Jan. 4th, 2016

giandujakiss: (Default)
Loved it. Was riveted.

I'm consistently amazed by movies (All The President's Men, its obvious forerunner; The Big Short) where everyone knows going in how the movie ends, but it still holds your attention because it's just such a great journey.

Anyway, at first I was afraid to watch Spotlight because I just didn't think I could take wallowing in the subject matter. But the movie is really more about reporting than the scandal itself. Don't get me wrong - the movie doesn't shy away from its subject - but it's the reporting that's in focus. What holds your attention is watching the reporters' growing amazement as they realize the extent of the problem - and the coverup.

Of course, after I saw Spotlight, Sister Act was on television, and man, talk about whiplash in terms of portrayals of the Catholic church.

Also saw Suffragette. Sadly, I found that very disappointing. A great example to prove the old adage, "If you want to send a message, use Western Union." The political polemic overshadows the storytelling, which is a pity, because if the movie had focused more on the story, the politics would have sold themselves - there's a lot of wonderful, heroic, tragic, horrifying history to mine. The movie is massively uninterested in portraying how anyone could have believed in this system, lived under it - which I dislike, because if there are any lessons to be learned from this kind of history, it has to be that people who thought themselves to be fair and good were able to justify this system to themselves. The lesson is how people in power convince themselves that the power is earned; and the distorting effects of that power on their behavior. And of course, that power doesn't give ground without a fight, no matter how justified the cause may seem in retrospect.

The movie tries to capture the idea of the suffragette movement through one woman's gradual conversion to the cause, except her conversion actually happens incredibly quickly; meanwhile, most of the other characters are more symbols than actual people. Lots of speeches by lots of characters, but I didn't get a real sense of where the movement was, its effect on the public, its relative popularity at the time. Critical things that might have had more of an emotional impact - the idea that politicians were keeping suffragette protests out of the press, for example, to keep them from making waves - were almost an afterthought. Compare, for example, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which makes the suppression of press coverage into an incredibly powerful rallying point (I'm not suggesting Suffragette should have shown an army of children printing a newspaper; just that it's an easy outrage-button to push and they didn't push it). Frankly, this vid of the movie Iron Jawed Angels is more powerful than the entire Suffragette movie.

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