Search This Blog

Monday, 3 May 2010

Film - Life During Wartime - directed by Todd Solondz

Star rating - 7/10

I felt at a disadvantage having not seen Todd Solondz’s 1998 ‘Happiness’, to which this latest offering is a follow up, albeit with a totally different cast. Without knowing the back story however, it is obvious that the three Jewish sisters featured are more than a little dysfunctional.

Joy (Shirley Henderson) needs a break from her husband Allen (played by Omar from ‘The Wire’ Michael K Williams – last seen getting all his clothes taken in ‘The Road’), who is trying to give up his crack cocaine, gangster way of life but not really succeeding. Trish has told her youngest two children that their father is dead, but really he is alive and well and has newly finished a prison term for paedophilia. She is on the crest of a wave after meeting new man Harvey on a blind date and not minding that he is neither good looking nor rich, as he is Jewish and loves Israel. And making up the triumvirate is the fabulous Ally Sheedy as Trish, the writer having an affair with ‘Keanu’ and feeling desolate after having fallen out with poetry. As you do…

One of the main themes running through all this dysfunction is forgiveness. When to forgive. Whether to forgive and forget. Whether you can just forget and skip the forgiving. It is all a bit complicated.

But there is some wonderful acting here. As well as the sisters there is a superb cameo from Charlotte Rampling playing a very predatory older woman who admits that her children hate her as she is as a monster. Ciaran Hinds plays the paedophile father, whose brief reunion with his eldest son is touching and difficult.

Ghosts from the past haunt Joy. Trish’s young son asks very searching questions of her, and she in turn reveals a little more than is desirable about how Harvey makes her feel. I am not sure what the main message is really, but is there was plenty of food for thought and black humour along the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment