Tuesday, May 27, 2008
You Sweep Things Under The Rug
My favorite movie about marriage is Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives, a brutal look at relationships written during his own troubled period with Mia Farrow. Mia, wife to many a powerful man before Woody, said most of it was lifted directly from their relationship which was convenient since they played a married couple in the film. When I watched it, I wondered how two people could be so honest about that which most of us try to hide and wondered if their relationship would survive it. (It didn't, although his affair with Mia's adopted daughter was probably the nail in that suffocating coffin). The line between art and life seemed so thin as to be a permeable membrane, one that oozed sadness and despair.
Sydney Pollack plays as Woody's friend in this film, husband to Judy Davis, a man going through a stereotypical mid-life crisis in which he dates a much younger woman only to go back to his wife when the intellectual gap became too apparent. He's brilliant in this role, a man who comes alive only to deaden himself again, this time with slightly more insight (you sweep things under the rug, he tells the camera and more importantly himself as a way of coping in his marriage). Any other actor in this part might have come off as a parody or buffoon, but Sydney P. brought such pain and humor to the role that it worked. Woody's movie marriage to Mia fails in large part because of his friend's affair that forces him to evaluate his own life, but Pollack returns home as Dorothy did to Kansas if Kansas were Manhattan, a disturbed ball-breaking wife, and an attitude of this is all there is. His wry smile says he's tired, but aren't we all, and at the end of the night, maybe what we know, we love.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The very reasons sometimes that you make a film are the reasons for its failure."
Drinking memoir suggestion: Afterglow Pauline Kael
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday! Rest in peace Sydney Pollack! (Brilliant in so many things, but especially wonderful in Husbands and Wives and his last turn as a doctor imprisoned for murdering his wife on The Sopranos.)