The 2019 Sundance Film Festival is here, and I am very excited to see a wide variety of films. Each day I am going to try and log my thoughts, experiences and mini-reviews of the films I see on this blog. If I miss a day I will make it up with a double post.
For day 1 I saw 2 films, both at The Grand Theater at Salt Lake Community College. Despite having my SLC Locals pass I arrived about an hour early and it was a good thing because there was a long line just for us but luckily the Grand Theaters is large and so everyone got a seat that was interested in seeing the film. They also have nice snacks at the Grand which is plus.
My first movie is called Maiden and it is a wonderful and inspiring documentary that first screened at the Toronto Film Festival. It tells the story of Tracy Edwards and her quest to be lead the first ever all-female crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race. I love inspiring sports documentaries (see 2017’s STEP!) and this is no exception. Director Alex Holmes does a great job mixing current interviews with archival footage to draw you into each step of the journey. He even got the journalists who had said chauvinistic things about the girls to return and talk about those views, which was very funny.
Maiden is actually a more nuanced look at feminism than it might appear on surface. The women do face huge resistance and odds but they don’t see themselves as feminists and are not satisfied to just be in the race. I particularly liked a sequence where they arrive at one of the stops in their swimsuits so that people will not talk about their poor finish time. This mixture of femininity along with the brute strength required for the racing made the women sailors feel like real people not just feminist archetypes.
Keep an eye out for Maiden. It’s a real winner!
9 out of 10
After the Wedding
Next up is a remake of a 2006 Danish film After the Wedding. I was really excited for this movie especially with a cast including Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams. I haven’t seen the original, but unfortunately this remake was not for me. I found every character to be insufferable, irritating and selfish and all their problems to be first world and difficult to have any empathy for.
The performances are all fine but Michelle Williams character is an unlikable ‘do-gooder jerk) and Julianne Moore is an unlikable rich person jerk (things happen that are supposed to be sad but the way she manipulates people make it hard to care about her). Billy Crudup as Moore’s husband is handsome but bland. (I guess in the original Mads Mikkelsen has the Michelle Willams role). I didn’t even like their daughter who I thought was selfish and miserable.
I can’t give much else away without spoilers but none of the convoluted plot elements or big reveals did anything to draw out emotion for me (except perhaps immensely disliking the entire experience). Yuck!
3 out of 10