My Reviews of Oscar Nominated Movies
"Lady Bird" - A+++++++
Lady Bird makes you laugh, cry, and call your mom. It easily made my top five favorite movies ever! It moved me so much and was one of the most real and relatable movies I've ever seen. The story is a coming of age story for teenager during her senior year in high school and going off to college, while also a story of a parent struggling to let go of their child who is becoming an adult. The honest, heartfelt, frustrating, loving, funny, and complicated mother- daughter relationship was portrayed in an incredibly thoughtful and real way on both sides. There really are no spoilers because there is no real ultimate climax or action, it is art imitating life in the best way. It is fantastic. I hope it wins everything, but at the very least Greta Gerwig should win for writing and directing, in my opinion!
"Call Me By Your Name" - A-
Call Me By Your Name was visually stunningly beautiful (set in a villa in Northern Italy) and I really enjoyed the simple story of two young men secretly falling in love in the 1980s when it wasn't a relationship that would be widely accepted. The film doesn't get into the political and social climate of the day, you just get to watch the bubble of a safe, surprising, summer romance and what happens when it can't last after the summer. More than half way through the movie I thought to myself "This is a nice love story, but not mind blowing...", but the last couple scenes make the movie. Wow. The last shot when the credits roll is one of the power endings of any movie. Such poignant, touching, and heart-wrenching conversations between the father and son and the couple. Timothee Chalamet was phenomenal as the son and half of the romantic relationship (he is also in Lady Bird!) and will be an actor of our generation.
"The Post" - A
Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks together? What's not to love!? I honestly didn't know a lot about the government scandal involving the Pentagon Papers and the Vietnam War that was uncovered and published by the Washington Post and New York Times. The film was very eye-opening and informative for this time in our history on top of the impressive performances by Streep and Hanks, who clash a lot in the movie while working on the same team for the Post. It should be a must watch for every American on the importance of the checks and balances the press provides.
"Phantom Thread" - C-
Phantom Thread left a lot to be desired. Daniel Day Lewis can do no wrong, but while setting (1950s London), the character (a renowned dressmaker), director (Paul Thomas Anderson-There Will Be Blood/Boogie Nights/Inherent Vice), couldn't really make the plot work for me. Without giving too much away, Lewis's life is disrupted by a new girlfriend, who becomes his muse and lover, and together ultimately form a tumultuous and bizarre partnership.
"Get Out" - A
We were late to the party on watching "Get Out". There was so much hype that I worried I wouldn't like it as much as everyone else. I think that was true to some extent but I thought it was so unique and compelling- especially for a horror movie! Normally I steer clear of the horror genre, although I love a good thriller. The movie highlights a lot of the awful racial undertones that come up throughout society and then takes that real life racist behavior and ramps it up by 1000 to make a truly, terrifying plot. It's definitely worth seeing and is now streaming on HBO!
"Loving Vincent" - A
As the first fully painted feature film by a team of 125 artists, Loving Vincent was an incredible undertaking and a must-watch, in my opinion. As a Vincent Van Gogh fan, I was in awe of the animation developed out of his paintings and making them come to life on film to tell a story that deals with the unanswered questions by his friends in Provence after his death. It is stunningly beautiful and so unique. I hope this is just the beginning of more animated films of this caliber.
"The Shape of Water" - C+
The Shape of Water isn't really my kind of movie, but I can appreciate the story, the special effects, the uniqueness, the performances (Octavia Spener, Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, and Richard Spencer were great), and the dark fantasy/scifi/romance premise. The plot being centered around a mute janitor at a 1960s secret research facility falls in love with an amphibious creature that is being held captive. There's no way around it- it is weird! But it is lighthearted and the score sounds more like you're watching Pride and Prejudice. While it's an interesting watch, it wasn't Oscar worthy to me!
"Strong Island" - A
I saw this documentary at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival here in Durham last spring! I knew nothing about it and walked out blown away! It's phenomenal as a sister searches for the true story of what happened when her older brother was murdered when she was a child. It is tragic to watch a family open up old, but still fresh wounds and fight for answers from witnesses and law enforcement. It is now streaming on Netflix and I highly reccomend it.
Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri - C
Three Billboards was hard for me to watch. Frankly, it shows a very small, rural community at their absolute worst and it doesn't really get any better. The film deals with rape, murder, police brutality, suicide, racism, cancer, domestic abuse, crime, and more cringe worthy subjects that are not for the faint of heart. Francis McDormand and Sam Rockwell won Oscars for their roles and I have to agree that Rockwell's performance was definitely impressive and probably would have gotten by vote if I was a voting member of The Academy. My vote for Best Lead Actress would still be for Sairose Ronan in Lady Bird. View at your own risk!