Skip to main content

There is place for growth in leisured paradise: Review of "Letters to Juliet"

It is unbecoming of a lady to marry her steward, and so the pseudo-Italian fiancee, who is expert and fussy-obsessed with all the variant particulars concerning his “estate” -- his newly opened restaurant -- is to be discarded for a gentleman who’s only obligation is to show himself good-looking, vital, and inherently decent and well-mannered -- a proper lord. This is one of the things you understand while watching “Letters to Juliet,” yet another film which must be objected to lest we become unable to see reality.
Our lady, Sophie, has gone to Brown, what has apparently become THE finishing school for ladies in our times, being not so ardent-seeming that it might coarsen you with too professional a sense of purpose, yet still as established and esteemed as any of the more prominent ivyies. If you’ve gone to Brown, you may be the sort who is just not pushy enough to have already scored a career as a major writer at the New Yorker by the time she’s twenty-two, not brutally driven enough to have portfolioed herself into the most obvious upmost echelons, like Harvard or Princeton, but who’s relaxed possession of larger qualities, whose preference for discreteness, anonymity, quiet grace, makes you EXACTLY what lords of commercial society need as near to them as possible to suggest their own timelessness and quality -- certain by divine right, to survive and continue to prosper, if the time's primary henceforth call is for people to define themselves as either sacrifice or to-be-satisfied.
She’s gone where Lady Di might have gone to if she was an American, and her future husband has gone to Oxford -- where all boyish princes who would be Kings must go. If he’d gone to Cambridge, it would have again made him REALLY seem invested in doing something for the country by craft or trade -- which would have lowered and coarsened him -- when it is his loftiness -- his sheer existence -- which most keeps the regression-prone countryside from devolving into dispersions of the-really-quite-insane, gnarly, garish multitudes. Yes, of course, he’s supposed to be a lawyer devoted to helping the weak, which is supposed to sound like the lord turning away from expectation and risking being forgotten about but which by this time we all REALLY know means he’s perfectly orthodox -- perfectly “certain,” and safe, given our newly updated standards concerning how lords are to define themselves.
It isn’t a good thing when being as alive as a sunflower but not a wit more interesting, can’t make you -- an ostensibly ambitious human being -- the subject of some ridicule. And yet this might now just be where we are -- in that too many who can at some level see that these leisured, liberal humanists / gentry, who ostensibly have the time, quietness, and tutored capacity to range greatly and uninterruptedly while in this world, are just beautiful script, lines curling up, down, and on through a plot already known and before them, content to take pleasure in the variances of sensation they can see ahead and know are coming, but still very much to be taken pleasure in, because vividness exists primarily in the rush of what is before you not in the nagging memory of what you once knew, because they are in-mind to give up the reigns to someone else themselves, and want no evidence anywhere extant that makes them feel small, feel guilty, for doing so.
Claire --the grandmother -- could be a problem. Which is why all her genuine gravitas is summoned but drawn to essential vacancy -- her love of her life, who she once loved and never --ostensibly rightly -- learned to lose interest in, is SO MUCH perfect acquisition, perfect object, well-groomed and already, beautifully-told story, that she serves as unmistakable proof in the pudding, as General Colin Powell to George Bush, that what is not actually here in the film, IS actually there, if only you had the capacity to find it.
Photo still: "Letters to Juliet."


Popular posts from this blog

Superimposing another "fourth-wall" Deadpool

I'd like to superimpose the fourth-wall breaking Deadpool that I'd like to have seen in the movie. In my version, he'd break out of the action at some point to discuss with us the following:
1) He'd point out that all the trouble the movie goes to to ensure that the lead actress is never seen completely naked—no nipples shown—in this R-rated movie was done so that later when we suddenly see enough strippers' completely bared breasts that we feel that someone was making up for lost time, we feel that a special, strenuous effort has been made to keep her from a certain fate—one the R-rating would even seemed to have called for, necessitated, even, to properly feed the audience expecting something extra for the movie being more dependent on their ticket purchases. That is, protecting the lead actress was done to legitimize thinking of those left casually unprotected as different kinds of women—not as worthy, not as human.   

2) When Wade/Deadpool and Vanessa are excha…

"The Zookeeper's Wife" as historical romance

A Polish zoologist and his wife maintain a zoo which is utopia, realized. The people who work there are blissfully satisfied and happy. The caged animals aren't distraught but rather, very satisfied. These animals have been very well attended to, and have developed so healthily for it that they almost seem proud to display what is distinctively excellent about them for viewers to enjoy. But there is a shadow coming--Nazis! The Nazis literally blow apart much of this happy configuration. Many of the animals die. But the zookeeper's wife is a prize any Nazi officer would covet, and the Nazi's chief zoologist is interested in claiming her for his own. So if there can be some pretence that would allow for her and her husband to keep their zoo in piece rather than be destroyed for war supplies, he's willing to concede it.

The zookeeper and his wife want to try and use their zoo to house as many Jews as they can. They approach the stately quarters of Hitler's zoologist …

"Life" as political analogy, coming to you via Breitbart News

Immediately after seeing the film, I worked over whether or not the movie works as something the alt-right would produce to alienate us from the left. Mostly the film does work this way  -- as a sort of, de facto, Breitbart production -- I decided, though it's not entirely slam-dunk. There is no disparagement evident for the crew of the space station being a multicultural mix, for instance. Race is not invisible in the film; it feels conspicuous at times, like when the Japanese crew member is shown looking at his black wife on video conference; but the film maker, wherever he was actually raised, seems like someone who was a longtime habitat of a multicultural milieu, some place like London, and likes things that way. But the film cannot convince only as macabre relating to our current fascination with the possibility of life on Mars -- what it no doubt pretends to be doing -- because the idea of “threat” does not permeate this interest at all, whereas it absolutely saturates our …