Saturday, February 14, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

It's Valentine's Day. My Valentine and I celebrated by picking up burgers and fries at Five Guys in Cumming, Georgia, (I swear--it's the name of the town--I'm not making it up) and driving out to the base of Buford Dam to eat them sitting on the tailgate of the Jeep, watching the ducks bobbing for lunch, and the fly fishermen killing time while Etta James crooned from the stereo.

But this post is really about what came next. By now, those of you who are regular reviewers here should know enough to know whether or not to trust my taste in movies. Mostly, I'll just comment on whether a movie is worth your ten bucks and two hours or not. But occasionally, I'll feel strongly enough about one to actually say that you shouldn't miss it. Reign Over Me was like that. So was Once. At the other end of the spectrum was Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, which is the only movie I can remember seeing in the last decade that made me seriously want to kill myself.

Today's topic is in the first category, the do not miss this category. After a pseudo-picnic--the best we could do for a cloudy February day in North Georgia--we went to a movie.

Don Anderson likes to say that the measure of good writing is when you say, "I wish I'd written that." Well, this movie passes that test with flying colors. Great acting, great casting, and possibly the best script of its sort that I've ever seen. They so nailed it. All of it. Any book or film would be doing well to tackle the dynamics of any of the relationships in this movie and do it with fidelity to life. To tackle them all--the singles that don't want to be, the players, the committed unmarried, the faithful married and the cheating spouse, the mistress, the uninterested, the interested only for sex, the used and cast off, the list goes on. It would be an ambitious project just to sit around one night with friends and try to list all the various roles one might encounter in the world of relationships one decade into the 21st century. Listing them would be ambitious enough. To work them all into a single movie would seem over-ambitious. To work them all into a single movie with the honesty and fidelity which this movie does is, from my point of view, the work of gods and goddesses. It's based on the book by the same title

It is like Shakespeare's As You Like It, in that the right couples end up together in the end, and the right people end up . . . alone. It is better than entertaining. It's real. It's true. It's cathartic. It's the movie I'm most likely to remember from this year. It's the one, like Once and Reign Over Me, that I'd be willing to offer a money-back guarantee on. See it with someone you love or someone you want to love. See it with your best friend. Whoever you are, you will see people in it that you recognize, and you will be amazed at how well they capture them, their motivations, their emotions, their souls.

Grade: A+