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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oranges and Sunshine and Margin Call both put this Cinephile in Movie-Watching Bliss

Two movie recommendations are always  a good thing. Oranges and Sunshine navigates its way through a difficult subject in an engaging, never over-the-top way, probably because the name Loach is involved - not Ken but his son Jim. It's the true story of a social worker in England who stumbled upon the history of the deporting of children to Australia. These were children who were taken away from their parents, often illegally; some were sent to awful places in Australia where they were mistreated. Now adults, they want to know who they are. A great cast tiptoes its way through this horrific episode, without abuses ever being seen. The acting is top-notch - led by Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving (who was wonderful in Uncle Vanya at Kennedy Center this summer) and especially David Wenham (a new face for me, he handles his difficult role with a revengeful glee). I was moved by the film.

Margin Call reminded me a little bit of Glengarry Glen Ross, but without all the steroids, and last year's highly underrated Company Men without the tinge of blue collar. The scene shifts from real estate to financial trading, but all the drama of men in an office (and getting fired) remains.  Kevin Spacey plays a role that Tommie Lee Jones excelled at in Company Men: the older boss who has seen it all but isn't calling the shots anymore. Stanley Tucci departs from his happy husband to strong women role to beautifully underplay his fired analyst part here. Demi Moore is also ably on hand to show her legs and let her hair down a bit. And like Hickey in The Iceman Cometh, we are heralded to the "Man" making an entrance, and that man is Jeremy Irons. Irons and Kevin Spacey in a well-written scene puts a cinephile such as myself in film heaven. It's a very good film.

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