Snapshots - #37: It, Breathe, Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House

It (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Four inseparable friends in middle school bond with other three newcomers. They all have in common that they are bullied by the same people. Over the course of one summer they'll fend off bullies and face a centuries-old demon in the form of a clown, named Pennywise, whom has been disappearing kids and terrorizing the town of Derry, Maine, every twenty-seven years since the town was founded.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same title, It is a movie with a smart script and a sympathetic ensemble of nerds that deliver light humor, and deep thrills. It doesn't hurt that each and every character has his or her own arc, thus one gets to know their motivations and fears before Pennywise enters head on into the picture.
In a nod to 1980s movie classics such as The Goonies, and the Brat Pack ensemble, the newest adaptation of It takes place at the end of that decade, when it seems, at least from the Hollywood perspective, that every kid harbored a genius insi…

Sylvia (♦♦♦♦)

American poet Sylvia Plath is studying in England. After a scathing review on one of her published poems she goes to a party and meets British poet Edward Hughes. Thus begins a tempestuous love affair that ends up in marriage. They move to America when Hughes wins a poetry award, while Sylvia takes a teaching job. Then the demands of family life start pressing on Sylvia for she suffers from jealousy and writer’s block while he becomes a celebrated poet.

Fearing he can’t write as well in the limelight, they go back to live in England but soon he starts attracting female attention for his work while Sylvia takes care of the children. A heated affair with an acquaintance of the couple leads Hughes to leave Sylvia. By then it’s virtually impossible to coexist with Sylvia’s fits.

Sylvia and Hughes love each other madly. They understand each other at a very intimate level, but they cannot live together. When Sylvia offers Hughes to come back home and he refuses, she takes her own life.

Sylvia is by far the best performance I’ve seen from Gwyneth Paltrow. She was brilliant in Proof, and very good in A Perfect Murder, but Sylvia plainly takes the cake for her acting abilities. In Sylvia, Gwyneth displays raw vulnerability, the haunting quality of those who walk a fine line between genius and madness. She excels in that role. Her on-screen chemistry with Daniel Craig is undeniable, so it’s like watching a Greek tragedy unfold before your very eyes. I intuited what was going to happen in the end, but watching it develop you feel that a woman like her, drowning in those powerful emotions, wasn’t going to have a happy ending.

By the time I saw Gwyneth in A Perfect Murder opposite Michael Douglas and Viggo Mortensen, I knew she was capable of very good acting and she was an actress to watch. Unfortunately, she has chosen a more commercial path—which I don’t criticize per se because it has made her immensely popular—with the Iron Man franchise. She brings balance and etiquette to Iron Man, but she should do serious work more often, work on the level of Sylvia and Proof.

Daniel Craig was the icing on Sylvia’s cake. He conveys strength in both his acting and his remarkable physical fitness so he was excellent as co-protagonist. Daniel Craig is also an example of a fine actor with a more commercial appeal, which I think it’s not necessarily bad, but it’s difficult to make a crossover to more serious work once the public is used to see you in certain roles.

In summary, Sylvia impressed me for both the topic and the quality of its acting. I would like to read the poetry of both Plath and Hughes to know the subjects a little better.