Sunday, December 29, 2013


I missed Tracy Letts' play on Broadway, highly recommended by many friends. But I watched the movie of it on my computer tonight (new thing this awards season is downloads rather than DVD for many of this year's movies) and wished I'd seen it on stage, where I think the melodramatic elements may have been less obvious.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to praise in this flick. Especially Julia Roberts' performance and Meryl Streep's as well. Chris Cooper, as always, doing an impeccable and impressive job in an almost thankless role. Everyone was good, really. That's a tribute to John Wells' direction (full disclosure, I knew him in my Hollywood years, and always liked him).

But I would have cast several roles differently if I'd had the chance. Julianne Nicholson does a beautiful job as Ivy, performance-wise, but casting her as the pushing-fifty old maid of the trio of daughters, well, I ain't buying it. And though Abigail Breslin has proven her acting chops, oh what a young Juliette Lewis would have done with that role.

Though as the third aging sister Lewis is devastatingly good. But the dysfunction of this family and the ways in which plot points are strategically doled out was just too much for me. I was moved by a lot, but ultimately disappointed when the credits rolled. Though I won't be surprised if Tracy Letts gets nominated for Best Screenplay Adaptation (from the play) because most Hollywood folks I know love this kind of over-the-top emotional bloodletting stuff.

But I'd still like to see Roberts, Streep, Cooper and Lewis get nominated in acting categories. Something tells me it'll only be Streep and Roberts.


JenW said...

I saw a preview of this last night & although I do want to see it, I may have to forgo the big screen version. I took my 15 year old niece to see Saving Mr. Banks (which we both enjoyed) and tix were $12.50, with a bit of popcorn and a coke- $40.00 for two for a movie in central Jersey!! So really is it impossible for a family with a couple of kids to enjoy movies on the big screen together on a regular basis. That sucks! From a fellow movie lover.

Lally said...

One of the disappointments of this DIY post-modern world is that someone hasn't figured out how to open movie theaters that are more affordable for families etc. So I hear yea Jen. I haven't seen it but I also hear the trouble with the Disney movie is it distorts his sometimes cruelly cold exploitative leadership as eel as her warmth and good will etc.