Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Robert Ellis Miller, 1968 (8.5*)
The novel by southern author Carson McCullers makes for a heart-rending film thanks to a terrific Oscar®-nominated performance by Alan Arkin as a deaf-mute man renting a room from a family to be near a friend of his in a state mental institution, incarcerated for his uncontrollable desire for sweets. Sondra Locke, also an Oscar®-nominee for supporting actress, burst into stardom as the teenage daughter of Arkin's landlord, and this is really her coming-of-age story.

The entire cast sells this story, which is really about dealing with loneliness in its various forms, as each character is disconnected from the world in some way. McCullers' novels, and subsequent films, are not always pleasant but are usually rooted in reality, and most people can find some personal connection within her characters. Stacy Keach turns in a very good supporting performance here, as does comedian Chuch McCann as Arkin's friend in the hospital.

Though this seemed more like a 30's story, it still spoke to audiences when released in 1968 due to universal themes of personal pain and suffering while trying to find your place in the world. Alan Arkin won two critics awards for best actor for this performance.


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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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