Posted by on January 25, 2007 in Film | 0 comments



There’s nothing quite like watching a disturbing film about child abuse at 8:30 in the morning. But because it was premiering at Sundance and I had been in line for it for two hours already, I was prepared. An American Crime is a chilling tale based on a true story about an overwhelmed, ill mother who mentally and physically abuses a child on her watch. The dark subject matter may not translate into box office success, but the performances alone are worth the discomfort and price of admission. Last year I wrote a blog lamenting the sight of Catherine Keener in big budget movies (The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Interpreter), because she seems a more natural fit and shines in independent film (Capote, Being John Malkovich, Your Friends & Neighbors). Watching An American Crime, I honestly could not think of any actresses other than Keener who could have pulled off such a controversial and gut-wrenching role. Her performance is Oscar worthy, and I hope the distribution deal reaches wider than just art-house theaters.  


Believe it or not, 19-year old actress Ellen Page has a more physically and emotionally arduous role than Keener in An American Crime, and this is hardly her first venture into scandalous territory (see: Hard Candy).  She is as talented onscreen as a young Jodie Foster or Reese Witherspoon. Keep your eye on this one; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.




ba•bel [bab-uhl]: 1. (usually lowercase) a scene of noise and confusion.


People who disliked Babel must not have ‘movie patience.’ It is a beautiful, compelling film that weaves in and out of four stories about the consequences of making poor decisions and the lack of communication. In my opinion, Babel deserves all of the accolades, although I am disappointed that Cate Blanchett was not nominated for Best Supporting Actress (she did garner a nod for Notes on a Scandal, however). Her role is small but pivotal; Blanchett is on my short list of those I would watch in absolutely anything (along with Bening, Linney, Streep & Winslet). And frankly, this is the first time I’ve ever been impressed by Brad Pitt. Misery, age and heartache seem to work for him now onscreen.


Although I did not let it affect how I felt about the film, seeing Babel happened to be the worst movie-going experience of my life.  To give you insight into my anger, I wrote a letter, borrowing a tactic from the very funny Jennifer Eolin, who writes letters to stupid people on her blog...


Dear Rude Lady Sitting Behind Me on Tuesday:


It was a weeknight. You could have saved yourself $20, stayed at home and talked out loud for as long as you liked. But no, you chose to come to the local theater to explain every scene to your husband. While I appreciated your attention to detail (i.e. when Brad Pitt had his wallet and you said ‘look, he has his wallet’), I was not thrilled with your running commentary. Not only did you ignore the many occasions when I whipped my head around to glare at you with evil stink-eye, but you whispered loudly throughout the entire 2.5 hours. Your husband was not wearing any hearing devices and was not a senior citizen, therefore you have absolutely no excuse for such disrespectful behavior.


You are worse than cell phones and frequent trips to the bathroom. Please do not attend movies anymore.


- Jo





Quite simply, this movie had a lot of potential and buzz at Sundance, but it fizzled out completely for me. The entire audience was left scratching their collective heads due to an abrupt ending with no plot points tied together whatsoever. I won’t go into too much detail because I seriously doubt that it will be coming to a theater near you.  





While at Sundance last weekend, we attended a brunch at the Queer Lounge, and had front row seats to view this wonderful short film from the UK. Private Life, which is a period piece about two working-class women in England who are forced to hide their relationship in 1952, was rewarded the Grand Prize at the 8th Annual PlanetOut Short Movie Awards.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>