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Head v. Heart (minor spoilers)

Discussion in 'Movie Reviews - Members' started by cmreeves, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. cmreeves

    cmreeves Well-Known Member

    This is a film in which my heart and head are divided. My head keeps telling me of the problems and how it could have been better if only …. and my heart says it was a great film and don't sweat the small stuff.

    Let's get the negatives out of the way. Problems my head has with the film:

    The movie is a story of 2 halves, which is often the case with Hindi cinema...but it would have been better if it were a whole, cohesive film. The first half is filled with lovely scenes which reveal the characters, but little to drive the story forward. As a result, everything has to happen in the second half, leaving it too cluttered.

    The point of view shifts after Rizvan is detained. The whole movie up to that point has been from the p.o.v. of Rizvan, with a few scenes from Mandira's or Sam's p.o.v. Then suddenly the movie shifts and we're watching people following Rizvan's story. It adds another level of distance from the main characters which decreases the intimacy level between the audience and Rizvan.

    There are some scenes which are over the top. I don't mind OTT in some films, but what I didn't like was in a movie which was filled with moments which were ringing true, these came across very false in comparison. The introduction to the people and town of Wilhemina would be one example. The tone of these scenes just didn't mesh well with the rest of the movie—and they so could have, with a different approach. The result is some characters who we should care about, including Mama Jenny, become caricatures instead. They are the only named characters who don't come across like they could be real people living in the same world as us. The intention of the scenes was good, but the execution was lacking. Upon second viewing, the scenes are not as jarring, possibly because I knew they were coming up, but they still don't match the tone of the film as a whole.

    I still can't stand the acting done by the kid playing “funny hair Joel”. The kid was downright annoying.

    And one minor quibble which probably no one else who has seen this movie has: Bowling Green, KY (the site of Vinay Pathak's motel) is not in the desert. I should know. I was born & raised there. My family still lives there. I go there often. No wide open vistas and no joshua trees. I won't go as far as to say what happened in the scene wouldn't happen there. That can happen anywhere.

    Now onto the positive stuff. Problems my heart had with the film: NONE

    The film is good. Yes, there are flaws...but I don't mind them so much because the beautiful, intimate, touching moments outshine the missteps. The message is a simple one, but an important one to remember. While it's set in the US, it avoids going into the dangerous territory of becoming anti-American, or anti-Western. Such a move would have diluted the message that the only important difference is between good people and bad people. At the same time it doesn't wimp out and it remains appropriately critical of discriminatory security procedures and the actions of some individuals fueled by hate, ignorance, and fear.

    My first viewing was last Sunday, and the theater was about 75-80% full, which is good considering that usually we have only 2 shows of any given movie...one Sunday afternoon and the other that night...approximately 2 weeks into the running of a film. This one opened in a mainstream theater on Friday and had been showing 3 shows per day all weekend. The second show I saw was this Sunday. There were only about 20 people in the theater. Both times the audience was mostly comprised of south Asians, but there were also Caucasian- and African-Americans watching. The comments I heard after the show ended were primarily positive...though there were comments on the runtime.

    I will tell you I'm not one of those fans who thinks that there is one magical jodi. I think Shah Rukh makes it work with any leading lady, so the SRK-Kajol back together thing wasn't as big a deal to me. The scenes between them in this movie were lovely. Kajol gave a very strong performance, both in the lighter moments and once the movie turns more serious. However, it's Shah Rukh's performance which makes this movie. I won't trivialize his abilities by saying that this is the best he's ever done, as he's given many outstanding performances. But I will say it's a performance which is certainly worth all the praise it has been receiving, and more.

    So final result is that in the end, the heart always wins over the head. Love this movie!
  2. maymay

    maymay New Member

    Thanks for the review & interesting viewpoint :)
    listen to your heart, go & enjoy it again :)

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