Snapshots - #35: Marshall, American Made, The Glass Castle

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The movies…
Marshall (♦♦♦♦): Black lawyer Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) is entrusted by the NCAAP to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) in Greenwich, CT, who has been accused of rape by his white employer. As Marshall is not allowed by the judge as legal counsel because he doesn't hold a CT license, he engages, reluctantly on both sides, the service of Jewish insurance lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), whom, with Marshall's help, will have to acquire criminal defense experience in a matter of months. But as the case is tried in court, it becomes evident that it is anything but cut and dry. Powerfully acted by Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, and Sterling K. Brown in the leading roles, Marshall treads a fine line between inspiring legal thriller and drama. On both counts it delivers in spades. Based on a true story, with race and bigotry fueling public opinion, before the apogee of the Civil Rights Movement, this accused black man is doomed from the start. A full century…

Black Swan (♦♦♦♦♦)

Nina (Natalie Portman), a classic ballet dancer, has been chosen as the Queen Swan, that is, to interpret both the White and Black Swans in the new production of Swan Lake. Nina is perfect in the role of the White Swan: she is fragile, shy, obsessed with getting all moves perfect, in short, a good girl…But, does she have what it takes to be a Black Swan? The interpretation of the Black Swan requires a display of raw emotions that are strange to Nina, but the rivalry with a fellow ballerina named Lilly (Mila Kunis), makes her explore the darkest recesses of her mind.

This is a WOW kind of movie. There was a strange atmosphere at the theater when this movie ended; typically the film ends and everyone runs out to the hall, but after this movie everyone stayed on their seats, not talking, just there. This movie is devastating in more ways than one; the ending is definitive, but is also the way Nina’s psyche spirals downwards. Music, pace, everything conspires in this film to play tricks on your mind. One is at risk to lose oneself in all the evil machinations of the Black Swan, just as it happens to Nina.

The movie is for a mature audience, and has to be seen with an open mind. It is going to be hard to beat Natalie Portman as Best Actress for this role. She simply has stepped up to another acting level.

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