That’s not hyperbole, either. Kidman nearly elevates this film to something essential almost entirely on her own. This is a magnetic, impossibly complex star turn that comes close to being one of the Oscar-winner’s best, and truly the only reason I’m talking about [Strangerland] at all is entirely thanks to her.
Anchored by a stupendous, marvelously intricate performance from its star, [Gemma Bovery] is a sprightly, introspectively fearless wonder that goes to some pretty dark places yet does so with a somewhat surprising amount of levity. It’s an odd amalgamation of comedy, drama and tragedy all melded into one gleefully anarchic whole, and as such it’s a joy to watch opening frame to last.
“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.