MOVIE REVIEW: THE GOLDFINCH (John Crowley, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Ganito din ba ka-boring ang Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that this was based on? Siguro kaya hindi rin ako makalampas sa first few chapters ng book (although mas kasalanan talaga ng short attention span ko at ng Mobile Legends). Grabe halos ma-plano ko na ang buong buhay ko habang hinihintay matapos ang movie na parang wala naman pinatunguhan.

Syempre masakit as an Ansel Elgort fan to accept na totoo pala lahat ng negative reviews nito (commercial flop din sya at mukhang hindi man lang kikita ng more than $5M sa US in its entire run). Mas may emotional connection pa ako sa IG videos ng meltdown niya while defending the film. Ganun siya kalala.

Ang only source of joy ko dito eh kapag may mga lumalabas from the cast of American Horror Story like Sarah Paulson and Denis O’Hare. Sayang nga at hindi ginamit ang Ryan Murphy Universe to cast the other roles here (Connie Britton for Nicole Kidman, Dylan McDermott for Luke Wilson, and even Evan Peters for Ansel). Ang saya siguro ng AHS: Goldfinch bilang horrific experience din naman siya.

May isang linya lang dito na tumatak sa akin. Yung sinabi ng fiancée niya na “I don’t expect you to know what it feels like to be in love with the wrong person” at ang only reason bakit siya papakasalan was “This marriage makes sense”. Hay, ang sakit. You deserve better, Ansel. You deserve much better.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: BROOKLYN (John Crowley, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Brooklyn:

1. One nice character gave this friendly advice to our heroine, “Nothing fancy, you wouldn’t want to look like a tart”, and that line perfectly captured the essence of this old-fashioned and formulaic but ultimately lovely and well-told film.

2. The said character also gave a checklist of do’s and don’ts in Immigration (“Think like an American”, “Whatever you do, do not cough”) and it brought out my weird fears passing through the same lines whenever I visited another country. There would always be this voice warning me that the officer would find something anomalous in my passport or discover an error in the system and that I would immediately get sent back home. It always felt like I was entering the gates of heaven as soon as I got cleared from the Immigration counter. Best part of my trip every time.

3. I have great admiration for people that work abroad or completely migrate to another country. It takes a lot of courage not only to start a new life in a different world but also to leave the place that you call home. Just the thought of being away from my bed for a week triggers a nervous breakdown. Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) mentioned in the movie that “Homesickness is like most sicknesses. It will pass”, but that definitely wouldn’t apply to me. Living miles away from my bathroom will be the death of me. (Again, a salute to our hard-working and fearless OFWs!!)

4. I’ve never tried riding a ship to travel (the closest experiences would be the SuperCat we took from Cebu to Bohol and the TurboJet from Hong Kong to Macau) and based on these ship stories (including Titanic), it might never even happen. This film was set in the 50’s and I’m sure the conditions have changed since then but that scene where Eilis (a terrific Saoirse Ronan) took a dump in a pail because of seasickness will forever haunt my dreams.

5. Julie Walters as the snappish boardinghouse owner Mrs. Kehoe was so delightful that I was surprised she didn’t get an Oscar nomination for this role. I loved the entire conversation regarding Eilis’ greasy skin that ended with Mrs. Kehoe asking if the Bible stated what brand of soap is best to use. When she mentioned that “Giddiness is the eighth deadly sin”, I actually believed her. Her character was the direct opposite of that haughty store owner slash town gossip Miss Kelly who berated a customer for buying shoe polish on a Sunday. These old women were really something.

6. Were you also curious to know how the cashier tubes worked? I actually imagined an underground room full of goblins similar to the Gringotts in Harry Potter.

7. Eilis wore these really gorgeous ensembles (usually a dress and cardigan combo) that wouldn’t be out of place in Jessica Day’s closet. It’s time to plan a 50’s theme party.

8. I first saw Emory Cohen in Smash as the annoying mopey son of Debra Messing and I was surprised to see him bring a natural zest in the role of Italian-American lover turned husband of Eilis. I giggled a bit though in the scene where Eilis tried to rest her head on his shoulder because Saoirse with heels was about an inch or two taller than Emory. Such a cute couple (and not in a Tom Cruise-Nicole Kidman way).

9. The audience was obviously affected by Eilis’ every move. They let out a loud collective gasp in the scene where she simply hid the letters of her husband without reading them. Even I was so engrossed that my mind kept screaming “Malandi! Haliparot! Kerengkeng!” when she started to fall for another man (Domnhall Gleeson, or Dumble Gleeson if you’re Leonardo DiCaprio).

10. Was I the only one bothered that the ultimate reason for her decision was because she got caught by the town gossip? Did she really need a wake-up call to remind her of her married status? My ultra-conservative side wanted her to swim all the way back to Brooklyn as penance. Ang perfect ko kasi!!

Rating: ★★★★☆