This is one of my favorite movies ever (though it, and nothing else, will ever live up to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, there’s no need to hate on it for not being my absolute favorite).
General and Epilepsy:
This movie combines lots of my favorite things: books, amazingly interesting visuals, slight madness, great actors, dramedy, and cookies.
I love that each area has its own color and style. Harold’s home is in neutral browns and tans. The IRS office is gray. The bakery, a place of freedom, just bursts with colors. I particularly like the greens of the pastry trays next to her oven. Ms. Pascal (love it) has a house bolder than her bakery. The guitar shop is a rebellious burned red-orange. The sea foam green guitar, looking back at the past. Karen’s office is a stark white place of creation. Penny’s yellow umbrella. The green apples. This is something I mentioned yesterday with my Moonrise Kingdom review. I like it when color is a part of the story. Not an incidental afterthought, but a building block for the story itself.
As far as epilepsy goes, nothing at all to mention. Even its most riotous parts are calming. It’s a good compilation of Emma Thompson’s voice and the colors.
Another thing that I like is when things jump into the action unexpectedly. Which might help you understand my love of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and by extension Iron Man 3. All it took was a wrecking ball through a wall, and my love for this movie doubled. I knew from the first watching years ago that I would enjoy it and that it would go on my list of favorites. Dozens and dozens of views later, this remains true.
Technical and Actors:
The popup lists and active wrist watch are the two most important aspects of technical use. The diagrams that follow Harold around, showing distance and temperature and time, etc, are fantastic. They add the the story in the same way that the color schemes do. I can’t imagine the movie without it.
The soundtrack fits perfectly.
The movie has a very good cast. Harold Crick, our protag (of book and film), is played by a fantastic Will Ferrell. Boring (the deep and endless ocean part, I adore), slightly mad, but those moments when he breaks out of himself, the bus with Ana, the guitar shop, the house with Ana … he’s so fantastic.
Ana Pascal, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, is fun. She plays the eccentric baker a little hard and cliche, but I generally like Maggie, and when she gets around the counter she drops some of the sweet/evil baker thing, I truly embrace Ana’s character. She is another case of a good wardrobe. The crop jacket, emerald and brushed gold, she wears when she gives Harold a cookies is beautiful, and works wonderful with a plain white tank. I do think her character is a bit hard on Harold from the get go, he’s obviously not the sort of social butterfly who knows how to spend an evening with a cute baker.
Emma Thompson plays Karen Eiffle, the writer who is (unintentionally) writing Harold’s story and working to kill him. Grumpy, morose, a bit disgusting. And awful. I love her. Queen Latifah does a fine job as Penny, Karen’s assistant, but I don’t really find her necessary. Though I like her snarking at Karen’s character.
Dustin Hoffman is a literature professor helping Harold discover the sort of book he’s in. He’s also a bit disgusting at times.
It’s a story in a story! It’s meta! Wheeeee!
It’s something of a coming of age story for a middle-aged man. So maybe a midlife crisis movie? But not really, it’s certainly a coming of age story, Harold just got to it a little late.
It’s uplifting and heartbreaking and then uplifting all over again. It’s one of the best examples I can think of in the drama/comedy genre. It blends all these characters, even the ones outside of Harold’s primary storyline, extremely well. It’s clean and doesn’t seem to miss a beat.
Interesting to note:
“You’re never too old to go to space camp, dude.”
“Flours” … best gift ever. Sweet and clever and fantastic. I cry every time I see it! How stupid is that?
I’m fairly certain my gramma had that flower afghan that Ana had on her couch.