In recent weeks I’ve entered hitherto foreign territory with the popular platform Netflix. Up until now we’ve been immersed in its vast array of small screen series, keeping Leigh and myself mightily entertained. But, some recent house/dog sits have freed up my time to venture elsewhere and spread my wings. As a result I’ve come away with a long list of movies from it, as well as, to a lesser extent, from Stan. The former, though, houses the first two viewed – very different, but both worth of the time spent with them.
Paul Giamatti’s Richard and Kathryn Hahn’s Rachel are in relationship hell. It’s not that they don’t love each other, but any sort of enjoyment from sex has disappeared long ago. For this forty-something couple its sole purpose is to produce a longed for offspring – but the usual means is not working. Finally, other solutions are sought and we are taken into a warts and all look at the world of IVF, adoption and surrogacy. Eventually there’s a giving young relative, Sadie (Kayli Carter), willing to lend a hand, or her body.
‘Private Life’ takes us to the nitty gritty of the often heartbreaking decisions that have to be made in the pursuit of the goal of mother/fatherhood. When all seems out of reach in this film that pulls no punches, suddenly a ray of hope emerges – but will that too be snuffed out? It’s all passion killing stuff treated with no airbrushing whatsoever. Paul G is superb in his demanding role, Kathryn Hahn simply brave, I would have thought, beyond the call.
There’s a no doubt deliberate drabness to the tone of this film – one that does not detract from its quality, but seems wholly fitting. Director/writer Tamara Jenkins underwent fertility treatment herself and her first hand experience shows. It’s engrossing viewing as our ever-hopeful pair try so hard to be positive when all the signs point to failure.
Little drabness, though, in the offering from sunny Argentina that was huge in its homeland, largely for all the wrong reasons. The on-set affair between ‘The Red Thread’s’ two leading protagonists outraged a nation, but sure bought the punters, in their droves, to the megaplexes.
There is an ancient belief that there is an invisible scarlet thread (thus the English title) that people, who are meant to be together, in this case vinter Manuel (Benjamín Vicuña) and air-hostess Abril (María Eugenia Suárez) will eventually be. The duo make contact over Amy Winehouse and then a flight to Colombia. A customs mix-up see the pair separated, preventing any possible continuation of an obvious mutual attraction and they go their separate ways. She weds a rock star; he successfully raises a family and quality vines.
Then the thread comes into play and a chance meeting at a resort location sees them reunited and how; lustily forgetting any consideration of the supposedly loved-ones back home. Perhaps it should have happened years before, but what now for our love struck pair?
Both leads are appealing to the eye, although the movie brings little new to the theme of attraction lost and regained in in awkward circumstances. There’s obvious chemistry between the pair which, as it turns out, resulted in an ugly confrontation during film making between Vicuña’s then wife and Suárez. The pair are now together. The film is not as testing to watch as ‘Private Life’ if some light relief is the order of the day.
Be aware that both movies display a fair amount of nudity and sexual activity and of the two, the first is the stand out. Also viewed, but of lesser quality were ‘The Devil’s Mistress’ (Goebbels takes a lover) and ‘A Spanish Affair2’ (definitely helps to be Spanish and know regional idiosyncrasies). Still, if my list is anything to go by, there would seem to be some fruitful movie watching from Netflix to last me quite a while.
Trailer for ‘Private Life’ = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1orjA9Z8g4
Trailer for ‘The Red Thread’ = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1pQeMaCV7E