Yes, this is a very good film that handles a difficult subject sensitively, but…
Everyone’s saying Brie Larson will get the Best Actress Oscar but I hope it isn’t churlish to suggest this might just be because of what her character endures rather than the actual performance, in much the same way they’re saying Leo Di Caprio is a lay-down misere for Best Actor because of the hardships he endured during filming of Revenant. It’s almost as if Hollywood gets so emotionally involved in its creations it can’t distinguish reality from fantasy any more and feels it has to compensate the actors for the sufferings of their characters.
Also, call me old-fashioned but I’m sure when Jack’s grandmother offered to cut his waist-length hair, she probably would have mentioned to him that boys in the outside world wore their hair short. We are still allowed to say ‘boy’ without apologising for its heteronormative bias, aren’t we? In any case, grandma would have, I’m sure.
And when he said his hair represented his ‘strong’ I’m sure she would have corrected this to ‘strength’. (Or she should have.) He must have got this usage from his mother, who presumably told him the story of Sampson and Delilah. Surely she would have said his hair ‘made Sampson strong’ or ‘gave him his strength’. I doubt she would have made a point of inculcating in him this twee speech affectation that uses adjectives as nouns for no good reason.
We naturally feel powerful sympathy for Joy and Jack, and hope like hell that their escape plan works. However, if the filmmakers had wanted to ensure we were 100% on their side, perhaps they should have left out the scene where Jack screams rudely at his mother – and she lets him get away with it. If he’d been my son, I WOULD have locked him up in a dark room for that.
That said, this churl is going to say the film is suspenseful and moving where it’s not marred by a leetle too much sentimentality, the bane of many American movies.
This review was first published to Facebook on 18.2.16