Thursday, August 12, 2010

Moofies - Life During Wartime (2009)

EXPECTATIONS: Todd Solondz has a disturbingly dark sense of humour, so much so that I laugh at what I see in his films and then hate myself a little bit for it. He pushes the boundaries of taste and decency in everything he does, but I think he still does it in a classy way (unlike Family Guy). I'm not always 100% sure what he is trying to get at with his films, or if he is even trying to get at anything, but I like what he does.

REALITY: If you are a Solondz fan there are very little surprises here, but that's fine.

Life During Wartime begins with what seem to be separate tales, but eventually they all intertwine and the characters are linked through family. Joy (Shirley Henderson) breaks up with her boyfriend because he is addicted to perverted phone calls with strangers. She moves back in with her mother and tries to work out what to do with her life. Her sister Trish (Allison Janney) is trying to rebuild her life after her ex-husband is imprisoned for pedophilia.

All the performances are excellent, with a fantastic appearance by Ally Sheedy as a rich screenwriter whose boyfriend is "Keanu"; and Paul "Pee-Wee" Reubens as the ghost of one of Joy's past lovers.

There are themes of guilt, isolation, misguidedness, and misunderstanding; all seemingly linked to the war in Afghanistan. I think I need to watch it again to try and understand what Solondz is trying to say, if anything, but I love how black the humour is. Solondz makes the darkest comedy I've ever seen, and while this isn't necessarily any better than what he's made before, it's great that he's continuing to make films that are unlike anything else on screen.


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