Away From Her is a quiet movie about a couple dealing with Alzheimer’s disease — and it’s not depressing or melodramatic. The understated but perfectly nuanced performances from Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie, together with Sarah Polley‘s subtle direction, deliver an emotional punch without being overtly manipulative or insulting to the audience’s intelligence. It feels real. It’s one of the best movies to come out of Canada in years.
12 and Holding is a powerful, engaging film that presents a more honest look at childhood than anything I’ve seen for years. It’s about a small group of young kids, each of them dealing with some difficult issues that arise from things happening at home (or not happening at home). There’s a fat kid trying to lose weight, a lonely girl looking for a father figure, and another guy dealing with a death in the family (which could be Stand By Me but with none of the soft focus nostalgia).
It’s difficult not to immediately care about these kids because their reactions are so genuine. Except for maybe one small detail, everything that happens seems plausible, which only heightens the drama as all the stories come together in the end. Parents should watch 12 and Holding as a realistic reminder that, yeah, sometimes childhood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Bubble is Steven Soderbergh’s experimental whodunit film that he describes more accurately as a whydunit. It’s experimental in that he uses real people, non-actors, playing themselves; the characters’ lives are so mundane that even when something out of the ordinary happens, it’s still completely mundane — and one of the most interesting films I’ve ever seen. Its authenticity makes it extremely watchable, not unbearably or depressingly realistic. It’s entertaining, compelling and dramatic — everything you want in a movie, minus the Hollywood. It’s one of my favourite movies from 2005, difficult to find on DVD, but worth looking out for.
Part 1 was How to Build a Raised Garden Bed and Potato Tower. Part 2 is just a 2-minute video update on how the garden is looking these days.