Movies of The Week #13 (2023)

Un beau matin (2022): In the skilled hands of Mia Hansen-Løve, a film with not much happening in terms of plot becomes a series of insightful snapshots of the little moments that make up life. Un beau matin is ultimately exactly that, one particular, peaceful moment in a world of turbulences, where time stands still and worries fall away. It’s a gift for our protagonist, Sandra (Léa Seydoux), who has to juggle an ailing father, a complicated romance, a young daughter and a focus-demanding job – all happening against a complex familial and social backdrop. The sadness that the movie bears would be a lot to handle if not finely balanced by Hansen-Løve, who imbues everything with a sweet melancholy that keeps the melodramatic at bay. 8

Eo (2022): I’m not much of an environmentalist (don’t shoot, I recycle and ride a bike!) and I’ve rarely been fond of movies that make blunt comments on the relationship between us humans and our environment in general and animals in particular (I sure roasted Okja when I reviewed it). For what it’s worth, Eo is a different experience, which makes the most of its premise: we follow a donkey “liberated” from a Polish circus, only to see it encounter various samples of our (in)humanity. After being emotionally haunted by the donkey in Banshees of Inisherin, it wasn’t’ a stretch to feel for Eo, whose wordless, inquisitive performance is strangely relatable. Jerzy Skolimowski’s movie is beautiful to look at, even if it leans more heavily into misanthropy than I’d have liked – or found justified. 7

Welcome to Me (2014): Otherness is a big thing these days and it’s generally interesting to see it framed within scenarios that are themselves “otherly”. In WtM, Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig), who has borderline personality disorder, wins a bunch of millions at the lottery and dives deeply into her deepest wish – to be seen and heard. So she finances a TV show that she also stars in, where Alice explores and reenacts various experiences from her life. It’s the kind of absurd premise that doesn’t make much sense, but it finds what I think to be a deep truth about who we are and our need to be validated. Wiig is great in the lead and a strong supporting cast ensures this quirky and not always likable movie is one worth watching. 7

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (2023): The latest Guy Ritchie is absolutely nothing you haven’t seen before, but it works well, better than some of his more ambitious efforts. Adding Aubrey Plaza. Carey Elwes and Josh Hartnett to the more familiar Ritchie players Jason Statham and Hugh Grant, Operation Fortune is not short of star power. There’s a ruse and a global threat and charismatic criminals, which all make for an easy watch. The movie is a bit off in its rhythm with an underwhelming final showdown, which is not to say that it lacks in action. So I’ll shave off a bit from the rating because it generally feels like a copy, but I had a good time watching it nonetheless. 6

Natural Born Killers (1994): Stone put together a visually transgressive movie in this otherwise one-note kind of Bonnie and Clyde story. That’s somewhat impressive, given the wide mainstream reach NBK has achieved, but I’m not sure it’s necessarily a good thing. The first part of the movie is a real acid trip (I wouldn’t know, but that’s how they say it, right?) that’s not particularly enjoyable, because you’ll be struggling to get to grips with whatever you’re watching. The second part (you’ll know it) is more cohesive, easier to digest, and bonkers in an almost entertaining way. Woody Harrelson actually provides a more balanced performance than the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and Tommy Lee Jones, the latter really amping it up for his subsequent part in Batman. So with all said and done, this is a rather self-indulgent movie about media and TV consumption in an ailing American society, with the occasional flair, but mostly tiresome. 6