Sick Days Suck, but Movies Don’t

Being sick really sucks. I was feeling so optimistic last night after my day out and about. I was sure that I would have a productive day today, but alas, my body had other plans. I worry that working from home has weakened my immune system to the extent that every time I leave the house, I catch something. UGH. Moving on.

My boyfriend and I have been trying to make our way through a list of Oscar nominated movies before the ceremony at the end of February. Last night, BF and I watched two very different movies: “The Imitation Game” and “Nightcrawler.” Although they were both excellent, these movies couldn’t be more different. Admittedly, I hadn’t read or heard anything about these movies before watching them, but here’s my personal take.

I enjoyed “The Imitation Game” not only for the excellent acting (and casting!), but also for the masterful storytelling. Biopics can pose a challenge in film making, but this one will join the likes of “Ray” and “Capote” as an excellent work of art in addition to being biographically accurate. I particularly appreciated Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Alan Turing’s struggle not only with his homosexuality (illegal in England until 1967), but also with the role he played during WWII. Also, much like “Ray” and “Capote,” “The Imitation Game” addressed human rights issues with what I’ll call ‘soft advocacy.’ The film draws its audience in over the course of several hours, developing their attachment to the character of Alan Turing, then rips the rug out at the very end with the revelation of his suicide. Of course, suicide in and of itself is a complex issue, deserving of advocacy and attention as well. However, the film clearly aims to address only the LGBT rights issue, and I think it handles this issue with tact, and without feeling like it’s on a soap box.

“Nightcrawler” was decidedly a character study, executed to perfection by Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal is incredibly creepy, but it’s hard to pinpoint why at first. About half way through the movie, my boyfriend and I realized that he was using all the communication strategies they teach you in Business 101 – he was using them so well, however, that it was bizarre and creepy. The few times in the movie that he deviates, even slightly, from his mask-like politeness, his inhuman lack of empathy is chilling. At the outset, I joked that I thought the movie was a great treatise on why living in LA is a terrible idea, but really, it paints a rather ugly picture of living in the modern city. The secondary characters are manipulated into doing awful, immoral things by Gyllenhaal’s character, and as the film progresses, his sociopathic tendencies escalate to a fever pitch. This is a disturbing film that left me with a lingering unease, and a distaste for media and its role in crime.

Woof, that was a little dense. I guess being sick makes me solemn as well! I’m off to make more tea. To all a good night!

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