Sunday, December 19, 2010
Written and directed by Natalie Portman, Eve is a twenty-minute short film about a teenage girl who visits her grandmother unaware that her grandmother is about to go on a date. The girl reluctantly joins her grandmother on the date as she watches her grandmother act around a man near her age while the girl wants to talk to her grandmother about something. The short is about not just aging but also the connection between an elderly woman and her granddaughter. Starring Lauren Bacall, Olivia Thirlby, and Ben Gazzara. Eve is a remarkable short film from Natalie Portman.
Lola (Lauren Bacall) is getting ready for her date as she gets a surprise visit from her granddaughter Kate (Olivia Thirlby). Kate decides to spend the night unaware that her grandmother has a date with a man named Joe (Ben Gazzara). Kate wants to talk to Lola about her mother as they wait for Joe to arrive. Joe arrives in time for cocktail hour as he meets Kate where the three go to dinner for what would be a nice evening.
While the film’s plot is simply about a girl visiting her grandmother and being the third wheel on a date. It’s really more than that though there isn’t a lot of dialogue nor any big plot devices. Really, it’s about the relationship between a teenage girl and her grandmother with the girl’s desire to talk about her mother. Though not much is revealed about the mother, who is the title character. It seems like it’s something the grandmother isn’t really keen on wanting to discuss as she’s about to embark on the date. The date is merely a chance for the young girl to observe the behaviors of an elderly couple that is as joyful and a bit reckless like many. Still, she is able to find something to relate to.
Portman’s approach to the story definitely seems very personal which has something that anyone can relate to in relationship between someone and its grandparent. Even when it can be a bit hectic at times. The screenplay is definitely well structured with some excellent dialogue. Portman’s direction is marvelous to watch though she rarely moves the camera to present her scenes. Yet, she starts the film with shots of makeup being used as Lola is putting on the makeup. The way Portman presents these shots is to convey the world of Lola with Kate looking around while often reminding her grandmother that she will always be here. Despite Lola’s insistence of letting Kate to get whatever jewelry she has after she passes.
Many of the scenes Portman creates are done with an intimacy as if the audience is watching this crazy yet fun night between two elderly people. She makes sure the camera is inches away from the action with very little close-ups. Even as she gets a chance for both Lola and Kate to look in the mirrors. One is a scene of innocent curiosity while the other is about facing aging and other harsh truths. What Portman creates isn’t just a wonderful short film but also a somber piece about the indescribable relationship between a girl and her grandmother.
Cinematographer Adam Kimmel brings an elegant yet dream-like look to the film for many of the scenes with the mirror and restaurant as it‘s mostly straightforward. Editor Tricia Cooke does an excellent job with the film‘s methodical pacing and rhythmic cutting. Production designer Anne Ross and art director Jennifer Dehghan do a fantastic job with the look of Lola‘s apartment and the restaurant. Costume designer Leah Katznelson creates a great look for Lauren Bacall with her costumes while going for mostly casual clothes for Olivia Thirlby. Music composer Sufjan Stevens creates a somber yet melancholic piano piece that plays throughout the film as it also features a piano piece by Nicholas Britell for the restaurant scene.
Ben Gazzara is wonderful as Joe, an old man who is full of life as he offers to move in with Lola as he wants to do the things to please her. Olivia Thirlby is superb as Kate, Lola’s granddaughter as she plays a third wheel and observer to the date while pondering about the idea of being old. Even as she tries to reach out to her grandmother while wanting to spend all the time that is left with her. Lauren Bacall is radiant as Lola, an old woman who wants to live life to the fullest while being treated like a young lady during her date. Though Bacall spends a lot of time trying to put on makeup and look great, her greatest scene is in the final one where she stares at herself in the mirror showing the kind of majestic persona that she has as a cinematic legend.
Eve is an amazing debut short film from Natalie Portman. Armed with a great crew and a superb cast led by Lauren Bacall. It’s clear that if Portman ever has a future in the world of directing films. This is definitely a great way to start a directing career. Even as she has a story that people can relate to about the way the young is interested with the elderly. Eve is a short that is worth checking out.
© thevoid99 2010