Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Paloma Faith and Jane Fonda
Release Date: December 4, 2015 (USA)
“Fred and Mick, two old friends, are on vacation in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred, a composer and conductor, is now retired. Mick, a film director, is still working. They look with curiosity and tenderness on their children’s confused lives, Mick’s enthusiastic young writers, and the other hotel guests. While Mick scrambles to finish the screenplay for what he imagines will be his last important film, Fred has no intention of resuming his musical career. But someone wants at all costs to hear him conduct again.” -via IMDb
I didn’t know what to expect when I first began to watch this film. I had not heard anything about it but I can’t pass up a Michael Caine film. The opening scene, in which you see The Retrosettes performing “You Got the Love”, gave me chills. I love the song, but I found it to be a beautiful scene in general. Throughout the entire film, the soundtrack impressed me and I really appreciate films that choose the proper songs to be featured. Whether it was Paloma Faith’s cameo and song moments or Ceiling Gazing by Mark Kozelek (who also appears in the film), the songs were all great additions. Kozelek went on to write three songs for Sun Kil Moon about his experience on the set, the actors, etc. One of which is Birds of Flims. Here are the lyrics, or watch the video here.
I have previously mentioned my love for Paul Dano in previous film reviews and nothing has changed. I believe he adds character to any film he is in and is a greatly underrated actor. Michael Caine is amazing, as per usual and it is no wonder why he is an Academy Award Winner. Harvey Keitel adds comedic relief with almost every role he has and this film is no different. It may just be the fact that I laugh at almost everything, but I find him hilarious. Rachel Weisz is pretty high up on my favorite actress list. I find her absolutely gorgeous and quite talented. Her character in this film, has quite a big role in the film, whether you realize it right away or not. There is a scene in which she is talking to her father, (part of it is in the trailer, watch below) and the emotion involved, along with a good script, was perfect. It was also nice to see Tom Lipinski in something other than Suits. I will have to look into more of his films to see the rest of what he can offer as an actor. As for Jane Fonda, she does her role well- no surprise there. It’s not that her character isn’t important, but I just couldn’t get attached to her like I did the other characters. She’s no doubt talented and this film is another one in her filmography list that proves it.
You can probably tell by the title of the Film, that a big aspect of the film is age; the differences between generations and also, the similarities. To see the contrast between Caine/Keitel’s characters and Dano/Weisz’s was touching in a way. Wikipedia surprisingly did a good job of explaining it (shocker for Wiki, I know):
It is a story of eternal between age and youth, the past and the future, life and death, commitment and the betrayal. […] In-between there are morsels of chic existential philosophies.
There were a few moments when I was wondering where the film was going. It was right at those moments, the artistry of it, or part of the plot would emerge and keep my interest. The film was shot mostly in Switzerland, with a few scenes done in Rome and Venice, so the scenery is absolutely beautiful. Sorrentino definitely knew how to use the mountainsides to his advantage when portraying his creativity. I actually stopped the film and went back to a few scenes just so I could take it all in. There are also scenes in which they are watching a bubble performance artist, and those alone almost took my breath away. I found it so simple, but so beautiful.
Towards the end, there is a scene that I was not expecting and I still don’t know how to feel about it. I understand why it happens, I understand all of it- but when I first watched this, it was although my body and brain couldn’t work together to allow me to handle it. I’m not sure if that will make sense to anyone, but if you watch the film, understand the scene I am speaking of, please let me know your thoughts and how you felt about it.
After that scene, all the other ones that followed were perfect. I had been waiting for several of them to happen, (or wishfully thinking that they would)- and I was thrilled when they did in fact happen.
Overall, I can see why this movie is not for everyone and some may not appreciate aspects of it. However, I appreciate the artistry and the simplistic beauty of it. I could relate to so many of the quotes- it would almost be impossible to choose which one I love the most. I am highly impressed.
Watch the Official Trailer Here
Did you see it? What about Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty? Should I give that film a chance as well? Let me know in the comments below or find me on Facebook!