“Take this sinking boat and point it home, we’ve still got time …”
Spoiler Warning I guess – not that you could possibly spoil this one.
Y’know, call me dumb just one more time but even at the Oscars after seeing the movie 3 times, I didn’t fully listen to that lyric until now. As the last couple of reviews might’ve shown, I’m still bobbing up and down a little off the ripples left by the wave of depression Enchanted left me with, and I couldn’t help but notice that this movie ends quite the same way as that one with the “lovers” at the outset not ending up together; but, I don’t know, here I bought it with tears in my eyes, perhaps because I believed they made the right choice … perhaps because I believed they knew there was still some work ahead … perhaps because in the end, it’s a matter of consistency, and this movie is 100% so.
While so many things now tell you, “if it’s f*cked, move on or replace it,” this movie presents us with a character who brings a lowly hoover for a busker to fix rather than simply buy a new one because all she can even afford to give him for his songs is 10 cents. It simply asks people to make an effort, all the while telling the inspiring story of someone far too old by society’s standards to be still living with his pa finally taking the steps to making a name for himself as a singer-songwriter in tandem with fixing an old and clearly dear relationship.
Again I find myself commenting on the thing I should find annoying about this movie that proves the movie’s brilliance by the sheer fact that it doesn’t annoy me. There’s a whole sequence that basically shows how everyone is trying to be a musician; from the trying to get the loan and the bank guy breaking into song, cutting to the street and a random busker drumming, to the party where it’s a requirement that you sing. I hate this kind of thing normally not because it’s false – on the contrary, it’s the truest and mostly most beautiful thing there is – but it’s very demoralising to anyone (in which case I guess, lol, everyone) wanting to get their songs heard. But like I say, it’s amazing that this really never gets to me like I’d think it would in this one.
Then there are the peripheral characters. The man in the clothes shop telling Guy, “You’re gorgeous,” the aforementioned bank guy, and my god, the studio guy – that in itself is the series of shots I’d personally say define this movie, him going from “these bunch of f*ckin …” to the total childlike enthusiasm at the mixing desk when he realises how good they are … it’s just an astonishing few pieces of film.
I’m just amazed by how much more I got out of this movie this viewing after seeing it at least 3 times already … you get this initial feeling like it’s that typical variety of indie movie where they just point the camera at two people and improvise or something, in this case perhaps buoyed by the quality of the songs … but, simply that whole thing about the hoover, I’d just never realised the significance of it as it compares to the big picture, the whole idea of fixing something that, in general, in today’s world, is more often just slung out for a new model, it just really shows how beautifully written and considered it is. It’s such an important message for the world right now.
December 3rd, 2007:
I’m slightly annoyed I didn’t get to see this a lot earlier than I ultimately have, because as soon as it began I realised that no matter what it did, it would be a miracle if it lived up to the expectations I’ve built up for it over the months and months of hype and general gushing of those who had seen it. It sounded perfect – in a nutshell, as a more recent review I read put it, it’s the Irish, musical, Before Sunset. The songs are beautiful even if, like me, you’ve heard them dozens of times before the movie begins.
For almost the whole first 85 minutes, I had that feeling. It’s not living up to what I psyched myself into expecting, etc, all the while cursing the destructive power of hype. “It’s good,” I thought – the music’s great of course, the story well-paced, the performances perfect – “but it’s not overwhelming me.”
But it’s all in the ending. When it all comes together, in at most 3 little shots. And it was literally like one second I was dry and the next my face was streaked with tears, and they didn’t stop till the last credit rolled off the screen. This movie is just too beautiful for words.