What Ingrid Bergman portrayed in Gaslight, Brian Wilson of “The Beach Boys” lived in real life. Exploiting anyone’s insecurity is the key to controlling them, especially in the aftermath of a perfect storm: trauma, pressure to succeed, unappreciated genius and professional relationships with family.
I didn’t watch this as a fan (per se) but by the end was inspired to listen to the work of such an historically influential musician, whose greatest career achievement was considered an absolute flop by critics at the time. Though rumors abound, Wilson himself considers this film to be accurate. His only complaint seems to be the generous depictions of sinister individuals, who were painted too broadly. (Dare I consider it ironic that the biopic’s non-linear structure seems to invoke just as much criticism as the subject’s music?)
Weaving triumph and tragedy through his early career and later involuntary isolation, along with his family life and personal creative process, the movie is a celebration of how a kind and brave wonan came into his life just in the nick of time. I was relieved this didn’t turn out to be a salacious melodrama; horrific suffering took place at the hands of a professional, who took advantage of the fragile mind he was supposed to help heal. Yet love and mercy (as per Wilson’s subsequent song) won. Anything less than an attempt to honor that would disrespect his journey to healing.
How does a foreign man suddenly end up a U.S. citizen, welcomed into the family of a long- missing child? While it’s impossible to fully understand the grief of those keeping vigil by the window, waiting for a phone call that may never come, it is curious that every expert agrees there are many loose ends. Is it merely that hindsight is 20/20 (as the old saying goes) or is there a more sinister explanation? Though the testimony of an identity thief certainly isn’t everything, it seems to corroborate the suspicion of at least one specialist…
Masterfully crafted, the details of this publicly documented incident are recounted chronologically by a rotation of several family members, some government employees, a smattering of friends/ neighbors and one relentless private investigator. During the lengthier portions of each person’s story, voiceover serves as narration for actors’ portrayals of the events being described. By the end of the film you have about as much information as everyone involved to decide for yourself what you think happened.
Family is complicated, as is small town interpersonal politics. The addition of fame and a potential fortune amplifies tensions that crescendo towards a battle for personal pride. When a hapless salesman realizes his boozy old father plans to travel cross- country to claim a non-existent prize based on a misunderstanding, it’s becomes clear he’s just […]
Could there be anyone with worse luck than otherwise ordinary accountant, Eugene? Actually, yes: the daughter of a wealthy businessman, Valerie who recently went missing. With a chemistry that embodies cinematic fixture, the buddy comedy, detective, Raymond is unfortunately paired with the hapless klutz. Together they endure a series of mishaps, each more wacky than […]
“If you take all of the elements that make good television and do the exact opposite, you have ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’. Low production values, simple set, an unlikely star. Yet, it worked.” –Margaret Whitmer While the documentary itself is not particularly remarkable, the subject should never be forgotten. Yet that’s what makes its simplicity perfectly […]
I would say this isn’t for the faint of heart but that might lead you to believe its focus is on the physical trauma of survival. Obviously, injuries from a car crash need more than a band aid and an ice pack. But imagine you woke up trapped in a vehicle. Even worse: without knowing […]
A mesmerizing yet contemplative movie about a mission through space to refuel the dying Sun with a bomb. In place of aliens and lasers battles, breathtaking visuals coupled with a visceral urgency illuminate the self-sacrifice that undergirds its characters’ fierce determination to save Humanity.
Simon: “The life that I was trying for is over. The life that I had is gone and I’m feeling so damn sorry for myself that it’s difficult to breathe.” Simon, an artist recently assaulted during a home invasion and Carol, a lonely single mother with a sickly son are the two people least likely […]
That so many sociological/ psychological/ economical/ political themes are presented in one Sci-Fi action adventure will either intrigue or infuriate you. When and where time is money– literal currency– one of the poorest teams up with one of the richest to become Bonnie & Clyde with a Robinhood complex. Intentionally or not, the story explores […]
Everyone is at least familiar with Alfred Hitchcock, especially iconic classics, such as Psycho and The Birds. But for some reason his adaptation of a stage play that’s right up his alley tends to get overlooked. Obviously, there’s dramatic tension in a slashing knife, a flock of pecking birds, or any other bloody spectacle. But […]