Monday, July 14, 2008

Emotional Arithmetic (aka Autumn Hearts: A New Beginning)

Besides being screened as the closing film in the 2007 Toronto Film Festival and being in competition at the 55th San Sebastian Film Festival I was attracted to this movie because the outstanding cast: Susan Sarandon, Max von Sydow, Gabriel Byrne, Christopher Plummer and Roy Dupuis.

With such a cast you expect great performances no matter the story and in a way I was not that disappointed because their performances were good. The main problem this movie has is a bad screenplay and a bad director that didn’t succeed in creating a moving drama.

The movie is truly distant and you cannot engage with the characters or the story, even when the story is really powerful as tells about two kids and an adult that met in Drancy “transit camp” on the outskirts of Paris and how they meet again in 1985 in beautiful Quebec countryside. Any story from WWII related to Jews has to be touching and moving, but unbelievably as it seems, this movie does not touch or move you at all.

Cinematography does not aid to convey a moving message, as it is outstandingly breathtaking, so much that totally distracts you from whatever is happening at the moment.

Most critics in several languages dislike the movie and this time I have to agree, as it really destroyed a strong drama, underused a strong cast and wasted my time. Just notice that the movie had to change its name when was released in DVD, that’s a sign that producers wanted to distance from the bad reviews. But then, it was easy to endure until the end just because the magnificent views of Quebec autumn.

I cannot recommend this movie, but if you want to give it a try anyway you surely will enjoy seeing beautiful and color full Quebec autumn.

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