Movie Mom

Movie Mom


In the Cut

posted by rkumar
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Extremely strong language including racist and homophobic comments
Nudity/Sex:Extremely explicit sexual references and situations, including nudity
Alcohol/Drugs:A lot of drinking and smoking, characters get drunk
Violence/Scariness:Graphic violence including very bloody body parts and murder scenes
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:2003

Meg Ryan sheds more than her clothes in this would-be steamy thriller. She sheds her twinkle. We don’t get the nose-wrinkling smile. No adorable befuddlement. No irresistible misting of the eyes. Unfortunately, that leaves her — and us — with not much of a performance. And unfortunately the script leaves us with not much of a movie.

Ryan plays Franny, an English professor who is deeply moved by words. She drinks in the scraps of poetry on the subway placards. She writes down the latest slang terms she hears from her students. And when a police detective (always-watchable Mark Ruffalo) comes to ask whether she saw anything on the night of a murder, she writes down a word he used to describe the body: “disarticulated.” But she holds her own words in, communicating very little to anyone except for her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh).

Franny and the detective begin an intensely charged affair, but they know very little about each other and the very intensity in the midst of the investigation of a series of brutal makes them pull away from each other. Franny even begins to wonder whether the detective may be the killer. Threats loom all around her, including a needy ex-boyfriend (a stringy-looking Kevin Bacon) and a student (the charismatic Sharrieff Pugh) who seems interested in a much closer relationship.

Director Jane Campion uses arty tricks like a hand-held camera and a rust-colored cast to the settings to try to make the movie about something deeper. She may want it to seem dreamlike, even nightmarish. But it just feels incoherent. The verbal and physical encounters that are supposed to be dark and edgy and sexy are just flat. Ryan can handle dramatic roles, as she showed in When a Man Loves a Woman and Flesh and Bone. But she does not have enough to work with in the affectless Franny. The story itself is just weak, with an especially dopey ending that seems grafted on from another movie. If this were a smarter or more linear or more focused movie, I might think that Franny’s reaction to the detective — first impulsively getting too close and then impulsively pushing him away — was a reflection of the character’s conflicts about herself or perhaps symbolic of the human ambivalence about intimacy, physical and emotional. But I think it was just over-heated and muddled.

Parents should know that this movie is very close to an NC-17. It has exceptionally explicit sexual references and situations and extremely strong language, including racist and homophobic comments. There is nudity, including scenes in a strip bar. The movie also has very grisly images including bloody body parts and blood-drenched rooms. Characters are killed. The movie includes a lot of smoking and drinking, including drunkenness.

Families who see this movie should talk about the importance of Franny’s story about how her parents got engaged. How did the director use the way the camera moved and the color schemes of the settings to help tell the story?

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the better Sea of Love and Final Analysis.



Previous Posts

Pride
The ingredients for this film were so irresistible that it is a unexpected bonus to find that it is so much better than it needed to be. It's based on a true story of extraordinary kindness, generosity, and friendship and it stars a bunch of adorable English actors (Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy) w

posted 6:00:25am Dec. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Ava DuVernay of "Selma"
My favorite movie of the year is "Selma," the story of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital, Montgomery, to bring attention to the barriers the

posted 9:41:45pm Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Smile of the Week: A Boy and a Penguin
This reminds me a little of the depiction of a child's world in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes and Barnaby. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iccscUFY860[/youtube] Many thanks to Slate for this and the others on its list of the year's best ads.

posted 12:06:45pm Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Mel Torme and Judy Garland: Christmas Song
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaEedtRHklg[/youtube] I love it that Judy Garland sings "rainbows" instead of "reindeer."

posted 8:00:57am Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?
Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don't seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, and see if you can think of one quotable line from any of them. That doesn't mean they aren't well wri

posted 3:58:57pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.