The Dreamy and Erotic Relationship in ‘The Lover’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

The ‘dreamy’ look is the cinematography that filmmakers such as Sofia Coppola and Bernardo Bertolucci have adopted and incorporated consistently throughout their films. This look is hard to summarize but in a word it would be ‘ethereal’ and usually the central or reoccuring theme of those films is ‘love’ and can be used to capture the feeling of love or falling in love.

These types of films, such as Call Me By Your Name or Her, have been successful in using this but none have ever accomplished it quite like Jean-Jacques Annaud’s 1992 film The Lover.

Set in the beautiful landscape of 1920’s Saigon, Vietnam, a young French girl (Jane March) from a broken, loveless home begins an affair with a wealthy Chinese bachelor (Tony Kai Fai Leung). Separated by class and race, they struggle to find acceptance amongst their families as The Chinaman (yes, that is his name) is arranged to traditionally marry a Chinese woman and The Young Girl’s family mocks the affair and call her a whore for her provocative behavior.

So they spend their days in a “Bachelor’s Suite” in the slums of Vietnam where they are hidden away from the European and Eastern societies.

We see these two worlds meshing together through the cinematography, which Robert Fraisse was nominated for at The 65th Academy Awards in 1993. The French/European elements play out more in the romantic scenes where it gives off a fragility with the lack of contrast while the Asian/Eastern elements appear in moments of stress and during their love scenes where the contrast of the Saigon sunlight reflecting off of their bare bodies and the dark, humid room create intimacy.

Though very different, it accomplished combining these two lovely and rich cultures/influences in a romantic way; which is what the story is about. We know what their love felt like because of the surreal way it was shown to us. We also gather the state of their own relationship and what exactly it meant to them both. In the case of The Chinaman, he was completely enamoured with The Young Girl while she convinced him and herself that she had no real feelings for him and was just using him for his money. No love and commitment, just lust and materialism.

The Young Girl, in the end, is finally able to come to terms with her immense love for The Chinaman and the two go on living apart for the rest of their days.

The darker contrasts are all in her perspective and are used for lustful scenes while the lighter, no contrast look belongs to his perspective where the scenes are more amorous and “rose-colored” than hers. Their relationship knows no middle ground therefore the cinematography knows no middle ground. They both exist individually while somehow remaining in a relationship with each other.

The Lover uncovers the inner journey of accepting love while also giving it. The bond between the two characters is not only sensual but sensitive and goes without saying that it is one of the most visually appealing films and one of the saddest love stories ever told.

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‘Heathers’: F*ck Me Gently With A Chainsaw

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

It’s time for another Time Warp Tuesday, folks! This time we’ve got the brilliance of the 1988 cult classic, Heathers.

That’s right, I’m talking the iconic original teen bitch dark comedy that has influenced more movies than Meryl Streep has acted in. That’s a lot, if you weren’t aware.

Heathers is basically one of the best movies any teen could watch and I highly recommend. It’s absolutely not one of good influence, but it’s a fun one. A movie from the 80s doesn’t get a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes for being “alright”.

First of all, we have the stunning Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer and all the talent that that beautiful woman delivers. Following her we have Christian Slater as JD, Veronica’s insane – no, like literally insane – love interest who likes explosives a little more than a person should.

Beyond that we have the beautiful title characters Heather Chandler, Heather McNamara, and Heather Duke played by Kim Walker, Lisanne Falk, and Shannen Doherty, respectively.

One of my favorite parts about this classic other than the unforgettable quotes (check the title real quick because that’s a quote) was the fact that there was not a single weak actor in this cast. They all had talents beyond their ages and their wasn’t anyone I got bored watching.

More than that was the stunning color pallete that this movie crew decided would fit best for the Heathers respective personality – head bitch Heather was red, Duke was green, and McNamara was yellow. The decision to have them visually separated added to the memorable scenes and ability to see a group of friends that were very clearly on different pedestals.

Heathers went on to influence such movies as Mean Girls, Clueless, Jawbreakers, and dozens of others. I don’t blame them, if I were a filmmaker I’d want to follow the footsteps of this cult phenomenon, too.

Aside from all the praise, Heathers unfortunately did not have – just kidding, trying to find reasons to not like this movie is next to impossible. Obviously, I love Heathers. I think it just did so much right and cultivated a culture. Even if nowadays the subject matter is a lot more touchy, Heathers is still appealing to everyone who wants a dark teen girl trope comedy.

Hit Me!: 15 Years of ‘Thirteen’ and It’s Defiant Youth

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

It’s been 15 years since we were introduced to the gritty and hardcore coming of age film, Thirteen, and it hasn’t aged a bit.

Although the 2003 story gives off a very early 2000’s vibes with the clothing and music, teenagers Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Evie (Nikki Reed) still mirror the youth of today. Tracy, the straight A student, befriends the rebellious Evie in hopes of becoming popular. With this friendship comes the destruction of Tracy’s image, morals, and family as she begins to steal, use drugs, and act violent.

What makes this relevant to adolescence today is that it’s real. Written by a 13 year old Nikki Reed, Thirteen was based on her own drug addicted, promiscuous life, which provides massive insight into an actual teenager’s experiences.

Teen addiction is and was a massive problem and the effects are obviously damaging but this film shows the downward spiral of it all. Tracy went from being a friendly, hardworking student and daughter to a raging, mentally unstable teen. She self harms through cutting and having her friend beat her up. Tracy’s fast life with esometimes older boys ruins her relationships with everyone around including Evie.

Near the end of the film, we see her secrets revealed to her mother in a betrayal from Evie and a mental breakdown from Tracy. She’s darker and more disturbed. Inside she’s broken and her outrageous actions are a cry for help even when her behavior gives off a different story.

Reed knew exactly what we wanted to see in a coming of age film which was the other side of the teenage experience. One that is raw, chaotic and goes unnoticed or ignored by society. There’s a dark side to everything and Thirteen exposes it while showing the real humanity behind it.

‘The Room’: The Best Worst Movie Ever

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Therese Gardner

The Room is infamous for many reasons. Its strange origins, how absolutely terrible it is, and the cult following it has developed.

The man, the myth, the legend, Tommy Wiseau, wrote, directed, and starred in this film. Even those closest to him are unsure how he got the money to make this film which cost roughly $6 million to make which, if you’ve seen it, is quite hard to believe.

But Wiseau’s money isn’t the only thing that’s mysterious about him. For the longest time no one knew exactly how old he was, but after a quick internet search it seems we may have finally settled on 63. People also aren’t sure exactly where he’s from as he used to claim he was from New Orleans, but his accent told a different story.

The mystique surrounding Wiseau and The Room was a large contributor to its cult following. However, that isn’t the only factor. It also helps that it’s so bad that it makes you actually want to watch it. While most bad movies make you want to turn them off, The Room somehow has you coming back for more.

Although not very popular at the time of its release in 2003, it has now grown to cult status with regular midnight showings across the country that Wiseau himself will often show up to and sign stuff for fans.

The intrigue surrounding this film even sparked a movie, The Disaster Artist, which stars James Franco and is based off the book by Greg Sestero who co-starred in The Room. The Disaster Artist gives a detailed look into how this strange film came to be.

All in all, The Room definitely made an impression on the film community. It’s hard to pinpoint what about it makes it so watchable despite how bad it is, but to be so widely talked about 15 years after its release is quite impressive for any movie. Especially for one known as the worst movie ever made.

 

‘The Notebook’: A Tale of Unconditional, Everlasting Love

By Therese Gardner, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Based on a novel written by Nicholas Sparks, one of the world’s most beloved romance storytellers, The Notebook has easily become a timeless story of young love. The lovers are named Allie Nelson and Noah Calhoun. As young lovers they are played by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. As older lovers, they are played by Gena Rowlands and James Garner. The story intercuts between the same couple at two different points in their lives: passionate teenagers at the brink of the rest of their lives, and then as older people fading away in the midst of getting older and her dealing with Alzheimer’s.

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Directed by Nick Cassavetes, the story is narrated by an older Noah (James Garner) as he tells a story from his notebook of two people who fell madly in love. He reads the story to a fellow patient at a nursing home who has forgotten most memories as a result of the onset of Alzheimer’s.

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A classic love tale of a poor boy and a rich girl falling in love against all odds. Allie is a rich kid, spending the summer at her family’s mansion in North Carolina while Noah is a local poor boy working at a sawmill to support himself and his father. He’s a hardworking, smart, poetic teenage boy working to figure things out for himself with the support of his father.

 

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Noah (Ryan Gosling) notices Allie (Rachel McAdams) while at a summer carnival and, so their summer love affair begins. The two spend many moments together dancing in the streets, running through the woods, and experiencing the heat of the summer alongside one another. All appears to be going in their favor, until Allie returns home one evening with Noah in hand. Allie’s parents disapprove of Noah immediately and forbid her from seeing him again. Allie chases after Noah, as he’s leaving her parent’s house where an argument ensues and the two break up. The following morning, Allie’s mother, Anne, suddenly announces the family is leaving South Carolina. So, Allie tries to find Noah to tell him the news. When she can’t find him, she asks one of his best friends, Fin, to tell Noah that she loves him. After Noah receives the message, he returns to her home to find she is nowhere to be found.

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As a result, Noah writes to Allie every day for 365 days, but Allie’s mother, Anne, hides all the letters such that Allie never sees them. Noah enlists with Fin to fight in World War II, where Fin is killed in battle. Allie volunteers in a hospital for wounded soldiers where she meets a captain. The two fall in love, and after a couple of years of dating, the two get engaged with full support from her parents, as he is young and has money. Shortly after, Noah returns home from the war to buy the abandoned house him and Allie found long ago. While in town, Noah happens to be walking by a restaurant where he sees Allie kissing Lon.  

Noah convinces himself that if he renovates the house, Allie will return to him. Allie sees a picture of Noah in the newspaper alongside the house and decides to take a trip to Seabrook to find Noah living in the house. The two rekindle their relationship, until Anne shows up to warn Allie that Lon has followed her. Anne recounts her love for a young man from her teenage years that she still thinks of and, in doing so, finally gives Allie the letters that Noah had written. Allie confesses to Lon, and decides that she belongs with Noah and so returns to the home.

It is then revealed that the patient from the beginning of the movie, is Allie and that Duke is Noah. Allie had told Duke at the onset of her illness to continue to reread their journals to help her remember their past memories together. Noah suffers a heart attack while Allie is sedated after having a panic attack. Noah visits Allie in the middle of the night, and both Noah and Allie pass away holding each other while sleeping.

An emotionally, yet romantic movie that many are attracted to, as they can place themselves into the story and live out its emotion. A timely reflection of the power of a deep, everlasting love. Noah’s commitment and love transcends the emotional and physical grief caused by Allie’s Alzheimer’s – his unconditional love for Allie sustains them.  

‘Remember Me’: 2010 Was Unnecessarily Depressing

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

In the daunting midst of the Twilight saga, Robert Pattinson stars as Tyler in Remember Me, the unnecessarily tragic story of a New Yorker in 2001.

It follows both him and a girl named Ally (Emilie de Ravin) as they develop a classic movie cliché relationship with plenty of issues and heartache. Half of this heartache is because of the detached relationship Tyler has with his father (played by Pierce Brosnan).

I chose this movie for this week’s Time Warp Tuesday because not only did I watch it yesterday, I also wanted to cover a Pattinson movie that wasn’t Twilight that had some impact. That impact being that not every movie has to be a tragedy to be good. Why I chose the one that has a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, I couldn’t tell you.

The acting in this wasn’t anywhere near magical, but it was certainly cute. Sometimes what you need is a good cliché love story, no matter if the movie is outstanding or not.

That wasn’t all this movie was, though. It was a disastrous tragedy that didn’t need to happen. As hard as it is not to spoil the ending, I won’t. But all it proved was that some movies that have the ability to be good can stay good without having to be heartbreaking.

Remember Me is nowhere near a perfect movie. In fact, it’s not even considered a good movie by any aspect. Regardless, it taught everyone a lesson that’s made a movie after it. Thank God for that.

‘Something Borrowed’: An Affair

By Therese Gardner, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Based on the novel by Emily Giffin, of the same name, Something Borrowed, is a romantic comedy that follows Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) as she begins an affair with her best friend’s, soon-to-be husband, Dex (Colin Egglesfield). While it is a stereotypical and predictable rom-com where the protagonist accidentally falls in love with her best friend’s fiance, it still is an all-time favorite of mine.

At the beginning of the film after having had too many drinks while celebrating her thirtieth birthday, Rachel grabs a cab with Dex where they head to another bar for some more drinks and she unintentionally reveals the crush she had on him throughout law school. As the night progresses, the two end up going back to her apartment together and, as the saying goes, the rest becomes history. Except, this time, it’s actually just the beginning of an extremely complicated and heartbreaking narrative.

The following morning, Rachel and Dex are both startled awake to Darcy calling both of their phones. Dex rushes out before Rachel answers the phone and they are able to discuss what happened the night before. Rachel thinks her encounter with Dex was only a one night stand, but is not long before it develops into something much more – an affair.

As their affair continues, Dex and Rachel begin telling a thread of lies to Darcy and friends in order to cover up their secret relationship. Rachel does so by telling Darcy she’s having an affair with their shared friend, Ethan (John Krasinski) and Marcus (Steve Howey). Rachel and Dex spend as much time together, as circumstances will allow, until the wedding nears and they start seeing each other less. Rachel begs Dex to call of the wedding, so the two of them can be together, but Dex refuses. The morning of the wedding Rachel finds Dex at her doorstep and announces that him and Darcy have called of the wedding.

Initially, Rachel is over the moon until Darcy shows up at her door to talk and realizes that Dex was there all along, and Rachel was the other woman. Darcy is furious with Rachel, and the two seemingly never talk again until two months later when they run into each other on the street.

Although there is not much to take away from this film, hence why I have provided a brief synopsis, Something Borrowed is a lighthearted rom-com that is perfect for a girls night in. Just grab a box of chocolates, a drink of choice, and relax.