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