Category Archives: movies

Les Miz and Me: A Personal History

I.

SB and I are supposed to be seeing Django Unchained with his brother and sister in law.  As a general rule I don’t watch horror or gory/ super violent movies, which pretty much rules out the Tarantino ovuere, but I’m willing to suck it up because it’s the holidays and it’s his family.  But the four person outing expands to include several of the brother’s friends and I have always had a lousy poker face, so SB declares we are going to see Les Miserables instead.

After we are seated in the theater, SB looks around at the largely high school/college aged moviegoers around us and muses “it’s a younger crowd than I would have expected.”

“That’s because,” I said, “every teenage girl at some point believes she’s Eponine, whether it’s remotely applicable or not.”

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In Which I Am The Last Person On the Planet to Have an Opinion About Black Swan

One of my coworkers has been after me to see Black Swan for months now because she wanted my opinion on the dance double controversy. After finally getting around to watching it with SB this past week, I …kind of don’t see why it was such a big deal? The dance sequences in this movie are second only to Anne Bancroft’s in The Turning Point in terms of editing around the limitations of the actor, and none of the choreography we actually see is that difficult anyway.  During the famous fouette sequence in the Black Swan coda, shots of Portman never show her supporting foot and upper body at the same time, which makes me think she may have been doing most of them on half-pointe (and this wouldn’t have been the first ballet movie to splice together a string of fouette turns anyway, Center Stage). Portman clearly worked very hard and is completely believable doing what she’s asked to do, but she’s not really asked to do that much.  I can understand Sarah Lane being irked that her work was pretty much ignored, but one might have thought Portman was claiming to be firing off entire variations in a single take, when truthfully there’s no dance sequence in any part of the film that lasts longer than 30 seconds except for the barre exercise (during which no one dancer is a focus for more than 5 seconds at a time). Portman made me believe in Nina’s transcendent final performance almost solely with her eyes and body language, which is why the controversy is so beside the point in the first place.

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