The two movies we talk about this week are ones that I didn’t find particularly well done. They have their elements, but as a whole they are pretty weak. Nevertheless, we must still talk about them and their chances in the Awards Season:
“Truth”: (Find in next week’s issue)
One of two big journalism movies to hit theaters this season (the other being “Spotlight”, also in this week’s issue, but will be discussed next week), Truth is a movie that exudes a bias towards those telling the story. It follows the events surrounding the controversial report from 60 Minutes in 2004 that questioned Bush’s military record. Like a good journalism movie, it raises questions; unlike a good journalism movie, it casts a scolding blame.
Since the movie is based on the book written by Mary Mapes, who produced the the broadcast that featured the report (and was fired following an investigation) there is a clear bias against CBS. This is where the movie suffers most, and it will probably cost it all of its credit during the awards season. However, Cate Blanchett is the saving grace in the film, giving the audience a great performance despite the film being so poorly written in terms of supporting characters. So Cate might just be the only thing the movie has going for it, though she is already making waves for her role in Carol, so she might be nominated for that over this.
It is always tough when a movie tells a heartbreaking, true story that reflects modern times but fails to craft it better than just a message. “Suffragette”’s downfall is that it focuses too much on what it is trying to tell the audience, rather than how it’s told. Carey Mulligan gives another great performance (though her performance in “Far From the Madding Crowd” should net her a nom instead of this one), but the writing for the characters, as the movie comes to an end, simply brushes off all of the events that happened to them.
Most of the characters (save for Meryl Streep’s extremely brief cameo as Emmeline Pankhurst, the real-life leader of the movement), are amalgams of other real women. This can probably explain the lack of closure, but since the movie builds such likable characters, it’s pretty disappointing that there is little to no closure to be had. The film might just end up being nominated—it’s received fairly positive reviews, and the Academy messed up so bad last year in terms of diversity in both gender and race, that they might try to make up for it—though a pity vote might not cut it.
That about does it for this week, if I were to recommend one movie it would probably be “Suffragette” over “Truth” because of its importance in terms of women’s rights and how far the movement has come, and how we still need to support it with all of our effort.
Coming soon…”Spotlight” and “Spectre”
Scott Johnson is a senior Film Studies and Journalism double major. You can follow him on Twitter @scott7893 and find more of his reviews at RagingFilm.com