If motion pictures could be hung on the wall in art museums, this is one of those movies that would be there, perhaps side-by-side with paintings by Matisse or Picasso. The problem with art of that calibre is that you're not quite sure what to make of it. On the one hand, you might appreciate the aristic talent and thoughtfulness behind the work; but, on the other hand, you're tempted to ask, "What's the big deal?!" and dismiss it as indulgent or--worse--meaningless.
So, here goes:
On the one hand, we can't believe this film ever got made in the first place. It is based on a children's book that has far more pictures than words, has a very thin plot, and at times can make you weary of its intense emotion (boredom sets in on more than one occasion...you wonder when the film will finally end).
But on the other hand, it is beautiful, masterfully directed by Spike Jonze, and so fundamentally different from most other films that it's hard not to appreciate it for its absurdity alone. And, if you know any child psychologists, call and ask them what they thought. Though this melancholy tale is ripe for deep analysis, thankfully the filmmakers left that entirely up to the viewer.
I'm hesitant to badmouth this movie, but I also can't force myself to praise it. Since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has increased the number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten this year, I wouldn't be surprised if this one is nominated. If you'd like a quick verdict from us, here it is:
Brooke's grade: F
Grant's grade: B-