I guess lately I've been noticing how generally unskillful a lot of actors can be. Yes I have an opinion on things I know nothing about. I bought a movie ticket!
I went to see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow a week or so ago and it shone like a beacon in this department. Maybe they all tried too hard or maybe they felt they needn't try at all. Left me thinking they'dve been better off gambling on unknowns rather than blowing the budget on the beautiful Jude and the uncomfortably-fitted Gwyneth. Don't even get me started on Ms Jolie and her eyepatch - pirates are *so* last year, Angelina. (I think Giovanni Ribisi must be offering "hire me for two movies, get one free" at the moment - he seems to be everywhere - sometimes I think he went to the Keanu School of Acting)
The movie I ended up seeing was Finding Neverland, 8:30pm at the new Botany Berkeley. God that theatre's comfortable. Perfect seat, feet up on the handrail in front, lots of leg room for the slouchers amoung us, screen dead centre - and, unusually, an icecream - chocolate no less - and I don't really like chocolate so what's up with that?
Pretty good evening so far, my shoes were off and I was happy and then, it got better; the movie started. And the skill of the actors cast in this movie began revealing itself - subtle, confident, a gentle steady hand. Johnny Depp - restrained, accented. Easily wore the intelligence and talent of the writer J M Barrie with a lonliness that left him when he shared scenes with the Llewelyn Davies family. Kate Winslet - widow with 4 ruff-and-tumble boys she worked very hard and with such grace to raise. Her mother, Julie Christie - stiff, domineering. The love for her daughter gradually shone through her sterness born of the period and situation. Dustin Hoffman - a playhouse owner, very similar if a lot quieter than the playhouse owner in Shakespeare in Love, with faith and love for Barrie and his talent, with - gosh, like.. hardly any lines, a small supporting role really and yet you knew when he was on the screen - a quiet command. They were all like that. Highly skilled, nicely cast, wonderful story of J M Barrie at the time he wrote the play Peter Pan.
Oh, and don't forget the boys - four young boys playing the parts of George, Jack, Peter and Michael Llewelyn Davies. The young boy who played Peter, Freddie Highmore, has since been cast again with Johnny Depp, as Charlie in the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I dunno - how do kids do that kind of thing? act, I mean - in front of people - just the way the director tells them. Hell I can't even get mine to sit on chairs properly!
The cinematography was lovely, some of the imagination sequences just so delightful; not too many of them and they were not overdone. The music was really good, too. This movie just got it right in so many ways without being bogged down with slop and sentimentality although it had all the ingredients to do so - that talented cast kept it real and touching. I don't know directing from my elbow but I'm sure that's all part of what makes this film well worth the admission price and then some.
And yes, I cried, but no wracking sobs, and only near the end. Just a few great big fat teardrops for the bonds between the different characters. I was wrong thinking it was going to be overly sad - it's quietly delightful, and gently funny, sometimes sad, and touchingly hopeful.