Amazon Holiday

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Personal Effects

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: A young man (Ashton Kutcher) and an older woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) meet at grievers' support group, and form their own personal little support system outside of the meetings.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates, Spencer Hudson, Aleks Paunovic, Mary Black

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. It's a drama, through and through, by which I mean, it doesn't even try to make you feel good. But it's not boring, it is intimate, and the two leads are serious eye-candy.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: This movie is so quiet, chewing popcorn sounds out of place-- so anything to do with actually using your vocal chords you're gonna wanna leave at the door.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: For people who've had someone close to them pass recently, I don't see how it could be avoided. But maybe it's worth it? It could be therapeutic.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: How is it that at the age of 50, Michelle Pfeiffer still gets my vote for Most Beautiful Woman in the World? If there are any youth and beauty potions that actually work, she's holding.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Ashton Kutcher is solid enough, and he even manages to shed a tear during a prolonged shot without cutaways... But then he spoils it a little, when we see him sort of smile with pride-- probably at his own ability to cry on cue. Kathy Bates, in a teeny-tiny role, is a genius. She doesn't have much screen time, but in one scene she laughs so hard that no sound comes out, and before you know it, you realize she's crying. Just seeing her name up on the screen makes you think, "Wow, what a great cast!" Who else is in it becomes almost irrelevant.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: The color and lighting make the film appear flat and cold, simulating the feeling of emptiness that follows a loved one's death. On the downside, there are stylistic choices sporadically sprinkled throughout that are inconsistent with the rest of the visuals in the film, and stand out as choices made in the editing room, in places that weren't working.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: Rarely in real life have two people run into each other at random, as many times, and in as many places, as the leads in this film do at the beginning of this story. I tried to justify it in my mind by imagining that it was supposed to take place in a small town. But at the Q & A, the writer admitted that it was Pittsburgh. He should've lied.

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: The beginning is confusing, because Ashton Kutcher is clearly doing the voiceover for the deaf character.  I imagine there's a poetic reason for this-- like to show how much they have in common, making them like one being-- but it comes off confusing, and it definitely helps to know that even though it sounds like Ashton Kutcher, the sentiments are supposed to be those of the deaf teenager.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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Anonymous said...

Actually, the voice over for the deaf character is clearly Topher Grace, Ashton's old co-star from the 70's show. It really wasn't confusing as we never hear the deaf person even attempt to speak. Also, though it's no doubt that Michele looks great for 50, to be fair, she is on borrowed time. The next ten years could be rough.

Monique Elisabeth said...

I am so impressed that someone besides me actually saw this movie! Topher Grace (who I love by the way) is not listed in the credits on imdb. Where did you get that information?

Anonymous said...

Personal Effects is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. This movie is under-rated and didn't get enough publicity. The acting was authentic, absolutely fantastic by everyone in this movie and the theme music is beautiful & haunting. Rent it, a must see.

jill said...

I'm glad I accidently watched Personal Effects last night. I was 1 minute late, and wasn't aware that the narrator was the deaf boy. I did watch that 1st minute later at next showing. It was odd to see Ashton Kutcher as such a never smiling grim person. Guess it made an impression on me, because I caught myself in the shower this morning thinking about it and then was glad that even with all my analysis, I'm still not sure how it ended. Maybe I just don't want to know the real story. Don't they do that on purpose, let us depend on our own perception? I thought they were quite clever at letting us fill in the blanks throughout the movie. Pretty good movie.

Anonymous said...

agreed the voice over is topher grace who does not sound at all like ashton kutcher