A holiday fable that tells the story of an elderly man discovering love for the first time.
09 Feb Lovely, Still (2008)
I rarely do this, recommend a bad film. But I will ask if you start this, that you see it through.
The film takes advantage of the fact that we have a profoundly well developed notion of a movie romance. We have that here: older woman moves in and that same day asks the old man across the street for a date. They hit it off and have a wonderful Christmas a couple days later. He is a lonely bagger at the local grocery store, and apparently has never had a Christmas with another soul. In the first scene, we see him wrapping a present to himself.
For the first very long section, we are dipped in movie love, as we not only see the romance but we see it with an excess of cinematic sugar: when she says she likes him, the entire street lights up with Christmas lights behind her, for instance. There is lots of snow and gauzy happiness. In the filmmaker‘s defense, we are given some hints that things are not quite right. Our fellow has nightmares of unformed nature. Our love interest across the street is panicked when a prescription goes awry. Our fellow seems to occasionally get confused and borderline violent.
And then after an immersion in the sickly romance as perceived by our guy, we have a big reveal. He has advanced dementia. The woman and her daughter across the street is his family and has been for decades, but he has forgotten. He fell in love with his wife all over again. The store where he works is a business he built, now managed by a quirky guy we discover is his son. His wife has been sneaking in every day and preparing meals, drugs (the problem prescription was his) and reminder post-its.
This is a pretty disturbing shift, in part because it is so unexpected. Any filmmaker who would stoop as low as we had experienced for an hour, milking the cheapest of tricks would be expected to coast home on those alone. But it does recast what we have seen (and been somewhat affected by) as the last kind of story that a disappearing mind can hold on to. And that is something even the most talent filmmakers fail with much of the time.
Posted in 2011
Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.