Thursday, May 13, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Period Dramas


For the 19th week of 2021 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go into the world of period dramas as it’s a subject that has been revisited many times. Yet, it is a popular topic though it’s starting to get more difficult to find new films to talk about. Here are my three picks as they’re all films set during the second half of the 20th Century:

1. The Ice Storm
Ang Lee’s adaptation of Rick Moody’s novel set in the early 1970s during the Thanksgiving holidays, the film revolves around a family that is crumbling due to sexual desires, neglect, and growing pains. Particularly as you have Kevin Kline’s character having an affair with Sigourney Weaver as his daughter and her sons are exploring sex. It is a film of immense beauty but also incredible performances in its ensemble cast that also includes Joan Allen, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Jamey Sheridan, and Adam Hann-Byrd as well as this study of people trying to find fulfillment with this ice storm being the catalyst for all of these emotions that occur in the film’s climax.

2. In the Mood for Love
The second film in an informal trilogy set in the 1960s and so on from Wong Kar-Wai is this evocative drama starring Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Maggie Cheung as two people who both separately move into the same apartment building in Hong Kong as they learn their respective spouses are having an affair with each other. It is a film that remains this ravishing and heart-wrenching drama filled with gorgeous visuals from cinematographers Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bin as well as the work of editor/production/costume designer William Chang as it plays into this air of loneliness and uncertainty into two people who both deal with heartbreak.

3. Far from Heaven
Todd Haynes’ homage to the films of Douglas Sirk in this rich and touching melodrama about a housewife who deals with the secret that her husband is gay just as she befriends and falls for an African-American gardener. Starring Julianne Moore in one of several career-defining performances for her, the film definitely plays like a melodrama of the past as it is set in the late 1950s but it also has elements that are subversive. Notably in the performances in not just Moore but also Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson, and Viola Davis in a small role as Moore’s housemaid as they stray from all of the stereotypes expected in a melodrama. It is not just one of Haynes’ best films but it is also his most accessible film to date.

© thevoid99 2021


Sonia Cerca said...

Far From Heaven is the only I've seen and, sadly, I wasn't a huge fan of it. I've been meaning to rewatch it though.

The Ice Storm sounds very compelling and I will check it out for sure.

Brittani Burnham said...

For a second I forgot The Ice Storm wasn't set in the 90's and was like "nooo we can't call that decade a period piece yet!" lol. I do love that movie though. I haven't seen your other picks.

Birgit said...

I love Far From Heaven which seems like a Douglas Sirk movie that shows it’s underbelly that the 50s films never talked about. Ice Storm is a really good movie but not one I would visit too often. I haven’t seen the other film.

Katy said...

Sad to say I haven't seen the picks this week but In The Mood for Love and Far From Heaven have been on my to watch list forever. Nice list!

SJHoneywell said...

This is a really solid trio. In the Mood for Love is such a beautiful film. There's nothing about it that I would want to change.

Ruth said...

I've only seen In the Mood for Love recently and I LOVED it! I need to see the other two though, esp. Ice Storm since I do love Ang Lee's work.

ThePunkTheory said...

I haven't seen any of your picks, but I do remember coming across some stuff from In The Mood For Love on tumblr. That movie looked great.