Here are the quick movie reviews for “Private Life”, “The Other Side of the Wind”, and “Madeline’s Madeline”.
“Private Life” is a painfully personal tale that gives us the much overdue return of writer-director, Tamara Jenkins. Jenkins brings a cozy bedside manner to the film’s Autumn New York City setting. Jenkins shapes this film with sharp dry comedy, while as well having a strong dramatic core that’s unabashedly raw with it’s emotions. This film as well brings three of the finest performances of the year so far in the ones given by Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti, and Kayli Carter. But the undeniable standout is Hahn who gives a performance that is both vivid and exquisitely subtle, as her character continues to long to be a mother. In the end this is a film that settles deeply into your soul as you find yourself cheering for our two lead characters as you ride their roller coaster of emotional momentum until it crushes you and you catch yourself asking them to take it easier on themselves. Though if they did, it wouldn’t be really life and it really wouldn’t be art either. Which is the beauty of film, that it’s oh-so completely both.
The Other Side of the Wind
A film which is one of extreme layers and a strong encapsulation of Orson Welles filmography, “The Other Side of the Wind” is an essential viewing for any Welles fan or just any fan of cinema. The film starts off as if you have jumped on an already moving treadmill, some people will fall and have a tough time catching up, while others will catch themselves and get there footing for one crazy ride. The opening of this film does play like a talk-on-the-town montage on speed, thanks to the film’s staccato editing that we see throughout. You’ll always wonder what ’70s audiences would have made of this neoclassical tragedy that is at times jarring and frenetic, with it’s grainy mock-cinéma-vérité footage and amorphous structure. But “The Other Side of the Wind” is ultimately about the implosion of an artist’s ego and intellect, while as well showing the way art hides as much as it reveals about its maker.
An off-kilter house-of-mirrors drama that is undeniably one of, if not the, most bold and experimental film I’ve seen so far this year, “Madeline’s Madeline” embraces it’s disorienting nature into one very unique experience. This film delivers a breakout performance that is much like this film, bold. And that performance comes from Helena Howard, who gives her feature film debut here. Howard brings a feral intensity and vulnerability, while also seemingly having a direct line to her emotions as she can switch on a dime. “Madeline’s Madeline” is a film about an assortment of things, from the escapism of the imagination to the exploitive relationship of an actor-director relationship and mental illness. But it’s director Josephine Decker’s fragmentary style that is engaging throughout and delivers a film that is very much a heady self-examination.