I get seriously seasonal sadness and this past month has been especially brutal with Spring making small, teasing appearances here and there. So, I decided to embrace it and watch all the Oscar nominated movies that I vowed I would not watch because they were too dark and depressing. I mean, did you notice that they were all sad? I get so wrapped up in books and movies that I really didn’t want to go to that place emotionally.
I have to say these were all worth going through if you have a weekend that you want to lie in bed and watch good, albeit sad movies. People will be talking about these for a long time to come so it may be worth it.
Here’s what I watched in sad, depressing order:
I started with Jackie for two reasons. One, I knew what happened and could brace myself. Two, Natalie Portman is flawless. This movie was an education. We all know the awful sequence of events, but did you know that Jackie had to literally pack up and leave the White House after the funeral because she was no longer the president’s wife? That she planned a parade for the funeral so the world could say goodbye when this had never been done before? That she was the one that decorated with White House with all the historic items that had been put away? That she was super insecure and overlooked?
At the end of the movie, you know Jackie to be a resilient woman who is very relatable and did the impossible thing of getting through her husband’s murder. I was so taken with who she was that I didn’t want to leave the movie. I wanted to know what happened in her life. I did a little, quick painting of her late at night when the credits were rolling.
NPR convinced me that Moonlight was a movie that was essential. Life is hard. But, life as a black gay boy in a rough part of Miami with a crack-addict for a mother must be impossible. The movie’s theme was important, but more than that it was an artistically beautiful movie. It could have gone in a very raw direction, but instead it was directed in a way that moved like waves throughout this man’s life, taking the audience to the brink and then pulling back and delivering this beautiful, soft sentiment. It was heartbreakingly beautiful and resilient.
Manchester By the Sea
We all know this one was a tragedy. But, did you know that there was a little surprise tragedy in the middle? I won’t give it away, but just when I thought I could deal with the subject matter it gets really, really painful. I have heard people say that this is their favorite movie ever. They say this because it is real life. To me, what is the most real life about the movie is not what happens to this family, but how they react to their situation. I respect the characters so much and I get it. PS, Casey Affleck totally deserved the Oscar. Bravo.
Even if you did not tell me that Fences was originally a play I would have told you that it could be a play. It had the timing and rhythm of theater. Very conversational, very simple. The audience comes into the scenes like we are overhearing a dialogue and we are meant to figure out the past and the future of these characters’ lives. Troy, Denzel’s character, is a simple man with a hard past and makes choices that he unapologically asks his family to take responsibility for. We learn that he had a difficult childhood, but it begs the question – at what point are we responsible for our own actions? Denzel and Viola were amazing. So amazing. I’ve heard people say that that left hating Denzel’s character, but it was difficult for me to. Either the actor Denzel is so nice that I couldn’t hate him or I was called to be sympathetic to his character when most people wouldn’t want to be. Interesting.
I’d love to hear what you thought of any of these…