The Whale, 2022.
It would be difficult to find in American film history a movie that deals so directly with so many delicate questions of contemporary America, including obesity, religion, homophobia, family breakdown, and health care.
DON’T WORRY DARLING
Criticism for this film has been often severe, but some top critics disagree and see this film as quite revealing. The film may appear superficial at first glance, yet it does tackle several socially relevant themes. The conversation about this movie will last until the Oscar season, with good reason.
This is not the first time that a film or a novel reveals that children are not always as innocent as they may seem to be. What is revealing here is that the occurrences of malice and cruelty among children seem to happen in a kind of vacuum, when most families have left their homes for family vacations.
MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS
The critics are unanimously positive about what is described as a delightful comedy about a modest British domestic worker in the early post-war period who goes to Paris to buy a couturier dress. Yet, the film is also surprisingly revealing, as it suggests real differences between British and French cultures.
CRIMES OF THE FUTURE
Director David Cronenberg had predicted that part of the audience would leave the screening of his horror-drama-science fiction film in the first minutes of viewing it. Indeed, there is a lot to be uncomfortable with this “inside view” of the future transformation of the human body.
As this film and numerous other films suggest, Spain is a truly modern society, even a post-modern one, with post-modern choices and challenges. Parallel mothers is about choices that are made and sometimes imposed, but not necessarily through tradition and family.
What does this melancholic film tell us? We can feel it is about something important. But what? Although the hero could achieve a sense of balance and harmony as a great chef earlier in his life, he can now only find these moments of grace as a hermit looking for truffles and mushrooms in the wild, with the help of his beloved pig. What does that tell us about our times?
THERE IS NO EVIL
The film may be all the more revealing in that it was filmed in secret, so much its content was sensitive and disturbing. What does this film tell us about Iran that we do not already know, while at the same time being true to a well-established Iranian cinematic tradition?
This film which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival of 2021, the supreme honor of the prestigious meeting, leaves no one indifferent. Its viewing can cause a sense of discomfort. Does its violence and unlikely story have any overall meaning at all, or should we simply refrain from such a quest, as seems to sometimes suggests its director?
Let us not be fooled by this comedy that depicts a chapter in the life of a movie studio seamstress, that organizes a wedding ceremony in which she will marry….herself. What is it about current society to even imagine such a story? The Movie Shrink thinks he has a few elements to understand.
If there ever was a film in need of interpretation, this story about a modern-day incarnation of the myth of water nymph Undine, who comes to earth for love, through the life of an urban historian who tells the architectural story of Berlin, for the guests
of the city administration, this is the one. But are there other stories behind this improbable story?
Much as A beautiful day in the neighborhood took us back to a gentler media environment, MInari takes us back to a gentler rural America, where immigration was not a wedge issue, politically charged as it sometimes is today. Why this longing for what is, after all, a quite recent past? What has changed so much in the recent thirty or forty years?
This film of fiction, not too far away from being a documentary, takes a kind and affectionate look at what is not frequently portrayed in cinema: the houseless people living in their van in America. Is this a militant film, intending to give us a message about current socio-economic trends in America? Yes, in part. But it is at the same time broader and more specific than that.
The trials and tribulations of this Algerian family immigrating to Montréal speak to the challenges of integrating a new environment and society. But, just as in the Greek tragedy from which this film is inspired, Antigone, there are existential choices to be made along the way, and choosing between some of the alternatives is not a simple choice between good and evil. Which is why it is a tragedy.
SOUND OF METAL
Without a doubt, this film is exactly what The Movie Shrink has in mind when he is looking for significant films that require an interpretation, a deeper understanding. Beyond the individual story about a rock-heavy metal drummer experiencing a hearing loss, this is a film about sensory balance. Contrasting with the usual scenes of the film in run-down America, the story ends in Europe, in Brussels, in a comfortable and quite elegant neighborhood. Very intriguing, indeed.
THE VAST OF NIGHT
In a story reminiscent of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), this film about strange sounds emanating from an unusual audio frequency, heard in a small town of New Mexico, is deceptively simple. It could be better understood when combined with A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019).
THE DEAD DON’T DIE
A horror movie can be quite significant, beyond its improbable events and systematic violence. This seems to be the case with this zombie movie.
ASH IS PUREST WHITE
China is no doubt experiencing major socio-economic transformations at this moment in its history. These major changes may affect men and women differently. In China, as elsewhere, the balance between the two sexes may be changing.
WOMAN AT WAR
The state of the environment is a serious subject, and this film addresses that important challenge. But the light tone of the film leads us to believe that there is something else in this film.
A marriage celebration is of course a joyous occasion. But in this film, the celebration brings back memories of events and transactions that the participants would have preferred to forget.
Following the great critical and popular success of Get Out, any film by Jordan Peele would lead us to believe that it deals with black integration (or lack of it) in American society. But, in this film, that theme is less obvious, and the movie may concern all those that are forgotten, those that are underground, white or black.