THE ABSENCE OF a single conversation can steer a relationship off course and down an embankment towards rocky terrain. When someone says “they were afraid to tell their significant other” or do not want to say anything “because they won’t understand what I am saying anyway,” I want to give them a time out. I may understand why the person does not want to confront their partner but the bottom line for me is this: if you are in a committed relationship there should be no fear for one to express their feelings and thoughts. I had a friend who was afraid to tell her husband she was feeling lonely in their relationship. Her husband would go out with his friends to drink or play sports on a consistent basis. She would be left at home. Now granted she could have easily made plans with her friends, but for her it would not have solved the fundamental issue. The issue being she wanted to spend some down time with her husband after their busy work week schedules. WHEN I WITNESS couples not sharing their feelings with each other I fear they are laying down the groundwork for a life of miscommunication; that is if they choose to remain together for that long. More times than not this not talking to each other situation usually brings in to the relationship anger and resentment. In turn a game gets set up where one person does something they know will irritate their partner; then the partner returns the favor by doing something equally as irritating back. It becomes a vicious cycle that only places more negativity on the relationship. I find it sad and if given the opportunity to express my thoughts I will share them with the couple. Something I always recommend is therapy, to get an outside person involved to mediate and help the couple learn how to communicate their feelings to each other. I can see where the idea for this comedy came from regarding the issues facing the couples in this movie. LOOKING TO PROVE her theory about marriage researcher Vivian, played by Dolly Wells (Bridget Jones franchise, 45 Years), chose what she believed to be the perfect couples to participate in her documentary. Each couple had issues, maybe more than Vivian had bargained for. Starring writer and director Lake Bell (In a Word, No Strings Attached) as Alice, Ed Helms (Love the Coopers, Vacation) as Noah, Mary Steenburgen (The Proposal, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) as Cybil, Paul Reiser (Whiplash, Mad About You-TV) as Harvey and Amber Heard (The Danish Girl, Drive angry) as Fanny; this was a well chosen ensemble for this story. As I mentioned the idea for this story was sound in my opinion; but it did not always translate to the script. Where some scenes had humor and real life situations, others fell flat and were not realistic. It was as if there was more than one story going on at times which attributed to the loss of focus. I was periodically bored and never felt like I fully knew any of the characters. In the past I have enjoyed Lake Bell’s work and performances, but for this film the directing did not help in jumping from one couple’s story to another. I am afraid for a story about communication and marriage; this movie did not do a good job in proving its point. There was a brief extra scene during the beginning credits.
1 ¾ stars
Praise, what child does not want to hear it for something they did? From sliding down the big boys’ and girls’ slide to showing off their finished crayon coloring of their family’s house; giving approval is a vital element in a child’s development. Having recently been at a playground with two 4 year olds, I could see how my approving comments encouraged them to explore and figure out how to play with the assorted activities that were laid out around them. Praise from one’s family goes only so far as we grow up. Once children are of school age, one hopes they have teachers who can encourage and support any gifts or talents they see within their students. In my schooling the teachers I had went from one extreme to the other in regards to offering praise and encouragement. From starting out with a 7th grade teacher who told me I would amount to nothing if I continued believing I could be a writer to a college professor who pushed me to produce a written story for class each week; I can tell you with certainty that encouragement gave me the confidence I was lacking for so many years prior. PERFECTION was expected from each student in music instructor Fletcher’s, played by J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man franchise, The Closer-TV), jazz orchestra. All Andrew, played by Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now, Divergent), ever dreamed of was to be one of the great drummers of his time. His hopes jumped up after a chance meeting when Fletcher walked into the school’s practice room where Andrew was drumming. As high as Andrew’s hopes soared, they came crashing down around him on his first day practicing with the orchestra; Fletcher would not want it any other way. As intense as I found the movie Fury to be, this film festival winner had a similar type of intensity in it own way. First of all the acting was simply brilliant by J.K. and Miles; their scenes together were filled with deep, dark, raw emotion. All I will say is I felt their pain. The biggest surprise for me had to do with the writer and director Damien Chazelle (Grand Piano, The Last Exorcism Part II). Based on his film credits I would never have imagined he could create such an amazing piece of work here. Watching this musical drama was like doing a mini marathon; a constant pace filled with brief rest stops and continuous challenges. For me the terrific soundtrack was an added bonus that finished off this film perfectly. By the end of the movie I knew this would be an Oscar contender at next year’s Academy Awards.