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Driving on Revolutionary Road in a Gran Torino

January 18, 2009

I saw two movies this weekend, both of them quite good. Below are my reviews.

Gran Torino
Rating (out of 10): 8
Good: The movie is mainly a character study of ageless Eastwood, a man who knows death but not life, but there’s just enough plot to keep you wondering what’s going to happen next. The movie is surprisingly (and intentionally) funny, funnier, in fact, than many movies that bill themselves as comedies.
Bad: The acting of some of the younger actors is below par. This is made all the more noticeable by Eastwood’s ability to convince you that in real life he’s exactly the same as his character on-screen.
Favorite Scene: The scene where Eastwood teaches “Toad” how to talk like a man. I think I learned a few things by watching that scene.
Revolutionary Road

Grade: 8
Good: The movie really made me think about life and choices and family and kids, and it provoked a great discussion. It employs a great device, the “idea of Paris,” that cannot help but move you.
Bad: Although the writing is very good, there are a few lines/scenes that are a bit stilted and forced. Disappointingly, Winslett does nothing with these lines but makes them worse. She’s a good actress, but a great actress would have made something of even the most ho-hum of lines. DiCaprio is fantastic, though. Also, the movie is in no way a comedy, but the audience didn’t seem to get this during several pivotal scenes. Perhaps that’s the audience’s fault, but some blame should be placed on Mendes’ shoulders as well.
Favorite Scene: After DiCaprio and Winslett deliver the news of Paris to their friends, they laugh about their reactions and then talk and kiss…you truly felt like you were watching two people connect for the first time in a long time. For that one scene, I almost felt ashamed to be a fly on the wall during such intimacy.
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