Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Review: Millenium Actress

What a great movie. Rented it from NetFlix and enjoyed it tremendously. It is clealy made for children, but the two adults who saw it last night would not know it. It has real comic relief, beautiful montages moving the story along, great "acting" and, a necessity for a great movie, a moving and well-paced plot.

The plot is pretty simplistic on its face value. An aged actress recounts her life to a man who has adores her for years and is now making a documentary about her ilfe. She is about to die, and relives her adventures and hearaches on screen, with the interiviewer and his assistant as voyeristic viewers. Well, they do get involved more than most observers would, but you have to see it for yourself.

It is an unusual movie for me to like. The dialog is not, by any means, clever or insightful. The story is common and after the first montage begins its pretty clear where it is going to end up. Nevertheless the sincerity of writing, the raw emotion and care shown by the characters are overwhelming. You get to live through 60 years of Japan's history with a remarcable "woman", and the format of segueing from movie to movie as a way to move the plot along was ingenious - like everything else that is brilliant iti s simple and effective.

A good movie or play, animated or not, makes you forget that it is the actors with prepared lines you are watching. It is even harder to do that iwth animated movies, but the "Mllenium Actress" succeeds admirably. Except for being impressed by some beautiful scenes you will not remember that this is an animated movie, or a movie for children. Like best examples of the genre it captures and moves you more than a cartoon for children has any right to.

Movie runs for a shade under 1 1/2 hours and makes for a great evening watching.


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