Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Phil Morrison, 2005 (7.8*)
This small indie film received high critical marks for its honest portrayal of a real family with believable problems in middle-class North Carolina. Embeth Davidtz plays an art dealer from Chicago who specializes in "outside" or primitive art, paintings done by self-taught individuals. She travels with her husband to his childhood home in NC to court an autistic artist, David Wark (Frank Hoyt Taylor), a reclusive who is pre-occupied with the Civil War, slaves, giant genitalia, and his own poetry, often inserted into his artwork. True to southern bigotry, he also refuses to deal "with Jews".

While there she meets the in-laws: the parents, realistically played by life-worn Scott Wilson and a domineering Celia Weston, brother-in-law Johnny (Ben McKenzie), a slacker who lives at home with his pregnant wife Ashley, brilliantly portrayed by Amy Adams, who won 13 international awards for supporting actress, and also garnered an Oscar® nomination for supporting.

As an artist, I'm always amazed at the "big city, big money" attraction to art that is merely different, not necessarily talented, sublime, or transcendent - this is no exception. This film, perhaps intentionally, exposes the superficiality of the art world, especially among the wealthy collectors who place high value on outrageous originality that has little else to elevate the works.

For me, the film has credible characters with real problems, maybe too much so, and failed to really deliver any revelation or catharsis. The ensemble acting is superb, and perhaps the film's major plus is its lack of judgment, allowing any real meaning to come from the viewer's own interpretation, especially concerning the paintings themselves.

Winner of 16 awards, mostly for Amy Adams: the awards page at IMDB


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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