Finally, I have returned to what I love most, reviewing movies. I'd just like to let you know though as of movie reviews, they will happen once a week, but not on a specific day, so just keep an eye out! So let's get this kick started!
In a castle as tall as the mountains, seen from a girl's window, is where today's movie takes place. It's a palace filled with beautiful rooms, except for one. This room contains a secret this girl was not supposed to know, but what does she find out is the question.
So, what is today's film? Bluebeard (2009) directed by Catherine Breillat. It takes the story of Bluebeard from two perspectives, two sisters in the 50's and the main heroine of the actual fairy tale. But what makes this story ever so compelling is the counterpoints in which the two perspectives connect. Similar to that of "A Neverending Story", whatever happens within the real world of the two sisters, a similar event happens within the fairy tale, and vice versa. But does this at all make the film interesting? Generally speaking, yes.
Now, it's important to know this movie is entirely in french, with subtitles. I sadly think the translation is a bit off in sections, and feels like it might have been dumbed down for international audiences. But granted this also could have been advertised to children, since Europe is so different in their ways of showing things to anyone under the age of 10. What am I talking about exactly? There are two clear scenes with heads getting disembodied (including a duck's, which is a reference to future events but just be warned) and of course, the revel of what is in that room (no spoilers, I promise!)
But if you take away some of the profound imagery that is of a more violent nature, you truly have a film that in it's most simple form is what a real fairy tale is. A story that though involves the illusions of fantasy, can actually tell you more about real life then say what is considered "a realistic story".
I've always been one to be afraid of Bluebeard, he's definitely a very intimidating character, as he should be. But this version definitely made me feel otherwise, but why? Brelliat took someone that was considered a monster, and gave him a soul rather then just making him completely menacing. The interaction between him and our heroine was some of the most real acting I've seen in a while. I could actually believe this relationship, which is hard since in these days it would be considered taboo. When Bluebeard gives his new wife "The Key", you could feel the tension cut you right down the middle (sort of the way I feel about Offbrand and Brand, a clear divide.)
But was there ever moments of it becoming bad? Well, not exactly, but this movie does have it's flaws. Unfortunately, again, maybe it's cause I'm from America, but the editing was definitely strange. The beginning was one of the slowest introductions I've seen (Think the speed of the Godfather, but about 10 times more slow) So when it came time for all the events with Bluebeard (which I enjoyed), the editing grew too fast. I think this movie would have been much more enjoyable if they have taken out many of the tiny plot elements that never return in the final conclusion (such as the heroine's sister/mother, which dragged the film extremely) and rather focus on her relationship with Bluebeard. I will give the editor credit though on creating tension in some scenes, which seemed to be the big factor of this film, but didn't save it completely to me.
The ending was the part that got me the most in this dilemma. We were given so much information from the two little girls, and the editing was sort of getting at a good pace, but then it seems the editor gave up. I won't spoil the ending, but just be prepared to sit there and possibly be wanting a remote to rewind.
But the final verdict? Go see this movie. No offense to Alice in Wonderland, but this is the superior fantasy movie to see (so far) this year. French filmmakers, say what you will, do seem to have a great grip on fairy tale adaptations, and this film is no different. Though it's editing and pace may be a bit much at times, in its core it's definitely a must see.
So with that, La Vida Frills gives Bluebeard 4 headbows and a wristcuff (4.5) out of 5. The film is playing in select cities, and judging by it's interest, you should be able to find it eventually somewhere.
Curious what will be reviewed next? You'll just have to wait.
All photos from flickr.