Toronto Film Fest: Margot at the Wedding, Nothing is Private Reviews

Two films showing people at their nastiest.

by | September 13, 2007 | Comments


Margot at the
Wedding
(in theaters November 16): Like how Life
Aquatic
paraded the worst habits of
Wes Anderson,
Margot at
the Wedding
brings out writer/director
Noah Baumbach‘s
misanthropy at its most unsalvageable.
Nicole Kidman
stars as Margot, who journeys from Manhattan to rural suburbia for her sister Pauline’s wedding.  A breakdown in
virtually every relationship involved ensues.  Baumbach’s a master at writing
small, poignant scenes, but edit them all together and the Margot struggles to be more than an ugly volley of self-analysis, emotional violence, and neurosis.  Watching the
movie has a sum negative effect: Baumbach got me invested in his characters but
since he doesn’t even bother directing them towards any resolution, one can feel
energy and effort dissipate from the body, wasted.


Nothing is Private:

Now here’s how you make a misanthropic movie.

Six Feet Under
and
American Beauty
writer
Alan Ball makes
his directorial debut with Nothing is Private, whose reputation as
Toronto’s most subversive film is well-deserved.  Adapted from the novel
Towelhead
, it focuses on the growing pains of 13 year old Jasira, who is
groped, raped, and routinely abused, emotionally and physically, throughout the
course of the movie. And, yes, this is a comedy. Ball shows much of its subject
matter in graphic, wincing detail, though the jokes don’t come cheaply and you
never feel too
bad for laughing. Nothing is Private, unfortunately, crumbles a bit at the end
when it starts vilifying characters, something Ball had expertly avoided up to that point. But I guess a movie about racism, pedophilia, and child
abuse can’t be all fun and games.

Warner Independent Pictures picked this up during the festival, and will release
it next year.

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