Monday, January 29, 2007
Heights is one of those movies that does the whole "day in the life" thing, where every event has an unexpected consequence of some sort, and everybody's lives bounce off everybody else's, and at some point, someone's hidden past comes back to bite them in the ass, and it has a ricochet effect, and by the end of the film, everybody's life has changed dramtatically, and oh so meaningfully. I have to confess to being drawn to these sorts of movies because I think a lot of the time they have some really beautiful and true moments in them, but for the most part they're heavy-handed, self-important, and rife with cliches and serendipitous conclusions that are supposed to anchor it all, but just feel desperate and cheap most of the time.
Heights could easily be Magnolia, v.2.0 - Manhattan,
except that it doesn't have even a quarter of the heart, soul, insight, emotion, or true gravitas of Magnolia. I know a few people who didn't care for Magnolia; thought it was exactly what I'm claiming Heights to be, but that's okay. Those people are wrong.
Out of all of this overwrought (but still somehow totally boring) mess, there did shine a few little moments of inspired wisdom. One of them was a single line uttered by a character at the end of the film which I won't tell you about because it would involve way too much explaining and backstory, and frankly, it's just not worth it. The other is the very first scene of the whole film, in which Diane Lee, played by Glenn Close, who is supposed to be a super-famous actress of theater and screen, is leading an acting class, and as her students are speaking (not quite acting) Shakespeare, Close jumps up on the stage and starts raving about passion. They have no passion, she screams, and relates the story of Medea to them, and how to get revenge on the man that left her, she kills their children, one of them only a baby, by bashing its skull on a rock. Obviously her character isn't advocating filicide, but she is trying to make a point that at least Medea was passionate. She goes on to complain that our society has been infiltrated and devastated by an entire population of people who have become tepid, fearful, and sedentary, and that no one has any passion anymore. People are too polite, too afraid to scream, and wail, and become furious, and take chances, and put themselves on the line. Then she urges her students to go out that weekend and do something dangerous, something that scares the shit out of them.
After this scene, I had very high hopes for the film, and hoped to see some serious hysterics, but was only left with a lead actress (Close's character's daughter) who walks around the film blank-faced and completely emotionless the entire film, and her fiancee (the oh so dreamy James Marsden) who has the far more interesting story-line (he's the one with the hidden, dubious past) pushed off into the corner, only to have his story be relevant in the last 5 minutes. And then it becomes retarded.
But hey, at least I got to hear a great speech about passion and feel a little more justified at how I've treated my last two boyfriends after they both broke my heart.
I wasn't crazy, I was just...passionate.