Now in order to review Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, I must talk about four things- its trailer, its posters, its cast and the film itself.
1) The Trailer
The official trailer of Black Swan is one of the best ever. I remember seeing it for the first time and being absolutely mesmerised. It does everything a trailer should do- look good, create interest, leave the viewer wanting more, leave the viewer wanting to watch the film and also become unforgettable. There are barely any trailers that I've seen, not only this year but ever that match up to the beauty and the mystery of Black Swan's trailer.
2) The Posters
The first time I found out about this movie was through a poster in my Tumblr dashboard. The colours of white, red and black stood out immediately. This is very important because the whole film is about these colours. The virginal white Nina has to become the visceral black swan and this transformation is assisted by deadly red blood. It's quite fantastic.
3) The cast
Natalie Portman delivers the performance of a lifetime in Black Swan. Her Nina is this beautiful, scared, ephemeral, pure woman who has to embrace her darker side. She is a top-class ballerina who, after a lifetime of dedicated perfectionism, gets the lead in her ballet company's new production of Swan Lake. However she is only ideal for the white swan side, and has trouble embracing the black swan side of her character. Add to that she is being constantly ridiculed and seduced by director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), is facing competition from free-spirited Lily (Mila Kunis), and her overprotective mother Erica (Barbara Hershey). All this soon starts to affect her mind and her grip on reality as the story of Swan Lake takes over her life. Portman portrays all aspects of Nina- her reservations, her desires, her fears, her insanity, her malevolence; such that her last line "I was perfect" becomes a fact. And a damn good one at that. Her hard work into getting into the shape and mindset of a professional ballerina reminds me of Adrien Brody in The Pianist, who lost a great amount of weight and learned to play Chopin and hence won the Oscar for his portrayal of Wladyslaw Szpilman.
The next best role was that of Barbara Hershey as the mother/the Queen. She channeled Margaret White and a certain Mrs. Bates for this role. Even a bit of Michele Pfeiffer from White Oleander. She was creepy as hell. She tries to control Nina's life to the extreme and treats her as a little girl, her "sweet girl" so much so that she even dresses her, and cuts her nails and regulates her going in and out. Her paintings are just as weird, and the fact that she cries while she paints them does help her creep factor quite a bit. She is a failed ballerina, and despite the fake frigid smile on her face while wishing good luck, she wants Nina to be one too. It's quite a brilliant and chilling performance.
Vincent Cassel is a sexgod and his Thomas is one too. I love the way he seduces Nina to bring out the black swan in her. He is the only one who sees this side of her, and if it wasn't for his advances, the quite virtuous Nina would not have broken into the new characater, or side. Mila Kunis is very good too. She, like Portman, practiced for months before to become a ballerina onscreen. She embodies the black swan in her role, and the stark contrast to Nina is commendable. Their sexual "encounter" is very graphic, but quite necessary. Winona Ryder is also there as the ex-queen ballerina Beth, who gets replaced by Nina. I love Winona Ryder to bits and hope that this excellent albeit tiny role would get her into the game again.
4) The Film
Oh what a film! Aronofsky has delivered a cinematic melodramatic gem that will be loved for many many years to come. The entire concept, of taking a overly-secured ballerina, with a prolonged childhood and mixing in it the elixir of Swan Lake...genius!! It is visually stunning masterpiece. Everything from the beauty of ballerinas and their outfits, to the effects that show Nina's degarding mind is excellent. The music of Tchaikovsky adds immensely to the drama and the splendour of the film. The themes of light and dark, of sexuality and parental control, of control and release, of love and lust, of life and death is what the film consists of. All the characters show this, but especially Nina. I personally thought the ending was brilliant, but it still confused me a bit. As did the whole film. I can't help it but a part of me thinks that all of it was Nina's imagination, or maybe that she was Beth herself. It raises many questions on psychology, most importantly on those peole who have been performers all their lives and how that affects them. The details are minute and expertly put. The choreography is just beautiful and touching and shocking.
This film hits you over and over again, but in a good way. Aronofsky can show the degradation of human mind expertly, like how he did in Requiem for a Dream, but he has really polished his craft in this film.
Oscar predictions- I think Natalie Portman has the the Best Actress Oscar in the bag. The film, Aronofsky, score, editting, costume and Hershey for Supporting Actress should get nominated.
Ho Ho Ho...it's that time of the year again!! While due to the many insignificant complications of my life, I haven't had a Christmas tree or anything Christmas-related this year, my favourite Christmas films do not fail me. I love Christmas films and it is absolutely essential for me to watch them on Christmas Eve/Christmas. Now unlike the other lists I put up, these are ranked in order of my preference. Also I must add that if anyone has noticed, there is a "Recently Watched/Rewatched Films" list to the right of the page and those have been given ratings. These ratings directly refer to my love of the films and there is a great chance that they might not be "critically acclaimed" or "commercially successful" or both (a rare occurrence indeed), but I do love them if given a high rating or vice versa.
Anyways, here are my most favourite Christmas films, in reverse order:
8) Elf- This is an adorable film about how a human baby crawls into Santa's bag of presents and grows up in the North Pole as an elf only to find out his "true nature" when he grows up. He then embarks upon a journey to New York to find his father, only to see that he has been in the "naughty list". Will Ferrel plays Buddy, the human-elf who has to experience the greedy and often unkind world, that he changes with his true love for Christmas. The films also stars James Caan as Buddy's "naughty" father and Zooey Descahnel as his musical love-interest.
7) Love Actually- This film shows us that during Christmas "love actually is all around". Of all the romcoms made on Christmas, Love Actually stands distinct. I love this film and it's enormous and fantastic cast. Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Martin Freeman, Rodrgo Santoro, Rowan Atkinson etc. The list goes on and on. I love Richard Curtis films because they end up leaving one feeling all warm inside, and that's exactly the feeling a Christmas film should leave behind. There are a whole bunch of intertwined stories in this film and all are set during Christmas time and all have some connection with love, whether it's young love, trans-lingual love, trans-Atlantic love, sort of nudist love, love between friends, love between the British Prime Minister and his worker, unrequited love, love between an old couple facing problems etc. (By the way, this paragraph contains 14 "loves" just in case you are wondering).
6) The Santa Clause- What happens if Santa falls of your roof and dies/disappears? Why, you take his place of course. This is exactly what happens to Scott. Obviously he isn't very keen on it, especially since he is facing problems with son Charlie and custody rights. Add to that, he starts growing this enormous white beard and gets a Christmas goodies-fetish. This film is sort of similar to Elf in showing how people do not care much about Christmas, but they need to be reminded of its magic. I love Tim Allen as Santa and the elves and his son are plain adorable.
5) Jingle All the Way- I love funny Arnold Schwarzenegger films!! While the best is Kindergarten Cop, Jingle All the Way is quite precious too. He plays a workaholic father, Howard Langston, who has to get the perfect action figure present, Turbo-Man, for his son on Christmas. Except, he forgets and goes to all extremes to buy it last minute. This is a hilarious films and one of my original favourites. Also, I like how it deviates from the whole "Christmas is not about presents" ideal. Damn right it is, and you know it!
4) The Nightmare Before Christmas- From this point on, all the films are technically on the same level but for rankings' sake... Tim Burton's and Henry Selick's animated Christmas feature has become on of the biggest and greatest cult classics ever. The story of Halloween Town and Christmas Town and Jack Skellington and Sally and all the weird Burton-esque characters is just brilliant. The idea that Christmas can be taken over by the most horrific festival- Halloween and what the outcome of it would be, how Santa Clause becomes Sandy Claws, and a blossoming love in all of this just shows the true friggin genius of Tim Burton! Oogie Boogie people!!!
3) How The Grinch Stole Christmas- This can also be called How Jim Carrey and Dr. Seuss Go Together. They really do. I love the story of a green and hairy Scrooge-ish Grinch who hates Christams and the Christmas-loving Whoville. He has shunned Christmas like how the people of Whoville have shunned him. It suits both of them fine until a young Who called Cindy Lou decides to vote him as the recipient of Whobilation, a great tradition and honour in the little town. At first Grinch is hesitant, but he does come to join in the celebrations, only to be then insulted by the Mayor Augustus May Who. After creating much havoc, he decides to ruin Christmas by stealing all the presents, disguising himself as Santa and his dog Max as a reindeer. Even though his masterplan at first seems successful, he then realises that Christmas is about more than material gifts. A change comes over him, his heart grows three times its original choice and he decides to make Amends. This is the highest grossing Christmas film of all-time (in your face Avatar!), and it comes from the highly acclaimed and very cool producer-director pair of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. This is one of Jim Carrey's best roles, second only to probably Count Olaf in Lemony Snickets: A Series of Unfortunate Events. His Grinch is funny and tragic at the same time and we love him for that.
2) Home Alone 1 & 2- Kevin McCallister's epic survival tales take place during the lovely snowy time of Christmas. These are amongst the most loved children and holiday films of all time. This is because of the fantastic story of how a young boy left home alone, and alone in New York survives and protects himself from two of the funniest baddies ever- Harry and Marv. Macaulay Culkin's legendary role made him amongst the most famous child stars ever. Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern and Catherine O'Hara are also part of the great cast. Chris Columbus has a gift of making evergreen and lovely children films (see Harry Potter) and these are amongst his best.
1) The Polar Express- Only animation can truly achieve feats that live-action cinema can only dream of. And I think Robert Zemeckis's The Polar Express is a testament to that. I absolutely love this film. True, not may paragraphs ago I said that Christmas is about presents. But it is also about believing in the good and the naughty and the magic in the world. The film is about a boy who is starting to think that Santa Clause and North Pole and everything is made up, and then he is visited by a magical train that takes him to North Pole on Christmas Eve. It is fantastically made film, slightly dark but heart-warming nonetheless. It is number one because while it does apply many of the Chistmas movie rules to it, the total effect of it, with the story, the images, the music, the characters, the mystery, the aura, the Christmas spirit make it absolutely unique and unforgettable. I love Tom Hanks with all my heart. The review is here.
A special mention to It's a Wonderful Life, which was quite lovely too, but not that Christmas-y for me. Also Robert Zemeckis's Jim Carrey-starrer A Christmas Carol. I haven't seen the other adaptations of Charles Dickens' classic, neither have I seen Scrooged or Miracle on 34th Street. I don't want to watch Santa Clause 3 or Four Christmases. I really do not want to see Bad Santa as it might scar me forever.
So as the carol goes, "Tis the season to be jolly," have a great time on Christmas watching these films, if you would like.
Happy Birthday blog! I started this blog exactly a year back with no expectations. Now I know that people read it, and that I have seven fantastic followers, seven times more the number of followers I wanted to gain in a year. Next year is college year, so that will mean even more dedicated blogging, hopefully.
So I have an elite list of favourite chick-flick-high-school films. To get into the list, the film should have: 1) chicks aka girls 2) humour(because it is a chick-flick) 3) bitchy-ness(same as above) 4) a high school 5) an original story 6) an everlasting impression
As of yesterday, I had 6 films in this list- Heathers, Clueless, Drop Dead Gorgeous, 10 Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls and She's The Man (will write about them someday, promise). Many films have almost made it into the list- Princess Diaries (I like both together), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (I like all 7 together), The Virgin Suicides (very dark humour- not exactly chick-flicky), She's All That (too sweet), Cruel Intentions (too bitchy and no real high school), Slap Her She's French (it just somehow doesn't belong in the same league), and all the John Hughes Brat Pack classics (they're not chick flicks).
And now there is a new member in this elite list, and with great pomp and pleasure I induct *cue drum roll* Easy A!!
Easy A has been inspired by the story of Hester Prynne, the protagonist in Nathaniel Hawthorne's famous novel A Scarlet Letter. But with a very high school twist. Olive Penderghast (I love the name), who is a nobody at her school, becomes the talk of the place when the religious fanatic Marianne overhears her lie to her best friend Rhiannon about losing her virginity over an otherwise boring and Pocket Full of Sunshine-filled weekend. Instead of denying it, Olive likes the attention and soon with her new-found slut status decides to help homosexual Brandon by making him appear straight by testifying to having had sex with him. They go to a party and behind closed doors with an underwear-obstructed key-hole, have really loud fake sex. Rhiannon gets jealous of Olive's popularity and over a very heated phone call, Olive decides to really get into her skank-shoes, and clothes and buys a whole lot of stripper-esque clothes and stitches an 'A' on them, courtesy Hester. She goes to school like this, and everyone is awestruck with the bad-ass attitude and the tramp clothes. However, a number of guys find out about the fake sex thing, and they ask her to lie about having done, well, sexual deeds with them so that they too get a reputation. She does so, in exchange for gift coupons and vouchers, but soon things start looking bleak when Marianne's boyfriend Micah gets an STD and blames it on her. In fact, he is having an affair with the school councellor and wife of english teacher, Mrs. Griffith and got it from her. To save her favourite teacher's marriage, Olive takes the blame, only to get more drastic condemnation from the religious circle that now includes Rhiannon. While all this is happening, for the first time since her bad reputation surfaced, Olive gets asked out on a date by a boy called Anson. She is very happy about this untli she realises that Anson literally wants to pay and have sex with her. She escapes from him, only to run into the only nice guy in school, the mascot-playing Todd. Olive has had a crush on him since eigth grade, and had lost her only opportunity to kiss him while playing Seven Minutes in Heaven, when he was nervous about it. She still lied about doing so on his wish, and knowing this side of hers, he doesn't believe her fallen-woman image. With a little help from her very liberal parents, Olive decides that she will do a webcast telling her story to all of the school, after doing a very slutty-showgirl number at the school game to create interest. The whole film in fact is her telling this story. The film then ends with an awesome tribute to 80s teen films like Say Anything and Breakfast Club.
This was very fresh film. Once again a classic story has been updated to our time to show its never-ending relevance and impact. Clueless was based on Jane Austen's Emma, 10 Things was based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew and She's The Man on again Shakespeare's Twelfth Knight. The obsession with fallen women is still present today, as it was in Hawthorne's days, though the terminology might have changed a bit. Like Hester Olive also battles this image, but unlike her it is after she embraces it due to what it does with ones popularity level. I loved the 80s films references, and the fact that instead of being nerdy looking, Olive is very pretty but still invisible. Her problems are very identifiable, and despite the fame, we understand her loneliness. Along with that, it is very novel in showing the Christian fanatic group of teens, who are generally shunned from such stories due to the unappealing aspect. Also when it ends, I like how it neither glorifies nor condemns sex.
Emma Stone is Awesome! She is one of the genuinely funny, self-loathing and prettiest new actresses. She has a long way ahead. Her Olive is hilarious, cute, gorgeous and plain lovable. She has a great body and face and I personally loved the lingerie type clothes on her. This is the first film with her as the protagonist, and she is charming in the way she handles her whole situtaion. Cannot wait for her to get it on with my-future-husband Andrew Garfield as Gwen Stacey in the upcoming Spiderman reboot! Amanda Bynes as Marianne was fantastic since she always plays a rebel. Also I'm glad she didn't quit acting, despite having played a teenager for what seems like her whole life. I love Dan Byrd, and he is so funny in the fake-sex scene. Penn Badgely was a sweet supporting character, but he ain't no John Cusack. Thomas Hayden Church was pretty convincing too as the cool and mental teacher. Lisa Kudrow and Malcolm Macdowell were there, but only to add to the very strong support cast. The best were Olive's parents played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. Who would not want parents like Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson? I would kill to have parents like Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. They are wacky, witty, radical and just cuddle-able. The world needs more parents like Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson!!
The reason why Easy A is now on the list is because it really does fill all the necessary conditions. Olive is a excellent female character, the film is very very funny, the bitchy-ness is in your face, there is a high school, the story is fantastic and so very properly adapted from a 19th Century classic. And of course, try as you must, one cannot forget the webcast, the crazy chapter names, the fake sex, the religious bimbos, Olive's clothes and just Olive. I guess one of the conditions is also to have a brilliant female protagonist(s) and along with Veronica, Cher, Amber, Kat and Bianca, Cady and Regina and Janice and Gretchen and Karen and Damien, and Viola, Olive is truly unfogettable.
Me finally learning how to put youtube videos on the blog happened along with the release of the trailer of one of the most anticipated films of next year, starring the best actor of all time playing the best character of all time. Coincidence? I think not.
Never Let Me Go is based on the novel with the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro. It tells the story of three "special" people- Kathy, Tommy and Ruth. They are special because they are "clones" made for organ transplantation for "humans" suffering from incurable diseases. When these clones grow-up, they give "donations" and eventually "complete" after a few of them. However, in the school where Kathy, tommy and Ruth grew up, Hailsham, there runs a rumour that if two of the students are in "verifiable love", these donations can be "deferred". I put these words in quotation marks because the whole story is based on our understanding of these words.
*SPOILER ALERT* The film is narrated by a twenty-eight year-old Kathy, who is a carer of the donors now. She is soon going to start donating herself, and now she looks back upon the lives of her two best friends, Ruth and Tommy, and hers. Kathy was always a passive, introverted but affectionate girl who fell for the sensitive and misunderstood Tommy since they were kids. But the more extroverted Ruth vies for his attention early on and they become inseparable until they reach their late teens. By the time they're all eighteen, they leave Hailsham and go to this place called the Cottages, where they meet other clones and hear for the first time about the deferrers. Tommy works out that the artwork that was taken by the students in Hailsham to be put in something called the Gallery, was a way to look into the souls of the students and see if they were truly in love. He tells this to Kathy, and also that it could not happen for him and Ruth, but rather with him and Kathy as she had submitted many of her sketches to the Gallery. Ruth however intervenes and due to an incident with a porn magazine, manipulates Kathy into feeling miserable about herself and her feelings for Tommy. Their friendship breaks, along with the separation of Ruth and Tommy. Kathy starts her job as a carer, where she's rather good, until nine years later when she runs into Ruth. Ruth has already donated twice and is very weak unlike Tommy, as she informs Kathy, who has also done two donations and is doing very well. They all embark on a trip together to see a washed-up boat they had heard about and here Ruth apologises to Kathy for keeping Tommy and her apart all these years. She admits that they always belonged together, but due to the deferrers story, and a fear of being left alone if they both got together, she had done everything. She now wanted to make amends and so she gives them the adress of the Madame who represented the Gallery so that they can apply to get deferred. Kathy and Tommy finally come out with their feelings towards each other, and go to see Madame, only to find out that the whole deferrers story was indeed a rumour, and the Gallery was a way for them to try and show others not what was in the children's souls, but that like normal children, they had souls. Kathy and Tommy leave the place empty-handed and with a bleak future ahead of them.
The basic plot of the film, if you notice, is very similar to Michael Bay's The Island. Except, the story isn't. Never Let Me Go is the most poignant film I have seen about matters of life and death, mixed with science fiction and a truly dystopian world. Beautifully written, the story touches the very core of your heart and leaves a permanent mark, very much like the scars on the donors' bodies. The existential metaphor of what our lives on this earth is like, the role of love, the role of those in charge, and our "completion" or death is so fitting, it's amazing. I don't remember actually crying throughout a film, but I did for this one. I mean, I knew the story as I have read a bit of the book and searched on it, but it is really frightening and touching at the same time. Two things made me weep- the metaphor, and the relationship between Kathy and Tommy. The metaphor was just so fascinating and terrifying. Everything in the story- the children who wear these tracking devices on their hands, who are scared to cross the fence of the school, who wait for days when the old clothes and toys from other people arrive for them as gifts, the grown up kids so uncomfortable in the real world, the fascination with sex, the idea that all of their "originals" are from the trash of the society like prostitutes and thieves, the deferrers rumour, the donations, the Gallery and the completion; just everything stands for something in this world. I especially loved the deferrers story. The idea that somehow our lives can be better, or in the case of the characters in the story without donations, for even a few years because we're in love, I mean isn't that what we live for? And of course the whole significance of art, that it is the only way to reveal if we have hearts and souls in us, because only through art can you show your love to others.
Kathy's and Tommy's relationship has to be one of the most heartbreaking love stories I have ever seen. They were always supposed to be together, but never got the chance. The way Kathy looks at Tommy, especially after he and Ruth start going out, is so sad. She regretfully remarks, "I think girls are always mean to the boys they like. So maybe Ruth had liked him all along. Maybe I should have teased him too." Instead she was his truest friend, and treasured the cassette he had bought for her. This cassette, called Songs after Dark by Judy Bridgewater, contains the words "never let me go" and Kathy is shown often listening to it in the dark, thinking about Tommy. When they finally get together, their life together is cut short by the donations and the disproving of the deferrers rumour. When Tommy cries out in anguish, much like how he did as a child, Kathy as always comforts him. Kathy is shown looking at him when he has his operations done. The film ends with her thinking about him.
All the performances were brilliant. Carey Mulligan has such a beautiful voice, and her narration is very impressive. She is the observer, and we feel her sentiments by the way she views things. I personally liked this performance of hers much better than in An Education, and she really has a long long way to go. I hate Keira Knightley and I hated Ruth, so that's that. Now coming to Mr. Garfield, well, he's simply splendid. Tommy is slightly confused, very innocent and emotional, and Andrew plays him perfectly. His character in this film, to me, was a mixture of Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network and Sheldon in I'm Here. And have I mentioned before how much I love his voice? A great deal to answer that question. He and Mulligan had excellent chemistry. One of my favourite scenes in when they have been told about how the deferrer story is untrue, and they both are sitting on the sofa holding back their tears. While Kathy is reserved as usual, trying to still smile, Tommy's face is full of hopeless sorrow. The child actors- Izzy Meikle-Small, Ella Purnell and Charlie Rowe, who played Kathy, Ruth and Tommy as students in Hailsham were really good too. Purnell actually reminded me of a smaller Eva Green, but Small (??) looked exactly like a younger Mulligan. Rowe was just adorable.
The settings are breath-taking, especially the boat on the beach. The whole film has a very mellow cinematography, sort of like a grey dream, which is exactly what it was for the clones. The music is lovely, moreso whenever the "never let me go" song plays.
I definitely recommend everyone to watch it. With a box of tissues by your side.
NYTimes made 14 actors act out 14 silent movie types in segments of 1 minute each. The only silent movies I've ever seen are Charlie Chaplin's and Laurel and Hardy's. So I cannot say which film or which actor the actors in the video are portraying. Hence I decided to give each segment my own name, just based on the story being told.
1) Javier Bardem- Bittersweet Symphony 2) James Franco- Mirror Mirror on the Wall, who's the Dreamiest of them All? 3) Natalie Portman- The Drama Queen/Too Gorgeous for Her Own Good 4) Jesse Eisenberg- I'm CEO Bitch! 5) Chloe Mortez- Anger Management 6) Matt Damon- Read the Curse Words off My Lips 7) Michael Douglas- The Chair/ The Boss 8) Jennifer Lawrence- Thriller/ Rape in the Valley 9) Noomi Rapace- Total Effect (everything together makes the shot work- the singing, her earing, the cigarette, the perfectly polished nails, the dazzling microphone) 10) Vincent Cassel- Happy Feet/Fly Me to the Moon 11) Anthony Mackie- Run Forrest Run! 12) Robert Duvall- Gilette/ Shaving for Dummies 13) Lesley Manville- Telephone Conversation/ Wrong Number 14) Tilda Swinton- Angels with Dirty Faces/ A Prayer
My absolute favourites have to be Natalie Portman, Noomi Rapace, Vincent Cassel and Tilda Swinton. I was very happy that younger actors like Jesse Eisenberg, Chloe Mortez and Jennifer Lawrence got a chance too. Vincent Cassel is bloody sexy. And Tilda Swinton is an absolute Goddess, I love her to bits.
So, the Sexiest Man Alive thing is out again, coinciding with this rather wonderful quote I found and put as the title. This is my own little list of faaaiiiinnneee men (actors only). I made it under 40...just so that I put pics of people other than Johnny Depp.. Enjoy!
Tom Sturridge- though he is practically a beggar, god does he look good....
Ryan Gosling- My earthquake man, I can never get enough...
Andrew Garfield- Pretty darn perfect
Daniel Radcliffe- 'Cuz being funny does matter.
Ian Somerhalder- Them eyes...
Joseph Gordon-Levitt- adorable till the end of days. Love his smile!
This short film shows that you don't need elaborate sets or groundbreaking story to show what a romantic movie can be. It shows how simple and how difficult love can be. It shows the beauty of the world through two robots.
I'm not going to write about as it will defeat its purpose of being so special.
Spike Jonze is a genius and Andrew Garfield is lovely...
*Insert Rocky's Victory Music* So I finally finally finally watched The Social Network yesterday. I've waited for a year for it to come out and on 28th October, 2010- a full month later than its release in US, I finally saw it...and was it any good? YEAH BABY!! It was everything I imagined it to be and so much more(if there ever was a more clichéd line, I would've written that too).
I'm not going to really write the plot- Wikipedia and the million other reviews that I've personally read on the film will fill you in on that. I want to write about why I liked this film so much. It's because it is current. If you know me at all, you would know how much I love the 60s and well almost every other time period in history except now (and the 80s as they sucked). This is because, as is the case with almost everything and me, no films have really captured the essence of this decade, or rather the people of this decade. Up in the Air came pretty close in grasping the idea of surviving in the 21st century, but again it was for an older audience. True Anna Kendrick was adorable and George Clooney is an evergreen hunk, but the youth of today have never truly been portrayed in a film. And this is exactly what The Social Network achieves. It is not the Facebook part, as I've been trying to explain to countless number of people, it's the story behind it.
What The Social Network shows us is how people fit in in today's world. Mark Zuckerberg made Facebook over an angry break-up with a girl. He made it to become cool. He made it so that, as it is being drilled into our genertaion's head everyday, he can be unique. It is the paradox of today's youth that we all want to do something individually so we can all fit in together. From this we see that Zuckerberg's only friend Eduardo Saverin becomes his most fatal enemy. The film mirrors our world, one which is obsessed with the internet, statuses, social standing, shares, achieveing numerical extremes etc. And on the contrary to what you might think, I really liked all of it. I like the What You See Is What You Get idea...and this is very splendidly captured in the film, making it more real and understandable to me than any other work of fiction made about my generation. Also it was refreshing to see how it is the simple matters that bring about big changes. Zuckerberg made Facebook because he had been refused by a girl and was drunk and needed social acceptance. Sort of like how in A Beautiful Mind John Nash refuted some Adam Smith concept based on techniques on picking up girls. But then again this is Facebook, and that was some economic principle.
The characters in the film are all real people (except Erica Albright) but as it is based upon the book "Accidental Billionaires" which was mostly written in Eduardo Saverin's POV, they might not be exactly like this in their real lives...but I sure do hope so. So first, Mark Zuckerberg- give me a flawed hero and I'll give you a devoted Nikhat. I don't know how many people will agree with me here, but I understood Mark. On two levels. First, I like his whole straightforward way of thinking and talking, even though it gets him into trouble with people. He is a science person, a math person and somewhere in his mind it is right to call a spade a spade and I get it. He talks not to impress people, but to truly state everything going on in his head, even when he is being mean. Second, I understand his whole need to fit in by doing somethig extraordinary. I mean that's what I try to do through this blog, something unique that people would like, though on a microscopic level when compered to Zuckerberg (I actually have a mild phobia of computers for that matter). Also he is a geek and for decades now the whole geek becoming a cool dude has been a popular subject in films. It is very obvious with Zuckerberg too as he was fixated on the super-exclusive Harvard clubs and keeping Facebook cool. He is Facebook in the film, starting at a point and not really being sure of what he'll turn into. Despite all his misgivings, he is very likeable and one feels for his "social" awkwardness. The next character is that of Eduardo Saverin, the protagonist of "Accidental Billionaires". He is the ex-bestfriend of Zuckerberg and like him, being cool is very important for him. Though unllike Zuckerberg, he gets into one of these coveted Harvard clubs, but he values his friendship more. He is the sweetest character in the film, who is also a very wonderful friend. He does a lot for Zuckerberg's sake, but gets screwed in the end...well sort of- he did get 5% of Facebook's shares amounting to 1.1 billion dollars. I loved Eduardo because he was such a nice guy and also damn cool as an angry young man. Sean Parker is the next character. He is that guy who was the very first to rebel and becomes an instant idol to everyone. He has all the charisma and all the stories and all the girls, but in the end he is not all that what he seems. I liked him at first, but he is a completely horrible person towards the end. The final two main characters are the Winklevoss twins. They were funny. I liked the whole subplot about them as the priviledged, good-looking, perfectly brought-up "gentlemen of Harvard" and how they have to tackle the problem of being intellectually robbed of an idea.
David Fincher is GOD! When I heard that he was making a film on Facebook all those months back, I was psyched and apprehensive at the same time. This is because this film is so unlike all his previous films. Though the testosterone level is high in this film too, as it is in most of his other films, it does not have the dark and gritty feel to it. As the film shows only a period in the lives of the characters, albeit the most important one, it was not very biographical. Fincher had a very youthful approach to it. Yes there was college rivalry and legal drama and corporate disputes involved, but it was all done in a very calm manner, so the film does not seem angry, but rather a chain of events following a group of people who are neither right nor wrong. The only other Fincher film it can be compared to is The Zodiac as it was also sort of a journalistic look on true events, but it is so much more modern and approachable. This might be the most congenial film that Fincher has ever made, and it was expertly done so. As Ebert said, "The Social Network is a great film not because of its dazzling style or visual cleverness, but because it is splendidly well-made."
Aaron Sorkin's screenplay is impeccable. Fincher could not have done this without him. Though I had been "warned" by people that I might not understand it because it is computer-jargon filled, none of that happened. My 10 year-old brother understood all of it...well mostly. It has some fantastic tongue-in-cheek and high-level humour which might have passed over his head, but did not fail to impress me. Lord knows I'm 18 and I still laugh on "chicken" jokes. It also has many unforgettable lines, and the dialogue is what keeps the film going, in a way that no other Fincher movie has. The film is well-structured, though it follows a non-linear timeline. This is because the story obviously focuses more on the people, like Facebook itself.
And now the actors. You must understand that though I consider myself a film buff, what I am first and foremost is... a girl. And this film was absolute candy for my one fine and other infected eye. Except Panic Room and Alien 3 (the only Fincher film I haven't seen) all of his films have faaaiiine men, and The Social Network most definitely takes the cake. Jesse Eisenberg is so adorable! He is a very good actor and I thought that no other "geeky" actors like Michael Cera and Shia LaBeouf etc. could have played Zuckerberg like he did. He was fun, condescending, brilliant and pityful all at the same time. Andrew Garfield is my future husband...he is so hot and cute at the same time, and those sexy suits are plain orgasmic. He is definitely an actor to watch. I loved him as the senstive and loyal Eduardo and unlike Zuckerberg/Eisenberg's rather stoic display of emotions, he was very expressive and it was just transplendent! Armie Hammer, who played both the Winklevoss twins was quite sexy. Just something about very tall guys in Ivy League rowing teams, you know. I've read people who want an award to be given for creating this effect of twins, but honestly Leaves of Grass came out this year and it has Edward Norton in a double role as twins- one as a professor and the other as a drug pusher. 'Nuff said. Finally, if Justin Timberlake can bring Sexy Back, he can definitely play Sean parker. I thought he was very convincing as the charismatic bad-ass, and his looks did help. Oh and Rooney Mara, who played the fictional Erica, is gorgeous and I cannot wait to see her in Fincher's next, the film adaptation of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" along with Daniel Craig.
My Oscar predictions for the film- it should be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor for Eisenberg and Best Supporting Actor for Andrew...and I really hope that it wins Director, Screenplay and Supporting Actor.
So in the end of all this, I must say to one and all that please go watch The Social Network. It is the story of our generation and one of it's biggest milestones. Comment when you do.