F.I.L.M. of the Week (January 14, 2011)

14 01 2011

As a stage actor in high school, I’ve gained a certain appreciation for how in-tune the performances have to be.  The actor must always be acting as any member of the audience can simply shift their gaze on him at any time.  Cinema has marked a new era for the actor, where he doesn’t have to be finely in-tune for hours at a time.  The camera can cut away from him when he doesn’t speak, finding something that the filmmakers believed that impatient audiences will be more interested in than a mouth not sputtering out dialogue.

Yet it’s in those stray moments where we really see the power of the actor.  It’s in these moments that usually get left out of movies where we can truly visualize an actor’s vision for their character.  Through extensive use of split-screen, “Conversations with Other Women,” my pick for the “F.I.L.M.” of the week, is able to capture those moments and bring them to a largely unfamiliar destination: the silver screen.

After spending 80 minutes with Aaron Eckhart and probable 2010 Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter in “Conversations with Other Women,” you’ll have no doubt that they have complete understanding and mastery of not only their characters, but of the craft of acting as well.  They play unnamed people, but just because we can’t identify them through nomenclature doesn’t mean that we can’t connect with them.

Eckhart and Carter strike up amicable conversation at a wedding reception, but the dynamic slowly changes to reveal that these aren’t just perfect strangers.  The methodical unraveling makes for a fascinating watch, as does their banter, which is very much like something that would be performed on stage.  Eckhart and Carter’s two-actor conversation works marvelously well, and the fact that they can keep us drawn in for the entire movie without ever letting go or letting up is nothing short of astounding.  With comedy, drama, and intrigue, “Conversations with Other Women” is a quirky but immensely satisfying showcase of two actors doing what few screen actors dare.

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6 responses

14 01 2011
Frank Mengarelli

This film sounds fantastic! I’ve always really, really liked Eckhart. I recently watched “Rabbit Hole”, and while I didn’t particularly care for the film – I was nearly mesmerized by Eckhart’s performance. When he has sudden bursts of rage (as he did in “The Dark Knight”) he can frighten me, but then he can also comfort and ease me as well. I think many find him as a one not actor, but I think he has an incredible amount of range. I remember first seeing him in “Any Given Sunday” and “The Pledge” and I’ve always kept him on my radar since. Great post Marshall!

14 01 2011
Marshall

I agree with every word of that on Eckhart; he really is so fantastic. In my mind, he deserves to be nominated for Best Actor for “Rabbit Hole” but will probably be overshadowed by Kidman, much in the same way that Ledger overshadowed him for “The Dark Knight.”

I don’t think a nomination is far away for him – and hopefully, soon after, a win! (I’ve been a huge fan ever since “Thank You For Smoking.”)

14 01 2011
Frank Mengarelli

“Thank You for Smoking” is excellent!!! I have this one man theory that the long overdue Academy nomination that he receives will be the one he’ll win for. So in other words, he’ll get nominated for a performance that he will end up winning for.

Off topic, did you change your email?

14 01 2011
Marshall

I didn’t change my email; if you’re referring to the very nice email you sent me, I just didn’t reply because I couldn’t find the right cord to strike with my response, and then I ultimately forgot about replying altogether.

14 01 2011
Frank Mengarelli

Ha! In a transparent round about way, yes that is what I was referring too, but also to my first email about you sending your nominations for the event I want to do, I’d really, really like you to participate if you’d care too.

14 01 2011
Marshall

Oh yes, another thing I meant to reply to. Yes, I’d love to participate – just let me go open my email.

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