Saturday, April 19, 2014

In Secret

I forgot to review this after seeing it back in February.

It's probably for the best.

The acting is good: Jessica Lange plays a doting mother to weird, sickly son played by Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy!), when orphan Elizabeth Olsen comes to live with them. You probably don't know Elizabeth Olsen, but she's the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Elizabeth—and she can act!

Elizabeth (as Therese) gets railroaded into marrying her sickly cousin, and the family moves to Paris to open a shop. The trouble starts when she runs into her decidedly attractive husband's friend (Llewin Davis himself, Oscar Isaacs) and they—shall we say?—"hit it off".

Because this is based on a 19th century French novel by Emile Zola, Therese and Laurent (Isaacs) decide their life would be perfect if they murdered Malfoy.

19th century + French = It doesn't work out well for anyone. Including the audience.

I don't really fault the direction per se. Charlie Stratton whom I know best from the '80s Gremlins knock-off Munchies (not to be confused the Critters or Ghoulies) seems comfortable moving the camera and setting scenes and moving things along. Editing is fine. Music is fine.

But why?

Hey, I have that reaction. I had that same reaction to the last Therese movie we saw. "Is this a story that must be told?"

Or, maybe more accurately: "You're going to pour millions of dollars and months into your life into making something, and you make this?"

So, I guess it's a matter of taste. But, in fairness, that's true of most award-bait movies and I don't know why they get the end of year "boffo!" treatment from critics and the Academy while this is in the dungheap of winter. (Well, I know part of the reason: pedigrees matter a whole lot.)

As odd as it sounds, it's fine for what it is. It's just not something we care for.

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