Two Movies: One Bright, One Awful

How about something positive for a change, yes?

…A Bright Light

happy -go-(cherry) lucky

That same uncreative Tuesday night, I caught Happy Go Lucky (R, 2008), a story about a character named “Poppy” (Sally Hawkins as Pauline Cross), a thirty-year-old school teacher that lives in a flat, has great friends, loves dealing with the children (up until a playground fight), and tries to “light the world, one person at a time.”  She’s a frickin’ beacon— a free spirit, almost always nice all the time, sometimes distracted, cracking jokes.

Enjoying a dance class, giggling even through back injury therapy… no doubt she would come across as patronizing to some, including a pregnant relative.  Scott (Eddie Marsan), her miserable driving instructor, holds onto the things that keep him in his miserable place, as he implicitly attempts to prove the whole world miserable.  He eventually blows up in her face, forcing her to pause and think for a while.

Okay, so the overall movie isn’t nearly as bright as the lead character, but the film bears a certain amount of realism, with supporting characters that support a drama nicely balanced with humor.  The only disappointment I had was that Poppy is a work of fiction.  Wouldn’t you want to actually meet someone like that?  I know I would.  Unfortunately, sadly, that Scott reminded me of… me.

It’s hard to put a grade on this film without ruining the mood… it changed my life a little.  Grade: B.

…And a Movie to Avoid

A few days later… I saw Trance (R, 2013), part heist movie, part psychological bender.  It starts with a brief history of art auctions, the robbery of paintings during, and lands on the business of protecting paintings.  So, right off, priceless art…used to sell this movie.

The plot advances, unravels, twists and turns, and drifts from something reasonable to a twisted mess on fire being pushed into the water.  Literally— that’s kind of how it ends, without really giving anything away.

The bender quickly breaks.  Filling the cracks, bits of gratuity, which includes Rosario Dawson in a needless full-frontal shot (How did you know?), not to mention the violence, noting a scene where Simon (James McAvoy) shoots one of the crew members in the groin —that’s a squib…on underwear.

You’d expect in a modern movie a twist or two, but every time a door’s opened, the studio-stock writing quality is exposed.  The science alone is thin.  There, Trance is trumped by an episode of Perception (TNT).  Overall, the script is ultimately flawed.  Even some of the dialogue for the hypnotherapist (Dawson) —a doctor— contains a noticeable grammatical error.

With control and obsession at the center, the character development is written as if by a High School student.  The good guys become bad and vice versa.  The heist leader (Vincent Cassel), who ordered Simon’s finger nails be torn off as means of getting information out of him— until the therapy option comes into play (and everything’s “good” and cute)— is eventually presented in a ‘normal relationship’ light, as if sociopathy can just be turned off.

Once again, I think the director and actors had more fun than the audience.  Unfortunately, there are no refunds.  Grade: C-.

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