And while the film remains chaste, and we’re even deprived of a passionate goodbye thanks to the intervention of an oblivious chatterbox (one of the most heartbreaking scenes in cinema history), it somehow works in its favor, turning it into not just a swooning love story, but also two people whose marriages are being put to the harshest tests.
“Bob & Carol” remains Mazursky’s definitive movie because of its shocking, funny and deeply serious dissection of a collective cultural mentality.It’s about the big differences between what people do and what people say, in a way that is exclusive to the city Mazursky portrayed so fondly and so well.These people are so committed to unvarnished truth telling and allegedly progressive thinking that they’ve forgotten how to be human with each other.They deliberately speak in patronizing platitudes, extolling the virtues of people whom they barely know —they’re so open that they’re about ready to fall apart.Later homaged by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (with “Ali: Fear Eats The Soul”) and Todd Haynes (with “Far From Heaven”), both of whom cannily brought race into the mix, here the concerns are more class-conscious, and the film both perfectly captures the life of 1950s suburbia (the heightened, almost artificial nature of Sirk’s locations play up the artificial construct of that world), and skewers the hypocrisy and phoniness of the world around them —the way that Cary’s children are portrayed is almost staggering in its lack of sympathy.
As ever with Sirk’s work, Iit’s gorgeously shot, and beautifully performed, with Wyman, never a huge star despite an Oscar win for “Johnny Belinda” seven years earlier, expressive and highly layered, and Hudson perfectly cast even when you overlook the overtones that subsequent revelations about his personal life added.
The ending might seem a little too happy for a story with such an air of tragedy, but Sirk and his actors never let us forget what they’ve sacrificed or the difficulties that likely lie ahead.
“Blue Valentine” (2010) Derek Cianfrance’s harrowing “Blue Valentine” isn’t so much a movie about a relationship in crisis as it is about a marriage in freefall, and just exactly how two essentially good-hearted, well-intentioned young people managed to sink so low into an abysmal pit of mental and emotional abuse.
Abandoning his usual themes of the difference between generations and family politics (at the behest of his studio, who felt that they’d gone out of fashion and wanted him to cast younger actors), Ozu nevertheless tells an atypical story in his career with his usual understated, delicate style, skipping over what lesser filmmakers would consider key scenes and letting the audience fill in the blanks (or keep guessing as to whether they took place at all).
And as ever, life bursts in from outside the frame: this isn’t so much a story as it is a slice of reality.
Based on Noel Coward’s play “Still Life,” the film sees Both are married with children, but find themselves meeting regularly, eventually in secret, getting ever close to taking a step that might not be undoable.