Friday, June 12, 2009

Rachel, Rachel (1968)

Rachel is a 35 year old school teacher who has no man in her life and lives with her mother. When a man from the big city returns and asks her out, she begins to have to make decisions about her life and where she wants it to go. [imdb]
Nominated for 4 Oscars:
Best Picture
Best Actress: Joanne Woodward
Best Supporting Actress: Estelle Parsons
Best Adapted Screenplay
This film was the directorial debut of Paul Newman (who in real life was Joanne Woodward's husband - for those not familiar with their bios). And it's a rather daring directing effort; however the Academy chose not to nominate him for Best Director - which caused quite a stir back then (because he had already won the Golden Globe AND the New York Film Critics Circle Award for this film); so it was considered a big snub.
Anyway, the film itself is not that good. I can see how it's ahead of its time, but if you dissect it you'll find that there's no real subject to it and, more damaging I would say, there's not really anything to love about it. I can respect the direction and Joanne's adequate (but not brilliant as some consider it) performance, but the leading character is such a mixed bag of emotions, and none that would really make you hope for her or at one point ever care about what happens.
I might be a bit too harsh on it. But it's slow, and not in that Ingmar Bergman good way. Estelle Parson's nominations is almost deserved; a win would've been absurd. I can see why some people would love this (rather impossible to find until this year) movie. They might fall for the artistic part. I myself was captivated by Rachel's daydreaming in the beginning, but too much of something is not always a good choice.
My rating for the film: 6/10. Maybe I could've went for less. I do terribly respect Newman's direction.

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