JEFF PEARLMAN

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The Blind Side vs. Chocolat

Have watched two movies over the past few days. The first is The Blind Side, which is now on HBO at least 132,321 times per day. The other is Chocolat, which the wife rented.

When the wife and I initially saw The Blind Side in the theatre last year, something about the film rubbed me wrongly. I couldn’t place my finger on it—everyone else in the world seemed to love the damn thing, but I … just … did … not. Watching it again recently, I felt the same way. Enjoyable, decent, etc—but something just not right.

Then I saw Chocolat, a film I had no interest in.

Chocolat is, in a word, brilliant. Beautifully shot, excellent story. Best of all is the acting. I know little of Juliette Bincohe’s work, but in this film she’s entirely believeable as a wandering single mother with a nack for making chocolate. When she cries, you hurt for her. When she smiles, it radiates. Nothing, however, is overdone. Lots of subtleties—with her, with Alfred Molina, with Johnny Depp.

And therein lies my problem with The Blind Side. For a film that earned such grand reviews, there’s nary a moment of subtlety. When someone feels good about himself, he/she smiles ever so slightly, as to tell the viewer, “I feel good about myself.” When someone’s upset, his eyes gaze downward and his eyebrows furrow. The emotions are rammed down yout throat, so absolutely, positively nothing can be missed. On the bright side, every intent is crystal clear. On the down side, subtlety and texture makes a great movie great.

Anyhow, that’s what I have to say about that.