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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

A really good film from Alfonso Cuarón...

Posted on 2007.01.09 at 12:39

I just wanted to say we (me, my husband, our daughter, my husband's best friend) finally got to see a film I've been hearing great things about, made from a book I really admire by P. D. James.

Children of Men, it's called.

I thought it was excellent, but I wanted to say so here, since it's a movie I'd feel the poorer for not having seen. It's got timeless themes undergirding it, but it also speaks to the moment -- vividly. The acting is all top-quality, the cinematography and film editing super.

Alfonso Cuarón also made The Prisoner of Azkaban, and I can see some similarities. This film really gives the audience a pounding -- but a good pounding -- emotionally, mentally and viscerally.

It's got a few flaws, but they don't take away from the quality of the film. (Happily, watching it on DVD will correct the one that most bothers me, if I can wait that long to see it again.)

Here's a link to the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, at the Online Film Critic's Society -- OFCS, and its site at IMDb.

Note: When you comment, please remember to mark anything that reveals the plot with a "SPOILERS" notice. Thanks!

~ Mechtild


(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2007-01-09 19:42 (UTC) (Link)
They are both fantastic, but I want to marry Michael Caine in this film, I love him so much as the character he plays.
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2007-01-09 20:05 (UTC) (Link)
I think I just cried at the end, or about ten minutes from the end, in a certain scene, but I don't want to say in case someone reads this who hasn't yet seen the film.

Actually, I thought the film downplayed some of the biblical referents. My husband said he wanted to read the book now (I've been telling him to read it for years). "Is the film as good as the book?" I could say, like for LotR, no, the book was richer, but I couldn't imagine a better film made from it.
notabluemaia at 2007-01-09 20:04 (UTC) (Link)
I thought that it was excellent, too, and that it would even become better with numerous watchings, as there seemed to be so much going on visually that set up the apocalyptic world and its mores. I remained a bit removed from it, perhaps because of holiday fatigue, but was interested throughout. It struck me as fine filmmaking that when the couple are found so silent, we knew their characters so well that when the dog moved, it was clear that they had not died. (and I'd love a movie about the back story on her, and another about what happens with the Human Project. Could be a series...)
mechtild at 2007-01-09 20:10 (UTC) (Link)
It's a rich film. I dreamed about it and I've thought of it quite a bit today. My husband wants to watch it on DVD because he felt like there was so much detail to see in the sets they created that he'd like a chance to see better: the billboards, the leaflets, the detritus everywhere; the personal things lying about in homes and offices and other interior sets. AND so he can listen to it on headphones, since he felt like he missed a lot of dialogue. I want to watch it on DVD so I can press the mute button before the end credits start. ;)
shirebound at 2007-01-09 20:26 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for reviewing it!
mechtild at 2007-01-09 21:30 (UTC) (Link)
Well, it wasn't much of a review, Shirebound! :D But I didn't want to give anything away, since I am guessing few have already seen it. I'm strangling to say more, but know I would spill too many beans if I did. So I thought I'd just "rec" it, while it was still in theatres.
hobbitlove83 at 2007-01-09 22:31 (UTC) (Link)
Awww, I'm really sorry I missed it in the theater- I've been a fan of Alfonso ever since I've seen Y tu Mamma Tambien, and I still remember my squees when I saw him in the flesh in Leicester Square, London during the premiere of PoA...

I'll just have to wait for the DVD.

I'm glad though you enjoyed it, Mechtild!
mechtild at 2007-01-09 23:18 (UTC) (Link)
It will still be good on DVD. In fact, it will be a nice luxury to re-view scenes. Although the cinematography is excellent, and although every film benefits from being seen on the big screen, this is not a "spectacle" sort of film in which a great deal is lost on a smaller screen.

You saw him in person? How cool!
pearlette at 2007-01-09 23:25 (UTC) (Link)
Aaaaarrggghhh, no spoilers, precious! :)

I didn't go to see this.

Obviously I should have done!

I thought it looked depressing. Although I really like Cuaron, and Clive Owen is sexy, and I also really like Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine as an ancient hippy??? - irresistable!

Why on earth didn't I go to see it ...????

Probably because it would remind me too much of Blair's Britain. :D JOKE!!!!! :D

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Mechtild. :)

You've made me want to see it now.

mechtild at 2007-01-10 00:06 (UTC) (Link)
The film is bleak, yes, even harrowing, as is the book. What a picture of human nature it provides at its Orchish and Mordorish worst! Yet it also portrays what's good in human nature, mixed in with all the bad, even if it is scant in evidence. It's there; it's real; and it's the basis of the film's hope, which makes that hope all the more encouraging. It's not a fool's hope. It's like Sam seeing the star through the rent of black fume over Mordor; in this film one sees those glimpses that shine out and one thinks, "Evil will not prevail forever," or whatever it is that Frodo says at the Crossroads. That is what I took away from the film. Not, "the world and humanity sucks and it will suck forever".

I think I'll put a "note spoilers" reminded in the main post. I didn't put any spoilers in it, which is why it's a rec rather than a review. But other commenters might spill the beans.
silvermoonlady at 2007-01-10 01:13 (UTC) (Link)
*happy grin* I'm so glad to hear that the movie is good; I'm excessively fond of PD James' stuff (though this is one book I haven't yet read)! Shall set myself a date:)
mechtild at 2007-01-10 03:33 (UTC) (Link)
I love P.D. James, too. This isn't like her other work, though, I should warn you. Unlike her usual mystery genre (looooooove her novels), this is more of a vision-of-the-future story. Think, um, "1984" or "Brave New World" sorts of stories rather than British detective novels.
maewyn_2 at 2007-01-10 13:24 (UTC) (Link)
At last! A movie I've already seen! We went to see it back in October. I really enjoyed it. It certainly gives you something to think about. I'd like to read the book (I didn't realise there was one!)
mechtild at 2007-01-10 15:07 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, there is a book, Maewyn. P. D. James is one of my favourite writers of mysteries, but this book is a departure for her. It's one that really stuck with me.

The movie, as usual, departs from the book in many details and some larger plot points, but they still share the same story and themes. I'd say it was an extremely good film adaptation, although reading the book was the richer experience for me.
whiteling at 2007-01-12 10:55 (UTC) (Link)
That film sounds interesting. I checked and learned that it was released here in November, but I hadn't noticed and it's left the theatres already. Maybe I'll catch it by accident somewhere. I did like stories of the type like 1984 or Brazil.

By the way, Mechtild, your new LJ layout is really beautiful! I like it very much. :-)
mechling at 2007-01-12 14:00 (UTC) (Link)
I think you'd really like this film, Whiteling. Bleak, but with a spark of hope -- rather like our real world. Or Frodo's towards the end. When I began reading about the film after seeing it (I didn't know it had been made; I only knew it was out or existed because I overheard our daughter asking my husband if he'd like to go see it with her, "since Mom won't like it - too violent"), I read articles talking about how underpromoted the film was, in spite of the rave reviews. Go figure!

Oooh, I'm so glad you like my new lay-out, I worked on it obsessively, looking for fabrics, wallpapers and tiles to make the background and top image, then customizing all the colours.

I saw this scheme used by Ann ( just_ann_now ) and loved how she had transformed it into a palace of Oriental reds with a cool bit of illuminated border.

The sample of the lay-out on LJ for Nebula is horrible-looking. It comes in a whole array of violent, garish colour schemes. Here's a link to the page of lay-outs, so you can scroll down and see it - Nebula. Another bore is that when you click the list of colour samples, it lists them but none of the links work. You just have to apply them to look at them - but they're all ghastly.

If I hadn't seen Ann's new lay-out, I would never have known how beautiful it could be. The structure of it is great - so clean and simple and easy to find everything on it.

Hey, now that I've answered your comment, I feel like doing an entry about the lay-out. Maybe I'll have time tomorrow, post something and tell about the lay-out in case anyone else wants to try it now that they know how flexible it is.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2007-01-13 13:19 (UTC) (Link)


Completely off topic but I just had to let you know how beautiful I think your new lay-out is. Very tasteful and interesting.

mechtild at 2007-01-13 15:37 (UTC) (Link)

Re: WOW!!!

Oh, thank you, Este. In the comment directly above yours, I tell about it to Whiteling.

This weekend I plan to post something and by way of posting repeat some of what I said to her about it. I love it! I was inspired to do it by looking at the new layout of just_ann_now ( formerly "annmarwalk", one of my original positive Threshold readers from Henneth Annun, and finder of the image of Rafael Lazzini that inspired the last manip).
Re: WOW!!! - (Anonymous) Expand
taerie at 2007-01-14 02:59 (UTC) (Link)
Wow pretty layout Mechtild!
This movie is on my list of to-sees. We saw The Curse of the Golden Flower today. It's sort of a Chinese I Claudius as Matt described it. It has some really rich imagery so of course I liked it.
mechtild at 2007-01-14 04:28 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Taerie. "The Curse of the Golden Flower"? I haven't yet heard of it. But I rarely know what's going on. Too much time spent on the Internet and all that. *grin*
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