Quick takes on 5 films

Some more independent films, with some recognizable faces. I’m a big Game of Thrones fan, and if you watch that show, you know the sizable cast. Seems like I see someone from that show in practically every film I watch lately.

Force Majeure is a foreign film, so you’ve got to be ready for some subtitles, but it is a good one. It is about a family on a skiing vacation in the alps. When a controlled avalanche gets a little too close for comfort, it has a lasting affect on the family. The wife’s instinct is to grab their kids and pull them close, while the husband bolts off to save himself. Of course the avalanche was controlled so it never reaches them, but the wife is shaken up and can’t forgive her husband for leaving, while he refuses to admit he was running, only that he “saw the situation differently.” The rest of the film is her badgering him to admit it, and he trying to pretend it didn’t happen. When he finally breaks down, it seems he isn’t the man she thought in more ways than one. I didn’t recognize the leads, but friend Mats is played by Kristofer Hivju, Giantsbane from Game of Thrones.

Lilting is one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen in a little while. In it, Junn is an aging Chinese mother, recently put in a care facility by her son Kai because she is showing early signs of dementia. Despite living in the USA for nearly 30 years, she has never learned the language and so feels very isolated. At the start of the film, Kai has just died suddenly, having never told Junn he was gay. Now Kai’s longtime boyfriend Richard is left trying to take care of Junn. He misses Kai very much but can’t spill Kai’s lifestyle so soon, so he has to internalize his grief as he tries to help Junn feel more comfortable in her home. Everyone’s guilt creates a large white elephant in the room that the characters dance around for most of the film. Beautifully acted and very endearing. Richard is played by Ben Whishaw, Q from the newest Bond films.

Copenhagen is a bit hard to watch at times. Main character William is a real asshole, sleeping with anyone (even hitting on his best friend’s fiancee), and has a real “don’t care about anyone” attitude. His father walked out when he was a boy, and now as an adult he is in Copenhagen hunting down his grandfather, to try to find some backstory of what made his father who he was. He is offered help by Effy, a local girl there who he finds, after he all ready flirted with her, is only 14 years old. The movie gives a real creeper vibe after that, and you keep waiting for this guy who has no morals to sleep with the 14 year old. By the end he surprises everyone and turns into a half way decent guy. Another low budget, but well written and well acted film. William is portrayed by Gethin Anthony, Renly Baratheon from Game of Thrones.

Something, Anything is a much more subtle film. Mark and Peggy are two 30-something professionals that have put their careers first, so they are meeting and getting married a little later. Very quickly he proposes, they get married, and are expecting a child. Almost as fast, she loses the baby in a miscarriage, moves in with her parents, and then gets her own apartment. This all happens in the first 20 minutes of the film. The rest of the movie is her spiritual awakening. Peggy is lost, and not sure what to do with her life now that it has been turned upside down. She quits her successful job and takes an hourly wage position at the library, sells or donates most of her worldly possessions, and starts hunting an old high school friend who became a monk. This is a heartfelt film, clearly showing the difficulty of moving on, and how everyone mends in their own way.

Fort Bliss is about the struggles facing our women soldiers. Maggie Swan is just returning home after 15 months in Afghanistan, to a now ex-husband and a 3 year old son that doesn’t remember her. She can’t find any normalcy, and is haunted by events during her tours, told in flashbacks. At first you aren’t sure if she will pick her family or her country as her priority, but eventually her decision is sort of made for her. The movie is good, though a little paint-by-numbers, and tries a little too hard to pull at the heart strings.

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