Netflix tells us,
"After his engagement falls through, Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix) juggles the affections of Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow), his beautiful, self-destructive neighbor, and Sandra (Vinessa Shaw), the attractive, sensible daughter of his father's business associate. Writer-director James Gray's beautifully nuanced romantic drama is set in Brooklyn and also stars Elias Koteas. The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival."tah freaking dah!
And how much did I pay to watch?
Nerfffffffin. I watched this bad boy on netflix's view it now option. Well, I guess I did pay something, because if I didn't have my flix subscription then I wouldn't be eligible to watch this, but lets just ignore that for this moment.
And what did I think?
What I thought was that I loved that there were no value judgements from the director. In a story that is sort of complex like this one, with complex and damaged characters, it was SO entirely refreshing that the director or writer didn't write any of the characters as "the bad guy". There were really repugnant things about all the characters, really sad things about all the characters, and endearing things about all the characters. It left the action of judging who was good and who was bad and who deserved what to the audience. And it was likewise refreshing that the filmmakers thought the audience would be smart enough to decide who they liked and who they didn't. Filmmakers don't seem to give audiences enough credit these days.
In the same vein of this being complex, as a viewer it was hard for me to pick who I liked and who I didn't. I think that is quite an accomplishment. Usually I pick someone in a film I like--usually someone I can relate to for some reason--but I couldn't pick anyone. I just felt sorry for everyone. Sorrier for some, but I felt sorry for all of them. They were just so damaged.
The film also took place in Brighton Beach, so there were tons of Russians and other Eastern Europeans, and the weather was so overcast and depressing--the settings really seemed to match the story. I assume that was done deliberately. I give the production team a lot of credit on this one.
So what is the rating? (out of 10)
I think you should watch this. Sometimes I think that my opinions on film are sort of bizarrely skewed--I don't know why. But I thought this one was really good. It isn't the type of film I would buy and watch over and over, but I thought it was really good. Nuanced. (I love that word).
I gave it a 4 on Netflix, so I will give it an 8 here.