Showy Performances (Film Thoughts: A Million Little Pieces/Before You Know It)

unnamed-6-scaledI remember the brouhaha about the authenticity if the novel ‘A Million Little Pieces’ by James Frey. In fact, I read the book and was invested in it at the time. I remember Oprah championing the book at the time and then interviewing Frey post scandal, and him confessing on her show. As a book, I felt it was very compelling – real or not – but nowadays, the story and the scandal would probably seem tame. So I was interested in the movie version of the book, even if I don’t really remember much about it now. The narrative of the film now feels very straightforward. There’s nothing shocking about it, and it looks and feels like your standard drug rehab biopic. Directed by Sam Taylor Johnson and starring her husband Aaron Taylor Johnson, the film isn’t bad, it just feels very ordinary, and perhaps I have seen better.  Taylor Johnson gives a showy star performance here, and in a less competitive year might even garner more notice.

34782803_saSpeaking of showy performances, Judith Light gives one in ‘Before You Know it,’ a film by Director Hannah Pearl Utt. I tend to like these films that are very New York-centric, focusing on lives of the city’s inhabitants. And Utt gives us interesting city characters, sisters who live with their father at an apartment above the theater. When the father dies, they discover that their mother is still alive, and is in fact a famous soap opera actress, and…well, you can just imagine where the story goes. The film is interesting enough for me, but it’s white=people problems will probably grow tiresome for others. Still, Judith Light lights up the film whenever she is on, and for most, that should be enough of a reason to watch.

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