Opening Up Love (Movie Thoughts: Permission)

permiMaybe because Valentine’s Day is coming up that I have been watching relationship-centric films.  I guess ‘Permission’ falls under that category, although I think it’s anti-romantic. This film, directed by Brian Crano is about two people in a relationship, Anna (Rebecca Hall) and Glen (Dan Stevens) and they decide to ‘open’ this relationship because they sort of feel that they have missed out on dating other people – or so they thought as well. It’s kind of a terrible set up, and you just know things will just end in tears. But before we get anywhere, we get to see both of them date other people.

I thought the premise was kind of uninteresting, to be honest, and I wasn’t too interested, and as a matter of fact, had to start and stop watching the film a couple of times. But I got into the groove fairly shortly, mostly thanks to the great acting of both Hall and Stevens here. They both add layers to things that are unspoken here, whether those are intentional or not, and they make the characters more dimensional. They share equal time with a gay couple who are also evaluating their relationship when one of them hints at wanting to have children. There are a couple of surprises here that I mostly did not expect, but I do kind of wonder if I should really watch a kind-of cynical film before Hearts Day. Perhaps I needed it.

Sights On and Off (Movie Thoughts: The Ticket)

large_dXUODgA4Gxr8vn2BIpH7irhfWGDI don’t think I mentioned Dan Stevens when I wrote about ‘Beauty And The Beast’ but I thought his Beast was pretty good – he was able to convey what is good and attractive about the beast even with the mask. He is equally good in ‘The Ticket,’ as James, a blind man who suddenly recovers his sight. Stevens goes through all the changes in the character with ease, and is effective as the character peels more layers so we can see its true colors. I don’t think I ever saw Stevens before both films. I know he was in Downton Abbey, but believe it or not, I have only seen half an episode of that show. So for me, Stevens is a big nice revelation.

If only I liked this film as much as his performance here. It’s heavy handed with the message, but it’s one we have all heard before, and we can all see coming a mile away. I wish James was written as a fuller character – it’s obviously complex but there are a lot of gray there, and try as Stevens might to shed some light, we still are left in the mostly dark. If there is any reason to see this, it would only be to see Stevens, as I predict he is going to be a big big star.