It might be a new museum exhibition, or something at the opera, symphony, or ballet, or it might be something I've (we've) seen on the street. Whatever it is, it's a quick review and impression of what's captured my thoughts for the moment.


Margot at the Wedding







Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) presents us with a quantum movie, or maybe something related to Jean Paul Sartre. In terms of the latter we meet Margot (Nicole Kidman) who "sucks into being" all the characters around her. (This was how my old philosophy professor, Dr. Sovik, described Sartre's existentialism. The only problem with this existenz, is that it is determined by the observer, rather than the one "sucked" into being. Kidman makes what she will of those around her, and it is up to them to deal with the aftermath. There is an estranged sister, suddenly now a dear friend, or maybe not; a son who is, is not, the pride of her life. All of the characters are defined by her, at least for the moment, for upon her leaving they do a fine job of defining themselves.

The quantum nature of this movie is a reference to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principal. A particle, once observed, may behave differently than if it were not observed. The characters of this film all seem to be infected with a "quantum weirdness" that places them in two places at once. All revolve around Margot, all seem to depend on her for their existence. She is the nucleus to their electrons. From another point of view she seems to be whirling around them observing this, and observing that, and with each observation she changes the nature of things.

There was scattered laughter at points in the film, and there are some genuinely funning moments, but this is not a funny film. It is more of an amusing film, leaving the moviegoer in the role of the observer. Putting it all together, however finds us woefully adequate to do so; so all the weirdness just sits there. Like a train wreck, we can't take our eyes away.

One character, however, punctures the cloud of reality. Dick, Margot's erstwhile lover, played by Ciarin Hinds (Rome), who is also an author, interviews Margot at a bookstore, and in the course of the interview reveals her true nature for all to see. As with any atom-smashing, there is a great deal of detritus, and the quantum weirdness continues. This is a film about not measuring up, and about silly games that families plan. Leaving the theatre that evening Arthur commented to me, "Gee, this makes our families appear absolutely normal!"

There is another aspect to the film that is very attractive. The lighting of the scenes is so clouded, that some of them are almost imperceptible. The pallet almost reminds me of Woody Allen's Interiors in its pale grey shots. You want to see what is really happening, but something stands between you, as the observer, and the actors doing their part. The camera compositions and the colors establish a very poignant mood in the film

This is an engaging film. I heartily recommend it.


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MTH 11/30/07
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