“With kids, what’s the first language they speak? Well, that’s emotion…Even if they don’t understand the specifics of what is being talked about, if they see a character is upset or fearful or happy, they respond to that.”
The Australian import The Little Death is a suburban sex comedy that’s too tame to make much of an impact yet also just icky enough at times to border on repugnance…[It’s] prone to introducing a clever gag only to beat it into the ground until it’s no longer of value, oftentimes forgetting less is more especially as it pertains to eliciting laughter from the audience.
What’s interesting is that, as crazy as that destination might be, as thought-provoking as elements might become, it’s the stuff that happens long before the denouement that gives this Sundance and Seattle International Film Festival favorite its memorable staying power.
Relative newcomer Moore is outstanding. He’s the one that keeps the movie on track, never allowing it to drift too far into absurdity or sentimentality, anchoring the proceedings with a complex, potently effective portrait of youth in revolt.
Over four generations (and counting) of kids have been raised on “Sesame Street.” All of them know Big Bird. All of them know Oscar the Grouch. Few of them know the puppeteer and actor who has portrayed them both since the beginning. His name is Caroll Spinney, and when all is said and down he’ll go down as a legendary, iconic talent likely to have no comparable equal at any point in the foreseeable future.
What’s fascinating is just how many levels this ingenious bit of storytelling virtuosity works on. The youngest of minds will be mesmerized by the dazzling colors and the enchanting characters, while more seasoned viewers will be just as deeply engrossed by the complexity of the themes being examined.
When Marnie Was There doesn’t just live up to the high standards of the countless classics that proceeded it, in many ways it brings all of the themes and the ideas Ghibli has been interested in dissecting throughout their storied history to brilliant summation. It’s a masterpiece, and as final efforts go I cannot think of anything better than that.
While following a template that could hardly be considered original, the film is nonetheless a quirky, authentically emotional, structurally complex gem that builds its central relationships with a delightfully delicate touch. It refuses to bend or compromise, and while the picture wears its indie street cred like a badge of honor it doesn’t get so arch or artificial as to make any character’s growth or maturation feel fake or insincere.
I like the aggressive machismo fueling the film, a trait Dujardin isn’t afraid of embracing. He’s a tornado tearing through the proceedings with fearless ferocity, becoming some sort of carnivorous, chain-smoking combination of Humphrey Bogart, Gene Hackman and Jean-Paul Belmondo all rolled into one.