The Venetian (Film Thoughts: Alex Of Venice)

indexNowadays, we find ourselves looking at where we are, and we find it isn’t what it used to be. For me, that is the underlying theme of “Alex In Venice,” a wistful whisper of a film. It’s the story of Alex, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead who is left by her husband and is left to fend for her father and her young son, while struggling to juggle her career. The film is directed by Chris Messina (who is probably famous for his television role in ‘The Mindy Kaling Project’) The movie is a love letter to a Los Angeles of old, specifically the city of Venice. It looks at the city in beige Instagram-filtered tones, romanticizing it. There’s not much more to the movie, which goes more for character study than plot. Winstead plays a good game, but for me she is the weak link, lacking depth and maturity for the role. When she has her breakdown scene, it didn’t shake me at all. But Don Johnson, who plays her father: an aging actor who is experiencing beginning signs of Alzheimer, gives the warmest performance of his career. His character is experiencing the effects of mortality, and in a sstrange way we are too, in Don Johnson’s eyes. In the scene where he is auditioning for a role in Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’ when the director asks him if he would take the elder man’s role, I couldn’t help but see a parallel – here is Mr. Johnson, the heartthrob of yesterday, essaying a role of an older man. (I had to check IMDB for Mr. Johnson’s age, and I was shocked to find out he is 65 years old) For me, he carries the heart of the film, and gives this lightweight film a little more weight.

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