April 26th, 2021

The Nest: Jude Law has been playing a variety of interesting roles in the past while. From Third Day and The Young Pope he seems to take on complex characters where he shows his maturity as an actor and likely as a person. In this story, Rory (Law) and Alison O’Hara (played well by Carrie Coon who I don’t remember seeing her before – although she was in both Widows and The Post) are a couple with two kids. They live in the US, where it seems she is earning the family funds through her horse riding training and managing a stable. Rory early on announces that he would like to explore a new opportunity going back to his home in London. Alison is skeptical, as she has heard this before about “starting fresh”, but ultimately decides that she belongs with her husband and he being happier in his work. From the moves early days, there is an extravagance in all that these people do. Rory works hard, looking to be a rainmaker in his firm, while Alison works on establishing a new, being constructed stable. The kids look to head to new schools. It all seems to work on the surface, but below there are disturbing cracks. More cracks appear as the family begins to unravel slowly, on all fronts. The kids get into challenges, while Alison’s horse also struggles. Business isn’t exactly working out quite as Rory expected. Things happen. There are many parallels as symbolism in the story (from the horse, to the house that they live in, to situation at school for the kids). When it finished, rather abruptly I have to add, I was surprised. Surprised in a negative way. Scratching my head, I wasn’t really sure what the future held for these four people. I cannot recommend, and I am thankful that I saved the money from the theatre. When the trailer had first appeared and I saw Law with the cast it seemed intriguing. Trailers can be deceiving.

Big Fish: In 2003, director Tim Burton put together this excellent cast for modern day fable. Part of this cast included Albert Finney, Jessica Lange, Ewan McGregor, Marion Cotillard, and Billy Crudup. The story surrounds a man (Finney) who tells tall tales all of his life, fantastical tales with giants and circuses and amazing people from all walks of life. Ewan McGregor plays the younger version of Finney. Finney is aging and his son (Crudup) has grown up feeling as though he doesn’t have any idea about his father. He thinks that his father’s stories are all made up. He feels as though he has been lied to, and just wants some straight answers. Crudup is married and his wife is expecting their first child. He is preparing for being a new Dad, all the while his own Dad is in ill health. He wants to understand. Although the stories that the father tells are disjointed and remarkable, and seem completely unrelated, except for him, they all do come together well as the story continues. I find this movie warm hearted and touching. Although I am not a huge Tim Burton fan, this story strikes the right chord with me as the young man begins to realize that his father is a good man. That he care for others and help them. That he loves his mother, and only his mother always. It seems the life lesson is that many people realize only too late that their parents are people and they have had unique experiences and lived a life that involved their children but weren’t all about their children. Sometimes telling fantastic tales can make them more memorable. Well worth a view.

Robin’s Wish: This is a 2020 documentary about the follow up on the life of Robin Williams. For many of us, we had heard about his untimely death (apparently by suicide) back in August 2014 at the age of 63. How sad for a man who had made so many people laugh. In a way, I think, we all kind of felt that he was a friend. He played many memorable roles, too many to list here. Notable in this film is the lack of participation from his three children and his first wife. There is a lot of talk from his last and third wife, Susan Schneider. We learn that Robin suffered from Lewy body dementia. Basically a form of dementia that is hard to diagnose, and makes that person lose their abilities and mental capacities. Slowly. Imperceptibly to themselves and those around them. It is a sympathetic story and shows that Williams in all likelihood wasn’t taking his life selfishly. It didn’t really show much extra coverage of Williams himself. There are plenty of friends who appear, but not those like Billy Crystal, Pam Dawber or others who you might expect, and were a part of the other Robin Williams documentary from 2018 Come Inside My Mind. Post viewing this, I saw the Schneider who Williams had met in a rehab centre, had been in prolonged litigation with his children, but that it had settled.

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/10/robin-williams-widow-children-settlement

In the end, this was not as compelling. I am not surprised that there was something more going on in Williams’ head. Much like great athletes with concussion symptoms, this great actor and comic genius seemed to work on a different plain than the rest of us. In the end, the best way to remember him is through his work in my opinion. He has left a great legacy, and he left us (like many a great artist) all too soon. So on this Oscar night, I will recall this Oscar winner for his body of work, and the laughs that he left behind.