Ah, this is terrible. I totally meant to move on from film at this point and into other pop culture terrain, but I can’t help it! Here’s the thing. I LOVE Leo…not surprising as a child of the 90s Growing Pains, Gilbert Grape thing. But, for real. And, I’m now grown up enough to be skeptical of his twists, especially since he really just attaches himself to directors he thinks are good vs. scripts that are good for him. Fine line there, and I’m one of the few who can see it, but I do. So, anyway.
I meant to see this film three times before now. The first time, I was on my way to the theatre and told that my partner’s mother had cancer, so…we didn’t go. The next time, I was on my way to the theatre and was in a car accident. The third time, I tried to rent it and the disc was messed up. If I try to see a film three times and some higher power seems to think this is not a good idea three times, I give up and say it wasn’t meant to be.
But tonight, I finally watched this film and I can say, it was brilliant. I know that Hollywood has undertaken the OCD kind of character a lot, but this was SO real. The thing I really enjoyed about the film was that, despite the whole history behind it, the OCD issue was kind of downplayed. Which really, if you watch it, it doesn’t seem like it’s downplayed. But I enjoyed the tension between the OCD and reality – that the best moments of an OCD persons’ life are when they are ON with other people, but the majority of those around them don’t know what’s going on underneath.
So, although this is YEARS late – I feel bad that Leo didn’t take the Oscar for this role. I saw Foxx in Ray, and I thought it was good, but not THIS good. Which is sort of a change I guess in how we expect media bio-pics to be…Foxx was good at being Ray – the exact replica of an image we have seen in a variety of forums, but Leo was creative in bringing something to Hughes that made it REAL beyond the media pictures. There’s a book (Speaking Into the Air by John Durham Peters) that interrogates the notion of “speaking to the dead” – that media, in a way, have made it possible for us to live/relive the experiences of those long gone, ghosts in a sense, in ways that make it relevant and timely for ourselves. I think about that theory a lot when watching this kind of film, because my impulse is to ask “is this real?” – did Hughes really go through this? – as opposed to “how am I supposed to understand this person?” – which is a creative question, rather than a realistic question. And it makes me sad that we ultimately rewarded the actor with the closest representation to the original rather than the one who pulled something from the original and made it into something creative and translatable.