This film is NOT for everyone- it certainly made me and my gal pal think “WTF!?” The small audience (perhaps 15 ) we saw it with were nearly silent, aside from a few awkward/small laughs. One woman sitting close to me looked at her watch, asking “How long is this movie?” It contains material that could be VERY offensive, but that’s not a shocker in a David Cronenberg film. I think MANY folks want to see Julianne Moore, BUT don’t go if that’s the ONLY reason!
This is the latest from the veteran Canadian director who brought us Dead Ringers (disturbingly good- mainly for Jeremy Irons), The Fly, Crash (somehow I got through it), A History of Violence (which I REALLY liked), and Eastern Promises (read my review). His style is “cold, mechanical, and detached” (as one of the critics on the 3/22/15 ep of The Film Stage podcast noted). This is a scathing portrayal of Hollywood celeb types, w/ VERY few laughs and an (almost) soundless score, which adds to its disturbing nature.
I was confused as to the purpose of Robert Pattinson’s chauffer/actor/screenwriter character, Jerome. At first, he seems genuine in his interactions with the mysterious Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), but then he comments to Havana (Julianne Moore): “Isn’t it all just research?” I learned that the screenwriter used to be a chauffer in Hollywood. As for Havana, she’s like a teen girl in the body of a middle-aged/insecure/overly medicated/selfish woman.
Agatha is supposed to be a disfigured young woman, but she doesn’t look THAT bad; one of The Film Stage critics thought that Cronenberg was showing “the difference between what’s on the page and what’s on the screen.” Perhaps the most irritating character, Benji (Evan Bird), hangs out with a small group of teen celebs “who are supposed to be pretty people, but are really not that beautiful” (The Film Stage). Where fame, beauty, youth, and money are so valued, there is “a sort of moral decay” (The Film Stage).
There is one (badly done CGI) scene that several commentators (on IMDB) wrote was “laughable.” Perhaps the director didn’t think this was a big deal? Or maybe it was intentional? VERY little of this film made sense to me, so I had to look up what critics/reviewers thought- that’s a BAD sign!