Category Archives: movie

Belle – Movie

I saw the previews for the movie Belle at the theater but it came and left so fast that I never got to see it on the big screen. I intended to watch it on On Demand but then life got busy and I missed it again. I finally saw Belle the other night on HBO.

I may have put off seeing Belle because subconsciously I did not think it would be as good as it looked. Now that I have seen Belle I have to offer my praise to the writer Misan Sagay, the director Amma Asante, and the cast.

Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was the daughter of an African woman and an English member of the Royal Navy, an Admiral. Uncharacteristically he truly loved Belle’s mother and he found Belle in Africa and he took her to England to be raised by his uncle, her aristocratic Great Uncle. Her new guardian is Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson), a barrister, and these events are happening in the 18th century so perhaps you can imagine how difficult a social task Belle’s father had assigned to his uncle. The Great Uncle is a good man who fulfills responsibilities to his nephew once he has agreed to them. He decides the child, Belle, will be known as Dido.

Belle’s father never came home. He died at sea. Dido’s Great Uncle and his enlightened wife have another daughter the same age and the girls grow up together. Mixed race and blonde – these things did not matter to the cousins who were very close.

In 18th century England aristocratic girls were taken to London for the social “season”. They were fitted with a lovely wardrobe and they attended endless teas, afternoon visits, shopping expeditions, park promenades, assemblies and balls. This was how young men were introduced to young women in these days when the innocence of a young woman had to be carefully guarded until she married.

Sadly, lots of matchmaking had to do with money. Aristocrats who did not have enough money would trade their good name to marry a young lady heiress. Dido happens to be an heiress. Her father left her an income of 2,000 pounds per year. Her cousin, the lovely blonde Elizabeth (Sarah Gabon), has no inheritance. So although England was in the slave trade and saw people with darker skin as property, less than human, Dido did better than Sarah in the marriage mart because of the living she inherited. At least it seemed that way.

But there is a second story going on in this movie. A young neighbor, the vicar’s son, John Davinier (Sam Reid), has been learning the law from Lord Mansfield. There is a case about to be tried in the courts. A ship went down and all its cargo was lost. The cargo was insured. Should the insurance company have to pay? Simple case, right? But the cargo was people, African people, destined for the slave market. John Davinier had a huge objection to looking at human beings as cargo. We can guess how Dido felt when she learned about this case.

This case and what happens with it, what it proves about Dido’s Great Uncle and about Dido, about John Davinier and even about Sarah turned this movie from just a nice period piece into something deeper and more satisfying. This movie is also based on a true story which made me like it even more. My first thought was best; this movie, Belle, was well worth seeing.

By Nancy Brisson

The Imitation Game – Movie

Before we met Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang) we might have found it difficult to understand Alan Turing of the movie The Imitation Game. Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) has no sense of humor, and although Sheldon is, as TV tells us, “very funny” we are usually laughing at him rather than with him. Both of these men have long, thin attenuated bodies. It is clear to their peers that each of these men lacks social skills. Both are self-absorbed and conceited and arrogant because they know that the greatest gift they were given was a genius brain and that they were given very few other skills to back those brains up. I am guessing that these days both Sheldon and Alan would land on the autism spectrum.

Sheldon Cooper is a fiction, a character created to be fun and perhaps to make intelligence more acceptable. Alan Turing was a real person and his genius for codes really did help us win World War II. He made a computer that related to modern computers the way an abacus relates to modern calculators. But his beast of a “computer” decoder made of gears and wires and electrical connections worked.

The story of Alan’s achievement was one that involved opposition, especially the hostilities of one particular officer who happened to be in charge of the whole project. He was a man of no imagination and he was full of hate because he could not accept that someone with Alan Turing’s predilections should be allowed anywhere except in a jail. Alan Turing was a homosexual in an England that punished those who were publically discovered. There were enlightened people also at that time who saw that one’s sexual orientation did not necessarily prevent a person from making a contribution to society.

There is suspense. Everyday Germany picks a new code with their Enigma machine. Every night Enigma generates an entirely new code. England has collected the best code breakers in the nation and Alan Turing is the best of the best. Those who choose him never imagine in their wildest moment that Alan will build the code breaking machine that he builds. They expect him to sit quietly at a desk in a room full of code breakers and work with pencil and paper. Because the code changes every 24 hours Turing discovers that pencil and paper will not do, a more inventive approach is required.

Under the disapproving eye of his nemesis Alan Turing puts together a crack team of code breakers that he finds through a contest which features a cross word puzzle. This is how Joan Clarke (played by Kiera Knightly) becomes the only woman on his team, but a team member who cannot work with the team openly.

This film may sound dry as old dust but it is not. It has its own brand of suspense and derring-do and what Alan Turing did required its own brand of courage. Although it may seem to be about another age and another time I watched this movie On Demand just as we were sorting out the controversy over Indiana’s religious freedom law (RFRA). There was an uproar because this law had some flaws which turned it into more of a law to discriminate against those whose sexual orientation is categorized as “other”, in case they should want to marry in Indiana and offend someone’s religious beliefs.

There is a French saying “plus ça change, plus et la meme chose”, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Obviously this movie still has cultural relevance and perhaps that is part of the reason that it won awards at the 2014 Oscars.

By Nancy Brisson

This is the End – Movie – Unsolicited Advice Week

I like to keep up with pop culture which means that I sometimes stumble upon things that strike me as bizarre. This may point out a mere generational gap or it may indicate more serious changes, not in me, but in the actual culture which we create and in we immerse ourselves. After watching the movie This is the End, I can only conclude that my generation showed better taste and greater depth in the films that were made and that did well at the box office.

This movie got good reviews and it does have a theme; the Rapture. It also makes you want to go temporarily deaf and to perhaps poke out your eyes. This is, I’m guessing, a “guy” flick. It is Dante’s Inferno meets Porky’sor Revelations meets Animal House. That these guys were not selected to go directly to hellfire is the one and only great mystery of the movie.

We have Seth Rogen and James Franco playing themselves at a party at James Franco’s recently-built mid-century modern house, that looks like a museum. Rogen has brought along an old friend, Jay Baruchel who doesn’t want to be there. These three and Craig Robinson and Jonah Hill all get trapped in Franco’s house when the Rapture arrives and they try to outlast the apocalypse. These five are somewhat organized to survive until they are joined by the grossest, most selfish guy, David McBride, who makes the other boys look like puppies, sick puppies, but still… . Emma Watson and Rihanna make cameo appearances but girls are beside the point in this movie, unless the intent was to show what little use this immature and self-indulgent group has for women.

I still can’t believe I watched the whole thing, but I rented it on FIOS On Demand and I was determined to get my money’s worth. The movie does stay with me, sort of like heartburn. If you are a person who appreciates this kind of thing, all I can say is you shouldn’t. It’s your fault that, at times, there is little worth seeing at the movies. This indulgent, silly crap may be marginally funny, but it will turn your brain to mush.

Gravity – A 3D Movie

Weightless – this movie, simply called Gravity, echoed the gravity-less space in which it took place. It felt like space even though I knew in advance that it had not been filmed in space. I don’t know how it was filmed and I believe I would rather not know. If you would like to know I’m sure you can search the web for a description of the filming of the movie. It was fascinating and tense and not as scary as I thought it would be. I said it was weightless, but there was no vertigo, although I cannot guarantee that there would be no vertigo in the IMAX version.

It is no hardship to spend an hour and a half looking at our “big blue marble” looming hugely and often bluely any time one turns to face it, but since we see the astronauts close up we don’t really experience how they would be dwarfed in relation to Earth and infinitesimal in relation to the empty space around them.


The action is in space, but in near-Earth orbit space and yet these astronauts find themselves completely cut off from Earth. Russia sent a missile into space, but we sense that it was not an act of war, that they meant to demolish an unused space satellite and caused collateral damage. The situation on Earth is not fully explained but we do know that our astronauts can no longer communicate with Houston (which may be on the part of Earth facing away from them) and that they are essentially abandoned in space and thrown upon their own resources. Could this exact set of circumstances ever happen? We reluctantly accept, because it is one of our worst space nightmares, that it might be possible.

I love reading about space exploration and colonizing other (uninhabited) planets but I know that I would never voluntarily go to space or sign up to live on another planet. So the situation these folks find themselves in – outside their space station, making repairs, getting low on oxygen and just getting ready to return to the space station would be a situation I would absolutely avoid. The senior astronaut (George Clooney) is trying out a jet pack that allows him to move untethered in space. Sandra Bullock is a beginner, nervous in space, not sure she even wants to be there, but obviously not as averse to space as I am.

I can’t tell you the whole story because you’ll get angry at me and I hate that. I will say that I loved the interiors of the two space stations that we get to explore (although they are almost identical and we are told that they are built from the same plans still I sense filming cost savings) with everything detached and floating, waiting to be picked from the airlessness and used by the next scientist who appears on the scene – keyboards, pens, small bolts, lots of useful detritus contained and moving randomly within this bit of walled off, yet still weightless, space.

There is a story line, there is plenty of tense, edge-of-the-seat nervousness but the ending seems to me a bit hokey and perhaps improbable and I was not really moved by the people and their dilemmas, and yet I always prefer a happy ending (I’m not saying this was one). I was, however, very glad that it was not me and that I knew the whole time that it wasn’t real. What I loved are the visual aspects of the movie and the absence of gravity (in every sense of the word). See Gravity, definitely, it’s an experience we should all have in common, a cultural memory to share.

If you are worried about the science in the movie you might enjoy this link, but it will be a spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie.


Arthur Newman – Movie


I watched the movie Arthur Newman the other night on FIOS On Demand. It’s not a new movie. It was released in September, 2012. Colin Firth stars in the movie and I have enjoyed Colin Firth in a number of other movies. I am sort of an Anglophile I guess and Colin Firth is in a lot of British films that do quite well at box offices in America. He has also done well playing a Brit in American films. However, in Arthur Newman Colin Firth plays an American without a trace of his usual English accent. Did I keep wanting him to break into Britspeak? Yes, and no – I did for awhile and then I got over it.

This little story is “Peter Pan” and “Wendy”, two people avoiding their real lives and wreaking havoc on a cross-America spree. Well, not really – yes to the Peter Pan and Wendy part, yes to the trek across America, but no major havoc is wreaked, just some minor havoc. It all begins when a man named Wallace Avery becomes Arthur Newman after he buys a new identity with the intention of perhaps restarting his professional golfing career free from the stress that always hits him as soon as he makes it to the championship level and which turns him into a loser; he has a reputation for “choking” when in a competition.

He meets “Mike” played by Emily Blunt, a piece of work, with a few things of her own to escape. She is rescued by Arthur Newman from a chaise lounge next to a pool at a motel where he stops for the night. Emily and Arthur sort of team up in a bizarre series of home invasions in which they try on the persona of the couple they have selected for their eccentric and illegal attentions. They wait until the couple is away from home, they break in, they dress up in the couple’s clothing and proceed to have “in character” and very unconvincing sex in the couple’s bedroom.

Arthur Newman must have known that the people he left behind would think that something terrible had happened to him. He left behind two people who seem to care, his girlfriend (played by Ann Heche) and his son (a teenager played by Sterling Beaumon). His days of freedom are numbered even before things go very wrong.

All good things must come to an end, but I can’t tell you how. Is any growing up involved? Again, I won’t tell. It’s worth seeing Arthur Newman (the film) on a slow TV day. I do, however, hope Colin Firth gets his accent back for his next film. I also hope he is one of those film actors who ages well so that I can enjoy him for years to come.

Blue Jasmine by Woody Allen – Movie

Last weekend I went to the local mall with my sister to see Woody Allen’s most recent movie Blue Jasmine. Whenever I spend an afternoon or an evening with Woody Allen I feel very urbane. Woody Allen in his disparaging, neurotic and wonderful way makes movies that are both accessible and sophisticated. He writes about what he knows, very definitely, and he knows rich, neurotic upper middle class people. He both adores them and does that Chaucer thing mentioned in A Knight’s Tale; he “eviscerates them in fiction”, but in very loving and paternal ways.

So we get this woman, this woman who was born with the name Jeannette, but who changed her name to Jasmine, believing that she, an adopted daughter of a gauche lower middle class family, was given her beauty, her elegance and her height for a reason (Jasmine is played by Cate Blanchett). She believes she deserves a better life than had been granted to her in life’s lottery. Jasmine’s chutzpah works and earns her a handsome, wealthy husband named Hal who, as she always tells the story, fell in love with her while the song “I’m Mr. Blue” was playing, and that he was first attracted to her because of her exotic (fake) name. The fact that she is beautiful and elegant and tall probably also entered into this romantic, “love at first sight” attraction. Anyway, Hal promises to take care of Jasmine and he does.

Hal, played by Alec Baldwin, may not be earning his chops in the most honest ways. He comes off as a sort of Bernie Madoff figure, ponzi-ing and scheming his way to wealth. Jasmine tells everyone in “methinks-she-does-protest-too-much” fashion that she knows nothing about Hal’s business, business does not interest her, she has no head for business, and theirs is a love match. She signs any paper that Hal puts in front of her without reading it, as if she never heard of the rule that “ignorance is no excuse”. They move in rarified circles, between their city pied a terre and their house in the Hamptons, shopping and entertaining in the gorgeously decorated rooms that offer the backdrop to their privileged lives.

But we learn all this in flashback. When we meet Jasmine she still has her elegant air, slightly sweaty from a long flight from NYC to San Francisco, because she has been reduced to accepting help from her crass, also adopted, sister. We flash back and forth between the authentic, but “trashy” life her poorer, working class sister, Ginger, lives with Jasmine as a roommate, and Jasmine’s previous fairy tale life. Jasmine is completely spoiled. She thinks of her new situation as temporary and it almost is. But she has made enemies (her sister’s ex-husband (Andrew Dice Clay; her sister’s boyfriend (Bobby Cannavale); and finally her sister(Sally Hawkins)) and her condescension has not gone unnoticed (her sister is poor and compassionate, not stupid).

I won’t, of course, spoil the movie for you by telling you the ending, which is shocking and yet not, but I will tell you that Jasmine fits very well with Woody Allen’s penchant for loving our neuroses, because she is as neurotic as any of Woody’s best characters, perhaps even more neurotic. She is the most self-centered woman you have probably every met, and yet we are left with a few almost tender feelings for her and her possible, unspecified fate. Does physical beauty trump all? What will become of Jasmine? This is 48 Hours or 20/20 with a Woody Allen sheen and a much more literary presence. Thank you once again Woody for providing a wonderful evening at the movies where you managed to engage my brain and my senses in so many ways.

The Quartet – Movie on Pay-per-view

Well now that I have seen the movie Quartet directed by Dustin Hoffman, I want to be an old musician in a beautiful Victorian retirement home in England. I guess I should have stuck with those piano lessons. Or I might have had a great career as a singer if I hadn’t smoked all those cigarettes. And then there is the problem that no one in my family has lived in England in several generations, although my mom’s family may have come from Shoreditch outside of London. So my Quartet fantasies are pretty unrealistic, but I did find the movie quite wonderful. It was full of beautiful music, mostly classical, but also a bit of jazz, a little vaudeville, and even a fun sort of seminar with Reggie Paget (a member of the Quartet) and a group of high school students who share examples of rap, hip hop and opera.  These fortunate musicians, retired from famous careers get to live in a home fit for British aristocrats, in fact the home once belonged to the Beecham family whose wealth came from, embarrassingly, laxatives. They are watched over by a very nice doctor, Dr. Lucy Cogen, played by Sheridan Smith, who reminded me throughout of Martine McCutcheon who played Natalie in Love Actually. And they are encouraged to continue to pursue the activities that always gave meaning to their lives making them seem more vital than most retired persons whose senior years are supposed to be given over to leisure.

Wilf Bond (played by Bill Connolly), Cissy Roson (played by Pauline Collins), and Jean Horton (played by Maggie Smith) (and Reggie Paget played by Tom Courtenay) are the members of this Quartet who sang together in Rigoletto many years ago. Their performance is accepted as the definitive one by the musical world, so they were all famous and had high-powered musical careers with high-powered egos and star level theatrics even in their private lives. Now their voices are no longer reliable for public performances and they are considered too old to be stars. Reggie, Wilf, and Cissie have been in retirement for a while when Jean Horton shows up. The other members of the Quartet don’t realize she is coming. When Reggie finds out about Jean he is really upset and he wants to leave. It turns out that Jean and Reggie were once in love and even were married, very briefly. It’s a long story which I don’t want to spoil for you. The residents have a performance every year on Verdi’s birthday which is a fund raiser for their home and is quite popular. We get to enjoy the rehearsals happening in every room and every corner of this beautiful house and the scenic grounds around it. We get to enjoy the bitchiness of Cedric Livingston (Michael Gambon) who directs the show. Somehow, the members of the Quartet get Jean Horton to agree to participate in this show. It isn’t easy and it is another part of the story I don’t want to reveal.

What I will tell you is that this movie flew by so fast and I was so disappointed when I realized that it was over that I had to rate it as an excellent film. If you can’t stand movies with old people, then don’t watch this. However, if to you old people are still people, or if you are curious about how you would like your senior years to go, then this film is well worth a viewing, especially since it is now on pay-per-view.

I write only my reactions to film. I am by no means a film critic. If you want a review from someone more credentialed, here is a link:



The Sessions – A Movie from Pay-per-View

Saturday night I “dialed up” The Sessions on pay-per-view. I had heard that Helen Hunt was a therapist and that it was a very good movie, but it was not anything like any psychotherapy movie I had seen before.  It is the story of Marc O’Brien (based on a true story from a book called The Surrogate) who has had polio for many years and has been living much of his life in an iron lung. He is 38 when we meet him and the year is 1978. Marc is a virgin but he wants to have sexual intercourse and he is not sure he can wait much longer. He has a series of interesting care givers, some likeable, some not, some actually quite loveable. He can leave his home for small periods of time with portable oxygen but he cannot use a wheel chair, he must remain prone, so he is wheeled on a gurney to his classes at Berkeley and everywhere he wants to go.

It is because Marc is a Catholic man of great faith that he decides to confide his “sinful” desires to his priest (played by William H. Macy). Although it cannot be easy for a man who has promised to remain chaste to talk about these matters, Father Brendan rises above the irony of his position to have an honest and compassionate series of interactions with Marc, in which he suggests that Marc might want to find a therapist to speak with.

The therapist Marc finally meets is Helen Hunt (who plays the sex therapist Cheryl) an experienced sex therapy professional with a husband and a son and the normal human dilemmas to deal with. She is allowed to give patients six sessions in sex therapy and yes, she does actually teach them to have a satisfying sexual experience by having sex with them.  This is definitely not a film for kids as there is lots of unabashed nudity and a very matter-of-fact discussion and portrayal of various sexual realities as they relate to her patient.

This could be a very grim, or a very embarrassing and uncomfortable movie, but it isn’t. Marc is not a grim character. He faces his life of paralysis with humor.  He has a very intelligent mind which he combines with that sense of humor and surprisingly good people skills to set the people around him at ease. In fact a fair number of very attractive young women fall in love with him, although not all are comfortable about pursuing a relationship with him. Even Cheryl finds herself touched by Marc’s personal charm and has a few moments of professional pain when he decides to cut sessions short because his own feeling are becoming entangled. In spite of how graphic this movie is there is a sweetness about it which probably explains why John Hawkes (the young actor who play Marc O’Brien) was nominated for a Golden Globes award and the movie, Helen Hunt and John Hawkes were nominated for a huge array of awards. I have spent many a worse Saturday than this. This is a film I will remember.

Here are a few examples of dialogue in the film which I found on the IMDb site dedicated to this movie:

Marc O’Brien: I believe in a God with a sense of humor. I would find it absolutely intolerable not to be to able blame someone for all this.


Father Brendan: [speaking about Marc’s decision to find a sex surrogate] I have a feeling that God is going to give you a free pass on this one. Go for it.


Cheryl: I understand you’re able to have an erection.

Marc O’Brien: Not by choice.


Clerk: Now, come on, what kind of therapist is she?

Vera: I told you, she’s a sex therapist. Today they’re working on “simultaneous orgasm”.

Clerk: What’s that?



 Marc O’Brien: What happens when…?

Cheryl: What happens when what?

Marc O’Brien: When people become attached to each other.

Cheryl: What people?

Marc O’Brien: Just people.

Marc O’Brien: What’s the chemistry in it all? When people are attracted to each other.

Cheryl: Are you attracted to me?

Marc O’Brien: God, no.

Cheryl: Ha-ha-ha.

Marc O’Brien: I’m just talking hypothetically.

Cheryl: Hypothetically… they write poems. They have sex.

Marc O’Brien: And what happens next?

Cheryl: After poetry and sex? Nothing or everything. The rest is by negotiation, as it were.

Marc O’Brien: What do you mean?

Cheryl: I mean, you can leave it at love and attraction… or you can make things complicated, like most people do.

Marc O’Brien: Have you?

Cheryl: Yes.




Heist: Who Stole the American Dream – Movie

On March 5th a new movie called Heist: Who Stole the American Dreamwill air on-line. I received a hand-out about this film in the mail from a friend in California and I will quote it here:

The film Heist traces the 2008 economic collapse back to a secret 1971 memo, titled Attack on American Free Enterprise System. This was written by then-business-lawyer (later Supreme Court Justice) Lewis Powell. Requested by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, the memo – a free market treatise – urged big business to make over government by controlling the media, academia, clergy and arts and science, and by destroying organized labor and consumer protection groups. Powell’s real end-game was business control of law and politics.
In systematic detail, Heist exposes how Powell’s plan was implemented:  Both the GOP and Dems deregulated business, outsourced jobs and enacted tax breaks for the rich, leading to the 2008 global financial crisis and weakening of the middle class. Heist looks deeply into the greatest wealth transfer of our time, beyond the noise of today’s polarizing media, and gives viewers a clear, concise, fact-based explanation of how we got into this mess, and what we need to do to restore our representative democracy.

This will take you to the video trailer for the movie on You Tube.

The movie will air on the following site for free from March 5th – 7th beginning at noon PST:

Silver Linings Playbook – Movie

My friend Marie says that we are all weirdoes. I have come to believe that her simple observation has a lot of merit. What made me think of it at this moment was watching the movie Silver Linings Playbook. Silver Linings Playbook has been nominated for several Academy Awards and I love to see as many nominated movies as I can before the ceremony which will take place this Sunday, February 24, 2013. In fact there are millions of us madly viewing nominated films in the weeks leading up to the awards. Three of the nominated movies this year are historical films: Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lincoln. I would call Silver Linings Playbook a literary film as I would Beasts of the Southern Wildand Life of Pi. Les Mis is a musical and Django Unchained sounds like a comedy with content.  Amourcomes from the category of art films. Every one of the films I have viewed so far has been excellent. There have been a lot of good movies this year. I honestly don’t know who to root for and am just interested to see who will get awards this year. The movie audiences were the real winners with this group of excellent films and others that were not nominated.

The issue of mental illness is at the core of Silver Linings Playbook. Bradley Cooper, our hero, has been pushed over the edge by a cheating wife who he believed was faithful and loved him. Situational madness is familiar to many of us, getting temporarily (or not so temporarily derailed) by the traumas that afflict our lives. The dissolution of a marriage is often traumatic, especially if one party is taken by surprise and people often lose jobs, alienate friends, and exhaust their families by the time they get a grip on their sorrow and anger and hurt. Bradley’s reaction is further complicated by undiscovered bipolar disorder. Apparently his anger at Nikki’s betrayal is so extreme that it requires her to get an Order of Protection and Pat (Bradley) ends up in an institution.

We meet Pat when he is released into his mother and father’s custody at the end of the treatment period and we get the rest as back story. We see that Pat is only pretending to take his medication and that he is still very angry, and still determined to win Nikki back, in spite of the fact that he will end up back in treatment if he calls her or tries to see her. Pat has a support system. His caring parents, who have their own issues, but also a happy marriage, are so great and so concerned that it will be difficult for Pat to disappoint them. His therapist had talked about getting a “silver linings playbook”. Pat is trying, but his idea of what that playbook would involve, since his strategy is limited to getting Nikki back, is too dysfunctional. One of his friends who knows him from when they taught at the same school, has him over to dinner to meet his wife’s sister, to start him on a path that will give him some distance from Nikki. Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence has recently lost her husband and is grieving, angry, and acting out. She appears to be exactly what Pat doesn’t need. But she, at least, has a plan. She wants to dance in a dance competition. As Pat’s therapist is telling him to get a plan, a strategy, he eventually signs on with Tiffany to dance in the competition although he cares nothing about dance (she blackmails him). Will mental health ensue? Will love develop? That I cannot say, but these two are more antagonists than lovers as they work through their separate issues. However, they are both also very appealing people.

Pat’s parents played by Robert De Niro and Jackie Weaver are part of what makes this movie so real and so enjoyable. There are always issues between parents and children, even mentally healthy children. We see that Pat’s dad has an addiction to gambling which has sometimes jeopardized the family finances and we also see that Pat’s father is also pathologically superstitious and that he tries to rope his son and his wife into being part of the involved ritual of repetition that he feels leads to a successful bet. If he wins then the elements that were present at the win must be present at subsequent sports contests until he loses, at which point he will revise his set of necessary good luck elements (much like an athlete who will insist on wearing the same unwashed underwear during a winning streak). Pat’s dad has never been diagnosed with a mental disorder, never been institutionalized, but we see that he is suffering from a mental illness of his own. The mom who enables her husband’s gambling addiction also qualifies by current standards as having a mental disorder. The friend who taught with Pat and introduces him to Tiffany is being driven to the edge by his demanding wife, but we watch him deny his true feelings and shove them deeper and we know they will someday explode or they will be relieved every day in little passive aggressive ways. So who is the mental patient here? Pat doesn’t seem nearly so nutty after we meet everyone else in his world. And these people are no different from us. What made Pat different is only the degree to which he expressed his emotions and that these actions seemed capable of harming others; and also the fact that they had already led to personal harm. We are all eccentrics. We are, in the words of my friend Marie, weirdoes. Our own issues, which we are very aware of, made the movie very real, but I cannot tell you the feelings I had at the end of the movie, because that would be a spoiler. A worthy winner here, but so is every nominee I have viewed so far. Winner or not this movie will probably be a classic.