Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Savage Grace - DVD Review

SAVAGE GRACE (**) - Starring Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane and Eddie Redmayne.
Directed by Tom Kalin.

This movies proves that Moore and Dillane are great actors, and that it's all for naught if they can't use those talents in a story worth telling. It's the true story of a dysfunctional family of the icky kind, showing rich people in their decadent glory. Money can't buy happiness, but families like these are good arguments for wealth redistribution.

It's the true story of Brooks, Barbara and Antony Baekeland. Brooks is heir to the billions left by his grandfather, who invented plastic. Brooks is a cold, ambivalent father; Barbara is a clingy, unstable mother; and Antony never really had a chance, but he grows up to be a cross between Augusten Burroughs and Jean-Baptiste Grenouille.

This isn't so much a story as a series of events in the family's lives that spans across the decades. Picture Michael Apted with his 7 Up series, but he stops in on this family at the worst possible times. "Oh dear, the father is sleeping with his teenage son's girlfriend; let's try again in seven years." Seven years later. "Oh, my, what's the mother doing in bed with her son and his boyfriend?"

Moore gives a ferocious, devastating performance as Barbara, who'd rather have her son be oedipal than gay. It's one of those roles where I hope now she can do some rom-com's or adventures or something less soul-crushing.

No comments: