My Week in Movies: January 28 - February 3

by lauren atkinson


Honeymoon
First of all, I have loved watching Rose Leslie from the time I first saw her on Downton Abbey through her time on Game of Thrones. I find her enchanting and relatable. I am hoping that because she is early in her career, we see her more often and in a continued range of roles and characters.
I love that this film starts with a "wedding video" which is a diary/love note to each other about how they are feeling about one another that they will show everyone that is a guest. This caters to the current culture we live: the need to overshare with friends and family, to document everything in our lives rather than to live personal moments and not have to share with other people. At the start, the wedding video feels inconsequential.
Honeymoon, at first glance, is very similar in high-level narrative to The Strangers. (Couple in a cabin, alone in the woods, strange events) What separates this one from others in the genre is the genuine love of the couple towards each other and the moments of affection. This felt like I was really looking at a vacation of a couple -- both because of the opening sequence of the wedding video and the electricity between the actors. As a couple, they feel natural. There are moments where they start to have hard conversations that many newlyweds do ("do we want kids?" "I didn't realize your dad was...") but are prompted all at once due to being in seclusion in a family home. The topics come up naturally and do not feel pressed to create tension. 
Rose Leslie's Bea goes from silly and fun to strange and unpredictable in her behavior. You begin to wonder whether her erratic behavior has always been nestled underneath the surface or was triggered by something new. I relate to her in many ways (post for another time) and as the story unfolds, you begin to feel more than sympathetic for her. At first, you are led to start thinking that Bea has been unfaithful to Paul. I had hoped that the explanation for her behavior was sci-fi rather than the haunting potential of something lewd or infidel that the plot tries to lead your mind. As the story becomes sci-fi, I am for it. And it shifts that way quickly. 
Had I not known what genre this was prior to starting it, I would not have expected the horror/thriller elements that come later in the movie. Because I was consciously aware that this was a thriller, I spent quite the time waiting for something to happen. But this does not mean that it is poorly paced or predictable: this movie takes its time and it pays off in the end.  
 

Poltergeist
This is one of my favorite movies and I am reserving a separate post just about why I love it. But I went and saw this in 70mm at Alamo Drafthouse this week and am so glad that I did! 
The cut that we watched had coloring issues (it was legit... magenta) but I loved seeing it on screen with an audience. The laughs are more laughable and the few jumps are jumpier. And I love when the audience claps at exciting moments.

Frances Ha
Yes, I am behind. It has taken until now for me to watch this and I am sad about that. Although this movie is very much a slice-of-life and coming-of-age from the female perspective, I found it a bit dry and lack-luster. This is not a favorite of mine but it does merit viewing if you have not seen it. 

However, the dialogue of Frances Ha is believable and sometimes painfully so. There are moments where Frances is faced with being in a room full of friends and seems to be wanting more from the conversations and experiences she is having. Almost creating a new narrative for herself in hopes that it will materialize into her life. I love the indecisiveness of Frances as she attempts to navigate feeling unfulfilled in her career and post-college life: she is still immature but wants to prove her worth. At times it is unclear whether Frances would like to push forward and have independence or whether she would like to continue to rely on others, much like a child expects their parents to provide. There's an insecurity of having to compare herself to others but then find the reality that you may not actually want to change your current position in life. 

The Witch
This is one of my favorite movies. I have a post upcoming in a few weeks talking more in-depth about this one. Stay tuned.