I have seen Isabel Coixet’s ‘Elegy’ years ago and liked it so much then, which has fine performances from Ben Kingsley & Penelope Cruz, as far as I recollect. Here is another fine film from the same director and it’s indeed more beautiful one to ponder upon. The film has similiar screen chemistry of a young girl and middle aged man, although it’s absolutely different in context, plot and set up.
I have seen many women characters playing self closure limbo but the one played here by Sarah Polley is the one I would like to remember for a long. It’s complex character of a young hearing impaired woman, who throughout the film remains detached, distancing her emotions, views and personal life and prefer staying alone. As a part of her temporary job break, she started serving as a nurse to a severely burned middle age man in an oil rig in the middle of the sea. And as a spectator, I am as desperate and intrigue to know her as the patient she’s treating. Unlike other actresses, Polley doesn’t have beauty and charm to ensnare. She’s plain and simple but so expressive and effective; just like her character’s fixed pack of food - chicken, white rice and apple. And yet, she brought something so natural, intense and emotive portrayal of a tormented young girl who lost faith in humanity. And unlike other Hollywood actors of his time, Tim Robbins does not have personality, charm or style but then he has this knack of playing those fine and well nuanced understated acts and complex characters in most of his films. He wonderfully supported Polley as bed ridden, burnt and temporarily blind patient. The film has nothing extraordinary in terms of plot, form or story telling but then it’s indeed a film to note that how performances and characterization creates a strong resonance on screen hard to resist.
I need to thank my fb friend and senior cinephile Robert Regan for recommending and introducing such a fine film…will surely check other Polley films recommended by you.