Aug 10, 2009

Two Good Small Movies

I really liked Adam, a charming, tender, smart love story about a guy that has Asperger's syndrome (a form of highly functional autism). It is very well written and it avoids all the clichés with a nice dose of reality and much equipoise. Credit goes to the wonderful writing and direction by Max Mayer, who resists sentimentality and going over the top in any direction. This is a very good example of an extremely well crafted, intimate film (not a common ocurrence in these shores). The cast is excellent, particularly mega cute good actor Hugh Dancy in the title role, and Amy Irving, who is amazing.

Cold Souls, a quirky sci-fi movie by Sophie Barthes, is very enjoyable. The conceit may remind you of Being John Malkovich, because it stars Paul Giamatti, playing an actor called Paul Giamatti, who wants to get rid of his soul, which is weighing on him too much (he's currently rehearsing Uncle Vanya). So he goes to a company that takes your soul out and stores it for you. Humans being the fuck ups that they are, bureaucratic complications ensue. Like in Adam, there is a sureness of tone, a poise, that keeps the movie from silliness.
But this is a much simpler movie than Being John Malkovich. It doesn't try as hard to be out there.
It presents its very imaginative concept matter of factly, which is very cool. Do not expect much metaphysical exploration. If you ask me, if you lost your soul, you'd lose your personality and your emotions, and you'd be like Wall-e without his chip. But since nobody knows exactly what the soul is, the movie is free to play gently with the concept. It is very entertaining, funny and smart. And because it deals in part with the Russian soul, also sweetly melancholy. Paul Giamatti is delightful. He'd be a great Uncle Vanya, by the way.

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