My favorite thing about Guardians of the Galaxy was Karen Gillan’s Nebula, so you can probably guess what I thought of the film. Review here.
My review of Magic in the Moonlight is here ….
© deborah feingold photography
The Lollipop Shoot
I’m a day late, but Happy Birthday Madonna!
This is the trailer for Summer Hours, the film I mentioned in the previous post. It’s a favorite of mine, available on Criterion, and I recommend it highly as a sort of counterpoint to The Goldfinch on the question of man’s relationship to art, I’d like to watch it again and write something longer if time permits.
It took me quite a while to read this in the midst of some theater projects, and during that time I saw articles and read tweets about how the book had become a sort of flashpoint for readers and critics. For every “highbrow” critic like James Wood (who not only doesn’t like this book but is alarmed that anyone else does) there are more than enough readers carried along by the tale of Theodore and his painting to sustain an almost 800-page novel on the the bestseller lists for months. On balance, I think I’m fine with that.
I won’t restate the plot, you can find that elsewhere. Where do I stand on the novel itself? I think it’s a great story but not a great novel. Donna Tartt (whose other novels I haven’t read) can move a plot along, and the book is crammed with incident and rarely drags. (The Vegas section could have been tighter.) That said, Tartt moves very awkwardly to a sort of grand statement of themes at the end. Theodore is recounting his adventures in retrospect, and his summing up is an attempt to make the case that our highest purpose is to keep beauty in the world both for it’s own sake and so others can benefit from it. Given everything that’s happened in the preceding pages, this idea seems more than a little hollow. Is Theodore not concerned with the friends and loved ones he has kept at a distance? There’s only one character to whom Theodore expresses any remorse or introspection over his behavior, otherwise his concerns at the end of the novel feel entirely aesthetic. I was put in mind of the French film Summer Hours - which has a very different view of man’s relationship to objects - while reading the closing pages of The Goldfinch, and I’d recommend that film to anyone still thinking about the argument Tartt makes in the final pages. The Goldfinch will be with us for awhile during its lengthy paperback run as a bestseller and probably as a film or TV series. I suspect the Pulitzer it won will come to be regarded in the same way as the prize given to the musical Rent, as a sort of thank you for revitalizing interest in the form. Despite its length The Goldfinch winds up a low-calorie pleasure.
RIP Robin Wiliams, a huge talent whose abilities rarely seemed to find the proper vehicle…….
My review of Richard Linklater’s excellent Boyhood is here……