Posts Tagged ‘Carey Mulligan’
Although it might be a bit untimely to talk at length about Drive nearly three full weeks after it opened on Sept. 16th, we at Movie-Thoughts thought it to be an even worse idea to not talk about it at all. Our Marisa Carpico did of course write a glowing review of the film, directed by Nicolas Refn (Bronson) and starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, and it appears her sentiments match that of the critical majority (RottenTomatoes rating is 93%), and because of these reasons we thought it was downright necessary to devote more time toward inspecting this refreshingly stylized action thriller. We tried to elaborate more on some of the angles explored in Marisa’s review, and took the opportunity to also bring up topics we felt hadn’t been addressed as often or thoroughly by other critics. We hope you find our discussion intriguing, and we of course encourage you to throw your two cents in at the comments section below. For those of you who have been debating internally about going to see Drive we hope our musings give you the extra incentive you need to give it a go and experience it for yourself. And for those of you who simply don’t wish to see it… well, you’re missing out.
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Synopsis: By day, Driver (Gosling) is a mechanic and stunt driver just trying to get by, but at night he moonlights as a getaway driver, selling his services for five minutes at a time and executing his work with cold confidence. He lives almost entirely behind the wheel of a car—until he encounters his sweet, pretty neighbor Irene (Mulligan) and her son Benicio (Leos). A mutual attraction grows between them, but before they can act on their feelings Irene’s husband, Standard (Isaacs), returns from prison. Suddenly, Driver’s personal and criminal lives collide when he decides to help Standard do a job and pay off his debt to a dangerous group of men. However, when the job goes wrong, Driver must resort to violence in order to protect Irene and Benicio.
Director: Mark Romanek
Length: 1h 43m
Synopsis: During the 1960s, Ruth (Knightley), Tommy (Garfield), and Kathy (Mulligan) begin their early years as students of the Hailsham boarding school for “special” children. Such children are the clones of humans, created to provide healthy organs for their originals later in life. The school’s main function is to keep these children healthy and indoctrinate them into accepting their purpose. Early on, Kathy and Tommy, both being outsiders of their respective social corners, begin to form a strong bond between each other. Each has seemingly fallen for the other, until Ruth pursues and woos Tommy herself. When all three turn eighteen they graduate to living outside of the school, with Ruth and Tommy still a couple and supposedly good friends with Kathy. Both girls are aware that the connection between Tommy and Kathy is real and the one between Tommy and Ruth is not, yet because of various reasons neither Tommy nor Kathy look to disrupt the status quo. This arrangement, however, does not last forever. When the inevitable happens and the three begin fulfilling their “purposes,” their true natures begin to surface – or rather, they do all they can to prove that they have true natures.
Between last October and now there have been several high-profile movies released that touch upon the subject of teenage girls trying to fight to avoid their planned futures – or to be more accurate, their futures which others have planned for them. Some examples of these movies are An Education, Whip It, and the recently released Alice in Wonderland.
Jenny (Carey Mulligan), the lead girl in An Education, sees herself as different from the other girls in her high school class, perhaps in terms of maturity, worldliness, intelligence, or simply personal goals. Unlike the other girls in her class she, like so many teenagers, begins to show contempt for the scholastic system within which she sits. Told to be ladylike and that her education is of the utmost importance, Jenny tires of hearing how the only way to success is through the strictly mapped pathway that the education system provides. As a result she rebels against structure and experiments with uncertainty. Likewise, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is trying to avoid a marriage that both her mother and society have set up for her, either ignorant or indifferent to the fact that she has no romantic feelings for her suitor. The sole rationale behind the union is that she is both young and attractive and her fiancé-to-be is financially comfortable. But worse, Alice is expected to bear the young man’s children so as to fulfill her social role as a woman. Naturally, when she finds herself falling down the rabbit hole and trapped again within the world of Wonderland, she’s not very eager to get home.
Both of these films touch on the same subject occurring at different time periods (Jenny the 1960s, Alice the Victorian era – both in England), which is the illumination of the social role of young women and their rebellion against that role. The question becomes: why do these movies – released within months of each other – ask for our interest in this matter? Is it that the issue is so inescapably attributed to our conception of the average teenager? Moreover, is the issue so inescapably attributed to our conception of the average teenage girl? Bliss (Ellen Page), the main protagonist in Drew Barrymore’s Whip It, is forced to deal with wanting a different future than what her mother has planned for her (roller derby vs. beauty pageants). It would appear that the society within which Bliss resides is not pressuring her to fulfill any kind of specific social role, but she nevertheless feels naturally compelled to resist being led on any path that she herself has not devised. If these representations of teenage girls, depicted across three different time periods, are indeed intended to be considered authentic and representative of the archetype they illustrate, then one must ask what the relevancy is in bringing these characters to our attention at this point in time. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s almost time! Going through the final few categories will hopefully help you get in the mood for tomorrow night’s festivities, which are sure to be as exciting as ever. Enjoy our newest analysis!
Best Actress in a Leading Role
This year’s Best Leading Actress pool is filled to the brim with deserving talent and performances, arguably more so than usual. What isn’t unusual is that it’s a tight race for who is actually going to win the gold statuette. The competition is stiff, but it would appear that the two leaders are Sandra Bullock and Helen Mirren, followed closely by Meryl Streep. Bringing up the rear is, of course, the younger two of the nominees, Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe, respectfully. Helen Mirren’s performance is said to be the most powerful, however Bullock has earned the majority of the Leading Actress awards leading up to the Academy Awards. Read the rest of this entry »
Director: Lone Scherfig (English debut)
Screenwriter: Nick Hornby (About a Boy, High Fidelity), based on memoirs by Lynn Barber
Cast: Carey Mulligan (Brothers), Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead), Alfred Molina (The Hoax), Rosamund Pike (Surrogates)
Length: 1h 35m
Synopsis: A 16 year old girl in 1960s England falls for an older man who promises to take her away from her boring life and show her the cultures of the world that she only dreamt of seeing. They enjoy many glamorous times together, but at the cost of the girl’s chances at getting into Oxford University. Eventually, the girl must choose which life to pursue, and her decision is a reflection of how smart she truly is.
Analysis: The basic story of a girl being wooed by an older man who is able to show her exciting places and things is hardly new. Many films and even sitcoms have by now seemingly exhausted this simple tale, and so I withhold no trepidation in spoiling the ending of An Education because you the reader are already intuitively aware of it. However, like with many films, it is the journey and not the destination which matters most. This being said, it is indeed the journey within An Education which separates it from much of its company. Read the rest of this entry »
An article on HollywoodReporter.com, written by Steven Zeitchik, talks about how up to this point in time in the Oscar race very few actresses have made much of an impression. Maryl Streep will likely be nominated (yet again) for her role as Julia Child in Julie and Julia, and Zeitchik claims that only two other leading actresses (Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe for An Education and Precious) have a shot at taking home the gold statuette.
One possible reason that Zeitchik postulates deals with the kinds of roles available for women in mainstream Hollywood. Independent films (such as An Education and Precious) offer many more dynamic, “serious” leading roles for women than Hollywood does (the reasons for which are up for speculation), but being in an independent flick doesn’t downgrade one’s performance in the eyes of the award voters. The Academy is not averse to giving the Best Leading Actress award to a “new face,” so-to-speak (ex. Jennifer Hudson, Marion Cotillard, etc.). Zeitchik later argues that unless you’re the likes of Angelina Jolie or Hillary Swank it’s hard for a woman to land a “serious” part in mainstream Hollywood. So shallow is the Oscar nomination pool for leading actresses, Zeitchik says, that Sandra Bullock is getting award buzz (for her role in The Blind Side).
Those who don’t think much of this year’s lack of standout performances by leading actresses chalk the issue up to the cyclical nature of each category, while some others speculate that it relates to bigger (supposed) issues like Hollywood making less award-worthy films. Zeitchik attempts to debunk such a speculation by noting that the Best Leading Actor category is overflowing with quality nomination possibilities (ex. George Clooney, Colin Firth, Jeff Bridges, Jeremy Renner, etc.).
You can read the full article here, which includes other related topics such as the possibility for three women to be nominated for Best Director, which is an unprecedented feat.
Quick Opinion: I can’t be certain that the number of quality leading roles for women in Hollywood is going down, if for no other reason than because it’s a more complex issue than one might think at first. Sure, maybe this year’s crop isn’t all that extensive, but last year saw 5 great actresses in the nomination pool, which led to hugely diverse speculation before the awards show about who was going to win. And being that Hollywood is still a big supporter of patriarchal ideology (for better or worse), there is and probably always will be plenty of quality leading roles available for men. Who’s to say, though, that there simply aren’t a lot of good scripts with great leading roles for women making the rounds around Hollywood? Script ‘X’ may have a dynamite female lead character, but if its overall story stinks then it doesn’t matter. Studios don’t typically buy works-in-progress. In any case, why would they take a chance on a lousy script just to satisfy a male/female ratio of leading roles? I’m all for equal representation of the sexes in the arts, but the film industry is a business (the biggest financial risk-takers being Hollywood studios) and if it were to adopt some brand of affirmative action to assure such equality I would speculate that the industry would suffer both financially and artistically. Simply put, you can’t tell an industry dealing in creativity what to create.