Bill I’s Review – 3 out of 5
I am going against the grain here, where Rotten Tomatoes rated it an 87, I was underwhelmed and left wondering where all the laughs are. Ultimately I see this as another typical latter-stage Woody plot centered on infidelity among the upper class, in this case embodied by Alec Baldwin as a Madoff-like financial manipulator and Cate Blanchett as the ultimate society climbing wife. Actually, Alec has has his comeuppance by the first scene, so his story is told in flashbacks, while Cate has to move in with her blue collar sister (a very watchable Sally Hawkins), who tends to gravitate toward “loser” boyfriends, played very well by Andrew Dice Clay (first husband) and Bobby Carnavale (current lover). The most fascinating aspect of the film is Cate Blanchett’s tour de force of this unstable, narcissistic character. The plot is unsurprising, the characters are mostly cliches (oh wow, Dice Clay and Canavale talk this “dis” and like simple things like watching football on TV with their beer drinking buddies). And the ultimate second husband material Cate finds, played by Peter Sarsgaard, is too good to be true: a diplomat with political aspirations, he’s single, super rich and needs a wife to move to Vienna with him. The most subversive scene that p-d me off is when Cate finally figures out that Alex has been cheating on him (for years). Like Woody must have been confronted by Mia over his Soon-yi affair ( remember “the heart wants what the heart wants”), Alec is confronted by Cate. She’s a hysterical mess, screaming, mascara running, while he’s super cool, calm and civilized, asking to talk it over and figure out how to divorce so they can move on with their lives. Oh really, Woody, is that how it was? Yuck! Anyway, if you want to see Cate Blanchett do her thing, have fun. But there’s not that much that’s actually funny to see.
Bill C’s Review – 3.5 out of 5
While I agree with much of what Bill says I liked this movie more than Bill did. Possibly I was helped by Bill’s review and was not expecting a comedy and view this more as a drama.
I thought both Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins were great. Cate is able to show an amazing variety of emotions in a single scene. I also like the performances of Canavale, Louis CK and Dice Clay. Clay was sort of playing the stereotypical version of himself but he was good at it. I agree with Bill on Peter Saarsgard – he was ok but the character was too good to be true and too convenient for the the story.
I liked the way the story wasn’t told in a straight linear fashion and for me there were enough surprises in the plot for me to find this interesting. I liked this and recommend it although there’s a lot of other interesting movies worth seeing right now as well.