A fascinating concept is buried under atrocious acting and dialogue (lots of telling not showing and then telling some more: “I need to visit my sister, she’s a psychologist too-” WHO CARES), a back-and-forth-spotlight narrative on the beach that’s chopped up like a middle school stage play, camerawork that somehow depletes the suspense and horror instead of adding to it, and an over-explained ending that mars any thematic poignancy that came before (see the “what were we fighting about” scene).
Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality. (IMDb)
Well-made, not just in its technical elements but in the way it deftly ties its many characters and generation-long plot threads together in such a satisfying (and ultimately surprisingly positive, as suspicion and violence give way to trust and sleep) manner, making for a powerfully morbid epic on the dangers of religion. That said, it’s done through a distanced, fairy tale-like approach that prevents it from ever reaching emotional dramatic excellence despite solid turns by the whole cast.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on their own terms. (IMDb)
The timeline hopping is cleverly and masterfully executed (see the warm vs. cold tones, mirrored shots) and adds remarkable emotional depth (see Jo walking down the stairs x2) to what is an already extremely well-written (and acted) web of characters (to the big emotional moments are added many brilliant little overlapping quips and quibbles). Often hilarious (“I’m making a mould of my foot for Laurie to remind him I have nice feet!”) and always heartfelt, with a delightfully cheeky ending.