Beautiful Boy (U.K., 2019)
Starring: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan
Written By: Luke Davies, Felix van Groeningen
Directed By: Felix van Groeningen
Running time: 120 minutes
Curiosities: Beautiful Boy is the adaptation for the big screen not of one but of two autobiographies: Beautiful Boy, by David Sheff, and Tweak, by his son Nic – both focused on the latter’s meth addiction.
[cover taken from Amazon Prime]
Beautiful Boy follows the path of David Sheff in discovering his son’s dependence on methamphetamines and drugs in general, in coming to terms with reality and especially in his desperate and annihilating attempt to save Nic, his son, from the abyss. The focus is undoubtedly on the father, but what we see in “Beautiful Boy” is also (and above all) Nic’s journey, the difficult and bumpy path of a boy who tries to save himself and get out of addiction with everything that follows, including relapses. There is a moment, during the vision of “Beautiful Boy”, in which you feel you can breathe a sigh of relief, thinking that yes, this time Nic has made it out of the tunnel of addiction and will not drug anymore.
It’s a sweet illusion that lasts a little because no matter the progress and improvements: in the next scene, Nic goes back to drugs, and then to hate for it, while around him there is a broken family and especially a father who, desperate, tries in every way to do something to help his son but can only stand by and wait for the worst. The story is interspersed with flashbacks that not only show to the spectator the relationship between the father and the son, giving depth and realism to their bond, but make us clash against the almost alienating difference between the Nic child, boy, and the more adult, allowing us to follow and better understand David’s thoughts, anxieties, fears, and regrets.
Touching, deep, true-story based
Available on: Amazon Prime
Trailer: Click Here.
The Lady Without Camelias (Italy, 1953)
Written By: Michelangelo Antonioni
Directed By: Michelangelo Antonioni
Running time: 105 minutes
Curiosities: During the movie, the famous Hollywood magazine, a well known cinematographic magazine of the 1950-1960s, is shown and cited.
(pic by: it.wikipedia.org)
Clara, a young lady who works as a shop assistant, is discovered and selected by movie executive Gianni who falls in love and marries her. He convinces Clara to choose movies where she can demonstrate to the public her acting skills and not only her body and beauty. Nonetheless, the last movie he chooses for her where she has to interpret Joan of Arc will be a flop, causing to the spouses an economic crisis. In order to face this difficult situation, Clara starts acting in that kind of movie Gianni himself before advised against. Their marriage will start being a disaster, pushing Carla to run away with a young diplomat: even this love story will end up pretty badly. Indeed, since her lover doesn’t really love her, Clara will accept a life without love.
“The lady without Camelias” is considered as one of the most important Antonioni’s movies, a turning point in the Italian cinematographic narrative, shifting the focus and attention from the search of neorealism elements, that had characterized the Italian cinematographic panorama up to that moment, toward a more detailed and refined study of human feelings, a topic that will be the center of whole Antonioni’s themes.
Thoughtful, introspective, uneasy.
Trailer: Not available
Nymphomaniac: Volumes I & II (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, UK 2013):
Produced by: Marie Cecilie Gade and Louise Vesth
Directed by: Hannes Stöhr
Written by: Lars Von Trier
Genre: Erotic-art movie
Running time: Volume I: 117 min (145 uncut); Volume II: 124 min (180 uncut)
Curiosities: The promotional campaign of the movie was 14 posters of the actors having an orgasm.
“Nymphomaniac” narrates the story of a woman, Joe, found bleeding in an alley by Seligman, an old and quiet man, who decides to take care of her. She tells the man about her past and the relationship she has with the sexual sphere, starting from her childhood. The woman’s intention is to share with the man how the sexuality had dominated every aspect of her life, often ruining the various aspects of the social sphere. This movie is the third of the trilogy “Depression”, and for this production, pornography is the expedient of the genius of Lars Von Trier to deal with depression; the hypersexuality of Joe is the element to connect this expedient with the trilogy.
Joe and Seligman, being two people representing the opposites- man and woman, theory and practice, instinct and reason- are a further element of appreciation of the movie, propose a wider vision of the topic represented. The explicit scenes have another meaning to the narrative, structured in eight chapters and characterized by a strong communicative power, to emphasize with the protagonist and reflect on maximum systems of life such as love, sex, and life.
The interiority of Joe is expressed also through the aesthetics and the colors of the movie, resulting to be a proper artwork.
Thought-provoking, Brave, Deep.
Available on: Streaming
Trailer: Click Here
For the screen addict…
Hollywood (USA, 2020):
Written by: Ryan Murphy.
Directed by: Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, and Janet Mock.
Curiosities: Ryan Murphy calls his work “faction”, half facts, half fiction. The series features Vivian Leigh who in “Gone with the wind” played Rossella O’Hara; the Sino-American actress Anna May Wong; Rock Hudson; Hattie McDaniel who was the first African American to win an Oscar; and the feared agent of the stars, Henry Willson. Other characters have a fictional name but their story is inspired by reality, others are the result of the imagination of the creators of the series Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan.
We begin in a post-WWII L.A. with Jack Castello (David Corenswet), an Army veteran desperate to break into the movies by any means necessary — even working as an escort in a gas station managed by Ernie (Dylan McDermott). We go through the stories of various characters: Archie Coleman (Jeremy Pope), a gay, black aspiring screenwriter; Raymond, a half-Filipino director dating the black actress Camille Washington (Laura Harrier); Avis Amberg (Patti LuPone), a silent movie star; and an awkward, young Rock Hudson (Jake Picking), just coming to grips with his own sexuality. A group of outcasts whose dream is to be able to produce a film on the tragic, true story of Peg Entwistle, a young actress who committed suicide a decade earlier by jumping from the monumental Hollywood (land). The tv series is permeated with Ryan Murphy’s style (if you have seen other of his works you know what I’m talking about), who takes the old and glittering Hollywood of memories, but looks at it and describes it with the eyes and awareness of today. The result is a series that captivates and entertains thanks to its good-naturedness, its exaggerations, and its being absolutely implausible and out of any context.
Enjoyable, unexpected, inspirational.
Available on: Netflix.
Trailer: Click here.