Hey folks, Harry here... not much has been buzzing about on this one. Can you imagine the fanboy hatred for this film if it were to take RETURN OF THE KING's Oscars (and I love noting that the are RETURN OF THE KING's Oscars, just as that Italian monkey, Roberto has McKellen's Oscar.) Well, as for the headline... sounds like J. Lo is great in the film and I'd love nothing more than for her to own this and get a nomination... in a year that's done nothing but tear her down and marginalize her talents. Well, is this Harvey's secret weapon?
I just got back from a test screening of An Unfinished Life.Going into it, I knew nothing of this film, only that of the cast and crew, a small summary of plot, and internet sources pointing at a release of Christmas '04. The film is a hard drama directed by Miramax's Oscar fisherman, Lasse Hallstrom and this one seems to be another piece of bait. Alongside Chocolat and Cider House Rules, this one contains a big league cast of characters as well. Be surprised as I was when I read the names of the credits though. Robert Redford (cool), Morgan Freeman (awesome), Josh Lucas (ok, ok for the ladies) and....Jennifer Lopez.... (Gigli?) Immediately the big boot! y entered my head, as it attackedRedfordand Freeman. Such a name as J Lo seemed extremely awkward in this mix and coming off Gigli I wondered if she was mentally stable of even living life. I was scared, but anxious to see this now.
The plot was that of life moralizing drama, which Hallstrom is no rookie with. A middle aged widow (Jean) with the accident of her husband's death lingering over her; takes her 11 year old daughter and runs away from her sleazy, abusive boyfriend (Damien Lewis). They run off to Jean's father in law (Redford) who still blames life and Jean herself for taking away his son. The setting takes place in old country,Redfordliving his days on his farm still grasping what he can of the Cowboy life that drifts away. AlongsideRedford! is his cattle ranch buddy (Freeman) who appears greatly physically deformed, as we learn he was mauled by a bear. Fixed in this is Lucas who is the small town cop who cares for the residents in his town and attaches to Jean. Jean hopes to start a new life, and each character must mend past's wounds and take a lesson in what life deals them...and Lasse Hallstrom takes it on with no problem.
The best aspect of this film is the chemistry. Most notably,Redfordand Freeman, who remind me so much of the Unforgiven Eastwood and Freeman team it's scary.Redfordmisses his son, as he talks to his grave like he is still in front of him. Freeman appears shocking to the eyes for his physical scars by the bear are done incredibly well by makeup. FreemanÃs character yearns for a life that doesnÃt involve sitting in his house crippled, but most importantly, he yearns for peace with the bear that has literally stopped his life. Throughout the! film we see this bear, and it represents a great symbol that ties the characters together. BothRedfordand Freeman are old, washed up cowboys who do not want to accept this reality. Each is changed though when Jean and her daughter stumble onto this normal, boring farm life. For J.Lo andRedfordstand on tense ground, revolving around the death of husband/son.
J Lo...no Jennifer shows she CAN actually act, as she brings much intensity and pain with her. Perhaps with good direction, Jen has a side that hasn't been able to open up on the big screen. She plays the part well, seeming to fuel from Enough. For she is an abused mother, who only wants a future with her child and is vulnerable to mistakes.
And it is the idea of mistakes and misfortunes of the past that stand as solid ground for this film. I won't be surprised to see many Actor nominations in Oscar season '04 as well as perhaps a best actress nom??? (Such a thing might lead to an image of Harry Weinstein swimming in J Lo cds naked) It appears that Miramax is nurturing this baby with delicate care.
Overall, this film deals with healing old wounds the past has to offer. The cinematography is beautiful, the symbolism is touching, the bear is kickass, but it is the chemistry that makes this movie great. THANKS