Saturday, January 7, 2006

Men don't listen to women enough...

Here's an interesting year-end appreciation of "Forty Shades of Blue" from Jeremiah Kipp at

I had a delayed reaction to this one. Writer-director Ira Sachs blew me away with his previous film, The Delta, and my expectations were high for Forty Shades of Blue. But I absolutely could not connect with the central character, Laura (Dina Korzun), a Russian trophy wife of legendary Memphis music producer Alan (Rip Torn). She seemed like a character who placed an emotional wall between herself and the world, and when Alan’s son comes to town, her cold, illicit affair with him leads her to self-knowledge, not about her affair (which is essentially meaningless to her) but about her very life and the lack of living within it. I found her actions inscrutable. Weeks later, I was walking down the street and thunderstruck by the fact that, like Alan, I was choosing not to listen to her, to look into her depth, and to attempt to understand her. Torn gives a raging good performance as the music producer, but what Korzun does is absolutely indelible — she creates a performance where you have to plug into her instead of allowing her to wash over you. Men don’t listen to women enough, I guess, and when a movie comes along asking us to keep up, it is perhaps alienating at first — but ultimately rewarding and rich. The final shot of Laura walking away from a glaring pair of headlights is either an awakening or an imprisonment, depending on whether you see that glass of water as half-full or half-empty. Look deeper and you’ll see this movie has soul to spare.

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