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The Big Pictures

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Impressions of the big-hitters during this year’s film awards race
 
Moonlight
 
Why I loved it: UHHH this movie is so good! Where do I begin… perhaps with the subtle and gentle exposure of the realities of growing up in inner-city Miami. Or perhaps with the crushing and all-too relatable feeling that there is something other about oneself. Or perhaps with the perfectly composed music. Or perhaps with the masterful motifs director Barry Jenkins uses to guide the audience through the coming-of-age of a young African-American.
 
Why you should see it: See this movie as a person who is interested in understanding complex and human stories. See this movie to feel compassion and empathy. See this movie to partake in gorgeous cinematography. See this movie not because you want to dictate and command, but because you want to listen.
 
Fences
 
Why I’m excited to see it: Viola Davis. Viola Davis. Viola Davis. It’s based on a play, and that always bodes well for a good moving picture (Doubt, anyone?). Denzel Washington is also becoming an interview favourite with his no bullsh*t approach to fake news, making films, and generally being awesome. Hopefully some of that candor comes through in his direction and acting.
 
Hidden Figures
 
Why I’m excited to see it: Because #OscarsSoWhite should be a thing of the past, and this movie looks like it’s the poster-child of intersectionality. While at first glance it may seem like a blockbuster inspirational-style studio flick, word on the street is that it’s truly award worthy. Go see it to show that you don’t want these kind of stories hidden in your lifetime.
 
La La Land
 
Why I didn’t like it: It’s hard for me to ignore singers who can’t sing and dancers that can’t dance. The film also attempted to mesh together the fantastical and romantic (read: unrealistic) nature of classic musicals with hard-hitting dramatic scenes that explore the harsh realities of being an artist. For realists, the bow-tie ending may be a bitter pill to swallow.
 
Why you should see it: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are glorious to look at as they deliver brilliant performances in all scenes that don’t involve singing and dancing. If you’d like to live the fantasy that the world isn’t as messed up as we think it is, this is a perfect two hours for you. And apparently that’s fooled a lot of critics as well.
 
Arrival
 
What I’ve heard: There are aliens, but it’s not about aliens. It does what Sci-Fi is supposed to do, in that it explores greater ideas. It’s about the question of whether a woman wants to have a child, and what that means. Amy Adams is apparently terrific and subtle, and why not go support a French-Canadian director. The themes of language and connection may be a welcome respite from the onslaught of exclusionary rhetoric heard of late.
 
Jackie
 
Why I’m excited to see it: Natalie Portman hasn’t been in a big awards-buzz movie since Black Swan, and her talent is worth having her in every frame of a movie.
 
Why you should see it: If you share a similar adoration of Ms. Portman. Or if you don’t know much about the Kennedy assassination (as I didn’t until trailers for Jackie came out and I Googled and YouTubed it). Did you know that Jackie Kennedy opted to wear her pink suit with JFK’s blood and brains on it the entire day because she wanted it to be photographed that way? You can bet that’s in the movie.
 
What I’ve heard: The Jackie O’ accent is a bit hard to get over, it makes NP sound like she’s acting really hard, rather than being the character. On the other hand, those who were alive when the assassination took place were very moved by the performance and the film as a whole.
 
Liz Guilbault (1L) is a Staff Writer for Juris Diction.

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