“We’ve gone to far in our story to say “the end.””
I did not expect the tremendous emotional impact of this film, and don’t anticipate that I’ll experience anything close to it for quite some time. It was akin to Tony Stark’s “I love you 3000” monologue, but for two and a half hours straight, tugging at the chordae tendineae (heart strings). I will divulge that this may be due, in large part, to the resonance the story had with that of the person writing this review. There were emotions that I thought were either long gone or successfully buried that came flooding back with this one. But that’s the beauty of the movies. They (literally) shine a light into darkness, and accompany us in approaching poignant topics. If you can cover the worry with wonder, then it’s no longer as daunting to face it. To process it. To conquer it.
Technically speaking, this film is to Spielberg’s filmography what “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is to Quentin Tarantino’s: The director at the absolute height of their powers, but with a wisdom that is missing in their former works. A bow, tying together everything we love about the respective director in their love, appreciation, and dedication to the craft. Similarly, they are both films that are also love letters to film itself, and shows why each is the veritable auteurs that they are. Finding solace in the hum of a projector as the silver screen is bathed in illuminated imagery and imagination. The distance between the lens and viewfinder their armor against whatever malevolent force they may be facing, or trying to avoid.
There’s a sense of sincerity in this film that you drown in as an audience member. Spielberg’s one of the best at showing, not telling, and this film is his best work in that department, alongside one of John Williams’s best scores, as it captures both the wonder and torture contained in the story. Despite what you may read in other reviews, the film is perfectly cast, as far as I’m concerned. Even Seth Rogen. Between this and “Long Shot,” he’s Oscar-worthy in my book any day. The characters are so human, the stories so messy, the themes complex. The overarching theme of the cost of success and the beauty that can be found in life’s messiness was so well done, I find it hard to critique. From the triumph of witnessing an audience admire a first showing of a film to the heartbreak of sitting alone in the sadness of fresh heartbreak… The relatability is off the charts, but not ham-handed. Before I gush too much more, it’s my movie of the year.