Viewing Chilean director’s Pablo Larrain’s first English-language feature is not unlike viewing a political skit on the current edition of Saturday Night Live: a none-too-stellar ensemble surrounds an A-list star, with everyone made-up and costumed to suggest notable figures despite the fact no one on screen is capable of a satisfactory imitation of the people they are imitating. And while SNL keeps the viewer waiting for deep laughs to flow, viewers watching this film will be baffled at this rather curious retelling of a very familiar story.
Director Darren Aronofsky has always had a talent for delving in to the human psyche and offering us deeper more complex looks in to our souls and perceptions of reality. “Requiem for a Dream” was a film constantly teetering between a life of misery and woe distorted by our own desires for something better, while “The Fountain” destroyed all of our notions of time and infinity in a world not bound by simple quantities of hours and days. His master opus is a work of art that transforms the world of Nina Sayers in to something of a personal hell where she is incapable of escaping and is seeking a perfection that she may never be able to obtain. “Black Swan” is a masterpiece, a classic trail of perceived normality in to madness, a world of light consumed by shadows, and our very own minds becoming the key to our unraveling of consciousness and reality.
Ted Demme’s “Beautiful Girls” is a truly unappreciated gem that gives a ponderous story along with a hefty slice of life that American audiences will appreciate; with the characters in “beautiful Girls” there are an array of odd and unusual characters that could only be found in a screenplay by John Waters and it’s just as good. Writer Scott Rosenberg who supplies something badly missing from today’s films: great characters, a deep story, and a wry screenplay you only dream of. We get a portrait of a man named Willie Conway, a man at the crossroads of his life who returns to his hometown to re-unite with his gang of buddies and discovers they haven’t moved on and are at a crossroads as he is. He begins to notice they’re the exact same people they were when he left and begins to search for an answer to the questions he’s be asking.