried sorrows, but also with his buried tenacity, courage and strength.  And so too for his wife, and many he meets along the way.  Some are clearly angels, and some fools and worse; but most are regarded with refreshing compassion and without easy condemnation.

This is the victory of earnestness over hip irony, seriousness over glibness, and faith over matter.  The acclaim the book the book has received is a sign of the times, perhaps.  After experiencing so many fresh betrayals in quick succession -- the banks, the churches, the newspapers -- we search for reassuring, unsentimental earth to tread upon.

Aug 2012

Brokeback Mountain

Tripe, tripe, tripe. I resisted seeing the movie when it first came out, primarily because of all the hoopla, and my instincts were correct -- it is in fact, sentimentalized, overstuffed, and superficial. And the reaction to the film is borderline offensive -- had these characters not been gay would we not have simply called the movie exactly that?

Ang Lee demonstrates again that he can be great at American period pieces (The Ice Storm of the 1970s).  But he misses the mark here in terms of anything else.