Sunday, December 11, 2016

Jackie - Elle - Miss Sloane: Intelligent Women Movie Weekend


Natalie Portman does an uncanny portrayal of the 34 year old widowed First Lady Jackie Kennedy. Portman captures the feminine mystic and essence of Jackie Kennedy with her intimate whispering cadence way of speaking, way of walking and overall persona. No doubt she will garner an Oscar Nomination for Best Actress. Still, overall the film itself is flawed in that there is nothing else to the film but Portman's role; .she's virtually on the screen 99% of the time and I can't imagine any actor making anyone be so interesting enough to dominate the screen without any development of the supporting characters or relevant back story. And while the film does capture the look and feel of 1963 and those tragic few days in November 1963, there is very little else to the film, leaving me with the sense something was always missing to be told.

3-1/4 Stars


A smart, deep, provocative, elegant and dementedly uncomfortable story of a heroine's unconventional approach of discovering who raped her that she did not report to the police. Both dramatically dark and at other times cleverly funny, "Elle" meticulously weaves a story that is complex, filled with many false assumptions and multiple ambiguities that still however manages to work very well during its 2:15 minute running time. 

After viewing I am now a bit smitten with the 63 year old lead actress Isabelle Huppert and if I had a vote I believe she deserves an Oscar Nomination for Best Actress (“Elle is in French – English Subtitles).

4 Stars

Miss Sloane

Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Sam Waterston and Gugu Mbatha-Raw ( "Belle") are part of an assembled cast in the high-stakes world of political power-lobbying. Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is the lead as the formidable juggernaut lobbyist in D.C who is known equally for her cunning and her track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win.

Rotten Tomato has this movie @ 68. Trust me it is terribly undervalued and should be much higher. The screenplay with it highbrow exchanges is similar to Aaron Sorkin’s former HBO dramatic effort “The Newsroom” focusing its lenses mostly on Chastain and the two competing hyper aggressive lobbying firms as they collectively go at each other with an all cost ruthlessness to win a specific bill working its way through the US. Senate. 

The story tries with equal aplomb, confidence and poise to be politically fair to both sides of the argument. And while the film does fall prey to some conventional predictable moments and scenes, it still manages overall to be highly entertaining with its sophisticated subject matter. Actress Chastain is totally in her element the entire film executing every frame of her dialog like a Jedi Knight with her light saber. She is brillant here.

Now, in the first 20 minutes I saw what I thought would be the crescendo finale of the film. But whether you see it as well or not it will not detract from you enjoying this highly intelligent film about modern American politics and power brokering.

Please put this film on your holiday viewing schedule, you won’t be disappointed.
PS: I am also smitten with Jessica Chastain too. .. (It’s the smart woman thing for me).

3 - 3/4 Stars

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