[Ask me how I know this.]
I took two opportunities this weekend to watch films that languished for awhile in my Netflix instant queue. While I recommend them both to you this day, I won’t review them, because, well, it’s too depressing.
Both movies dealt with the lives of artists: one a painter, the other a stonemason. Not sure why I felt the need to bathe myself in four hours of doubt, misery, horror, neglect, disillusionment, abuse, self-hatred and utter tragedy before and after spending such fun hours with my grandsons, but there you have it. Still, I must recommend both films to you, if for no other reason than their ability to transfer complete and abysmal woe to the screen in a way that makes one think, “I have never really known despair.”
In my case, the reward for watching these films is the acting of Ed Harris (Pollock) and Kate Winslet (Jude). I was keen to see Jude because of my interest in movies based on classic literature; in this case, Thomas Hardy’s last novel, Jude the Obscure. While the 1996 film was a bit fleshy (in the nekkidness sense) for my taste, Winslet’s performance as Sue Bridehead, a young, vivacious woman who descends slowly into grief, sorrow and madness, was captivating. Christopher Eccleston was serviceable as Jude, but I am embarrassed to say I couldn’t get past his rather unlovely face. Shallow, I know. The story contained a horrifying scene that I can’t shake, even after coffee and breakfast this morning, and thinking about rehearsals and general school madness. For good or ill, it made the movie unforgettable.
Speaking of madness…my favorite of the two films was Pollock. You simply must watch it. Ed Harris was brilliant as the completely tortured American painter Jackson Pollock (1912 – 1956). One wonders how such a talented individual can bring down on himself so much sadness and tragedy. Seems the good ones always do, ja?
Aaaaaand now I’m out of time, or else I’d write more about Pollock. It’s Monday, alas, and time to hit the road. Truth be told, I’d rather stay home and plow through the next 13 movies in the instant queue…