I snuck in two more films before the ball dropped and only one is squeezing into my top ten.
While “Joy” had all the ingredients of a master class film-O’Russell and his wrecking crew of actors and actresses, a few clunky scenes took the charge out of the true story of a poor housewife makes a multi-million dollar invention.
One of the problems was the maudlin narration by Dianne Ladd which I think took away from the life of the film. The other hardship was that two outstanding actors/characters were never allowed to let it loose. Specifically, Virginia Madsen as the bedridden soap opera addict mother of Joy and Isabella Rosselini as the rich second step mom. I’m sure some precious stuff wound up on the cutting room floor. And why leave untidy questions, like; she had two children, yet all we see is the daughter in her later life? This wouldn’t be so troubling, but there was a scene in which the boy had a bad cough and yet there was never any tie in. Only when we found out about a death in the family (which ended up being Grandma ‘Ladd’), did I wonder momentarily, if it was the son.
Now ‘YOUTH’ (directed by Paulo Sorrentino) was MOVIE. If I have one tiny complaint, it was the numerous philosophical ideas that were all jammed into one film: 1. emotions are important to a full life, 2. productivity is crucial to a happy life, 3. hashing out problems is healthy, 4. simple love, simple songs can be prolific, 5. age is a state of mind, 6. depending on people for your happiness leads to misery.
Sorrentino shows his Felinni influence in a gorgeously visual film set at a affluent spa. Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Jane Fonda and Rachel Weisz all give stand out performances.
Especially though, may I plead the case to Golden Globe and Oscar Judges for a Paul Dano a trophy, not only was he brilliant as Brian Wilson, but he was excellent in Youth. Additionally this would also be redemption for his lack of accolades for his super crazed role in 12 Years a Slave. His presence raises the bar of whatever film he’s in.Paul Dano