Top 10 of 2011 – Adelaide’s Picks
3. Bright Star (2009)
Bright Star is the story of the romance between poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and fashion-forward Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish). (And it is the second movie on my list recommended by Brandi.) The lovers are doomed from the start—he dies young from tuberculosis— but they still suffer from all the misunderstandings and triumphs that any couple experience. What makes this particularly interesting is that she is very much of the body and he is very much about the mind; together they are much more interesting and stable than alone. Being a poet with a body in less than ideal shape, Keats is almost of necessity living in his own mind. Fanny is very much concerned with bodies and their adornment; she makes all of her own clothing and is much more physically sturdy than Keats. She brings him more into his body and she pursues a life of the mind to enter fully into his world; they each become a bigger person because they have come together. I’ve been off my Jane Campion for a while, but this movie reminded me of how much I like her period pieces. I wept pretty continuously through the last third of this movie. I just loved it.
2. Tabloid (2010)
Tabloid is a great documentary directed by Errol Morris about Joyce McKinney, who was accused in 1977 of kidnapping Mormon missionary Kirk Anderson in Surrey. He maintains that she chained him to a bed and raped him. She says that they were in love and she was liberating him from a cult. While the film is nominally about her side of the story, it is also about the depths to which the British tabloids went to cover the story in the way mostly likely to make them money. I enjoyed the hell out of this when I saw it, but it became even more pertinent when the News of the World and other Rupert Murdoch owned publications were accused of phone tampering and police bribery in addition to other nefarious activities. The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s always good when Morris puts out a new movie, but this was an especially fun one.
1. Melancholia (2011)
I’m kind of cheating with this one because, while it was released in 2011, I did not see it until last week. I don’t care though because it is the best thing that I have seen in a very long time. It is about one woman’s crippling depression and the end of the world. Are the two things related? Maybe. Is this the feel good movie of the year? Nope. And yet, I was incredibly moved and uplifted by this film. Which is odd, because it is directed by Lars von Trier and has all of his trademark familial unpleasantness and nausea-inducing shaky cam. The first half of the movie centers on Justine’s wedding day, which completely spirals out of control due to her depression and her fiancé’s complete cluelessness. (Generally speaking, there is only room for one complicated person in a relationship, but he might as well have been a blank slate.) The second half of the film is about her sister Claire, who struggles with how best to love in a world that is coming to an end. Lars von Trier bugs the hell out of me—both the man and his work—and I cried during the movie because I will never be able to create anything so wondrous. This movie is currently available for download, but if you have the opportunity to see it on the big screen you should; it is too majestic for a first viewing to be on a television.