I am not that much of an intrepid movie viewer. Give me some violence and you can be sure that I will turn my head away. I don’t have much of a stomach for it. Neither does my wife. Recently, while watching Rust & Bones at the Forum Cineplex, there were some boxing scenes (uh, no boxing gloves…) where we both turned our heads, or covered our eyes at the same time. I wondered later if we were alone in doing that in the theatre; there’s no way of knowing, of course, but I had the feeling that with the couple behind us, at least, there was no turning away.
A little negativity in movie reviews is worlds away from cinematic violence. I usually go straight to the best film Internet site on the planet, http://www.IMDB.com, as soon as possible following the viewing of a film, to see what others have thought of it. I also do this for novels where I go to Amazon.ca or .com or .uk to read reader reviews. At IMDB, there are critic reviews and reviews from the general public.
I recently saw a movie, however, where I had to figuratively turn my head at some negative critic reviews. This was for La Delicatesse (Delicacy), a 2011 film starring the French film star Audrey Tatou. For some reason, the professional critics were 50/50 in liking or disliking the film. As soon as I got a sense that the review was going to be negative, or even a little negative, I “turned away”, going to another review to see how that person felt.
I loved this film, in so many ways, and when I finally went to the reviews by the “users” of the site (the non-professional critics), I noticed that they were giving 10 stars out of 10 and obviously also in love with the film. Great!
La Delicatesse is what I would call a very “grounded” film, one that deals with realistic possibilities but without being mundane. It’s a charming story of how a woman slowly pulls herself out of a deep mourning for the loss of her husband but who chooses a lover who the rest of her world looks down on as a nerd or a shleb.
There is, in the film, some subtle criticism of French society, which chooses looks and style over substance. Tatou’s character, to her credit, is oblivious of how others think regarding her eventual choice. The couple eventually becomes strong and in love; love in this film is portrayed very realistically although no less passionately or deeply.
I related to this attitude towards love; of how a man with an inferiority complex gradually gains confidence to believe that he can be with someone who at first is “out of his league”.
I would recommend La Delicatesse because it gives you hope in love; it lacks cynicism, it is realistic enough — there is only one scene that I would say couldn’t happen in real life, see the film and tell me if you agree — to pass the “smell test” (the meter in my head that goes, “Oh, God, no!” when I see something idiotic happening in a movie). There are also plenty of scenes which take place at work, something badly lacking in movies, as in “Where does the lead find the time to do all those things? Doesn’t he have a full-time job?”
The French are obsessed with relationships and I’m happy to report that some of them still have very positive attitudes about the possibilities of the love-relationship.