People don’t tend to like it much when you wear your heart on your sleeve. This isn’t universally true, but seems to be a relatively persistent trend in modern culture. Pessimism is easier than optimism, and there’s something admittedly thrilling about a blasé cynic, which for me explains the tepid response to Cloud Atlas, an epic adaptation with three directors and a hearty interest in the workings of the heart. That’s not to say there aren’t valid criticisms to be made about Cloud Atlas, or that the general ambivalence around the film is coming exclusively from the heartless. But there’s a common refrain in these assessments—“It just didn’t work for me.”—that reveals a structural weakness: intellectual critiques of sentiment are inherently weak, because sentiment is not an intellectual mechanism. Whether or not you respond to it isn’t a a matter of what you think, but what you truly feel, and post-Cloud Atlas, I felt a great deal.
Tag Archives: Jim Broadbent
I generally avoid reading reviews until I’ve made my own conclusions. It’s a precaution against accidental plagiarism or having my opinion subtly altered. In the case of Another Year though, I felt safe. I was so convinced of my position, so sure of my assessment, I didn’t feel the usual need for prudence. I couldn’t imagine that the professionals would really have such a different viewpoint then my own. This assumption lead me to the Rotten Tomatoes rating of this film: 92%. It led me to rave reviews from Ebert and Travers and Scott. And more than anything, it entrenched my position that Mike Leigh‘s Another Year is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a good long while. It is as smug and self-satisfied as its two chief characters, and leaves the viewer with nothing but questions. I don’t know what movie everybody else is watching, but Writer/Director Mike Leigh’s latest is a pretentious cipher of a film and, to put it plainly, not worth the film it was printed on.