Colossal (2017)

Colossal Movie Review

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Colossal Movie Review

Colossal is a 2017 fantasy thriller film directed by Nacho Vigalondo and starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. It is one of the year’s most underrated films.

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Hi. She’s the monster; I’m the robot

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Colossal Movie Review

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The film really should not be talked about in detail as the story is so unique that it should be experienced by everyone without spoilers. It is one of the most original films that I have ever seen and its offbeat nature just blew me away. It seemed like something anime would do and seeing it in an American film and realizing that it is not based on anything previously published or released makes all the difference. It is the proof that originality is still possible, even in this day and age.

It juggles its tones so well and it truly is very diverse in terms of the genres. I do not agree that it is a dark comedy, but it does have some of those elements. It also has some drama as well as really well realized horror elements. But it is at its core a fantasy thriller in my opinion. The film starts as a drama, then suddenly becomes a full-on fantasy and it afterwards introduces strong thriller elements with its villain. It is unlike anything I’ve seen before.

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Colossal Movie Review

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Of the highlights, I absolutely adored its ambiguous ending as well as the final fight which was so well thought out and with a great twist. The film has exceptional attention to detail and they truly did the most they could do with this premise. Some of the chases felt unrealistic and to me the film has a plot hole or two (why not call the police or at least retain the villain in some way), but those plot contrivances are to be expected of any crazy and original idea and most of the movie had no such problems.

Dan Stevens is good in the role, but this is the show between Jason Sudeikis and Anne Hathaway. Him I did not buy in this role as his comedic background was not perfect for a very dramatic, serious role. He is still good, just not great. But the character is so well written and memorable. Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, entirely stole the show here and delivered one of her best roles to date in such a phenomenal, really strong and heroic female role.

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Colossal Movie Review

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Colossal is so well made. The direction is good and the script is out of this world. Its attention to detail and its dialogue are both terrific and the movie is actually pretty smart. It actually explores two things really well. One is the nice guy facade which women do know a lot about and the other is a quest to beat alcoholism which is the main theme of the film. Every woman should see this movie in my opinion as its heroine is great and the troubles she faces should prove relatable to them.

The score is forgettable, but I did like its special effects. Humble, yet very well done and the two creatures correspond well to the two characters. I liked their designs quite a bit. The film can be surprisingly funny at times while also being genuinely dark at other times. It is always a riveting ride and truly one of the most underappreciated films of 2017.

With absolutely amazing and actually quite thematically rich script, excellent characters and a superb performance from Anne Hathaway in such an admirably heroic female role, Colossal is simply unlike any movie I’ve seen before. It juggles its tones and different genres so well to create a well thought out and incredibly offbeat story that is not only incredibly entertaining, but also very deep. It is one of the most underrated films of 2017.

My Rating – 4.5

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Rosetta (1999)

Rosetta Movie Review

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Rosetta Movie Review

Rosetta is a 1999 Belgian drama film directed by the Dardenne brothers. It is a quite good yet deeply flawed movie.

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Your name is Rosetta. My name is Rosetta. You found a job. I found a job.

You’ve got a friend. I’ve got a friend. You have a normal life. I have a normal life.

You won’t fall in a rut. I won’t fall in a rut. Good night. Good night

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Rosetta Movie Review

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As is usual for European movies, this is a very hard-hitting, serious drama and it is one of the worst of its type as its story is just so terrible. You have an adolescent girl who is basically homeless with a prostitute alcoholic mother and she moves from job to job in order to survive. The movie is very primal in its approach as the protagonist displays almost animalistic behavior as she would do anything to survive.

That was great and very unusual to see in a film. The film is thus tragic and should be seen by everyone so that we all realize how really happy and entitled we are. But Rosetta also never really became as truly tragic as it needed to have been as its protagonist is just so unrelatable and such a bad human being.

Yes, Rosetta herself lost me entirely with some of her actions. Ratting on her friend was not cool, but what was even worse is that she almost left him to drown in the river. I do not get why someone would do a thing like that and the movie truly lost me with that very unfortunate choice. I cannot possibly root for a main character like that, now can I?

Another thing that annoyed me is its camera work. It employs that annoying shaky cam in order to tell a story and I know that it thus differentiates itself from the other dramas of that time especially and it was somewhat suitable, but I still thoroughly dislike that approach and I disliked it here as well.

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Rosetta Movie Review

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Rosetta is well acted for sure and Emilie Dequenne did a really good job in such an unfortunate role to play. I liked the movie’s approach with less dialogue and more details and it felt sometimes that we truly were following her quest for survival. The dance scene was also quite nice. It is such a shame how the movie treated Riquet as he was such a nice guy.

Rosetta is an engaging and hard-hitting but deeply flawed drama. It is well directed and acted, it is important to see and the almost animalistic behavior of its protagonist was interesting to see. But the film lost me with Rosetta herself who is such a downright terrible human being and had she been more likable, the movie would have been much more tragic.

My Rating – 3.5

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Eraserhead (1977)

Eraserhead Movie Review

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Eraserhead Movie Review

Eraserhead is a 1977 weird movie directed by David Lynch and it is one of his most famous films. And yes, it is weird and that is what defines it.

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In heaven, everything is fine

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Eraserhead Movie Review

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I strongly disliked this movie. Everything in it was very annoying and unlikable. It is weird in a negative sense. The story concerns a man who fears parenthood and has nightmares regarding the disfigured baby. And this could have been good, but it is executed poorly and it becomes a disgusting and awfully gross to watch.

The direction from Lynch is pretentious. This movie is as pretentious as they come. The imagery and visuals are the only good points here. And the effects are of course great. But all those technical aspects don’t help much when they created this very unlikable and disgusting world.

The character development in Eraserhead is non-existent. All of the characters are poorly developed and also highly unsympathetic. The acting is nothing to write home about too. Everything in this movie is barely touched upon and underdeveloped. And the running time is also incredibly short, but it may be a good thing here because of the bad quality. I really wanted it to end as quickly as possible how boring, stupid and unlikable it was.

The only good thing here are the technical aspects, of which the cinematography is the highlight. The director really has a knack for black-and-white cinematography and it suits his imagery and sentiment the best.

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Eraserhead Movie Review

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Eraserhead is, it has to be mentioned, boring as it can be. There are many prolonged and dragged sequences that don’t add much to the already short film and those are just tedious and indescribably dull. The whole movie is boring despite its running time which is really saying something.

This is probably his worst film and it is pronounced usually as one of his best which is insane having in mind how ‘The Elephant Man’ has everything this movie doesn’t have a bit and it is a shame to see how he made such a bad film before that classic. And it just adds to show how 1977 is such an incredibly weak year in film. So weak with just a handful of classics.

With a bunch of boring and awfully extended sequences, non-existent character development, so-so acting, many disgusting scenes and with a lack of heart or point to it, Eraserhead is an overrated and definitely a bad film which is visually good and it has great cinematography, but that’s just it. Everything else is highly annoying and unlikable leading to what is probably the director’s worst film.

My Rating – 2

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Gandhi (1982)

Gandhi Movie Review

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Gandhi Movie Review

Gandhi is a 1982 historical biographical film about India’s leader Mohandas Gandhi, it is directed by Richard Attenborough and it won Best Picture in 1983.

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The only devils in the world are those

running around in our own hearts,

and that is where all our battles ought to be fought

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Gandhi Movie Review

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This is the film that, like ‘Chariots of Fire’ the year before, won Best Picture and did not deserve that at all. This is the story that is of course important and always relevant, but the major problem I have with it is of course the extended running time. There is no need for 3 hours here and it highlights how the movies that win Oscars are usually very long which is super frustrating and needless. It starts off great but it quickly gets boring, repetitive and simply tiresome.

The character development is weak here, except for the main character understandably, not one of them stands out. And the direction and of course the editing and pacing are incredibly troublesome. As is the plot development and characterization.

But, why I think that, unlike ‘Chariots of Fire’, Gandhi is nonetheless not a mediocre movie? Well, largely of course due to incredible Ben Kingsley who is masterful in the role, he literally embodied and became the man. And all of the performances are good. I especially liked the character development of Gandhi in that he is not portrayed as a God-like figure, but a human with his troubles and problems and that is crucial to his character’s success along with of course Kingsley’s powerhouse performance. Also, the first act with about 40 minutes or so is absolutely excellent and very engaging and well done. It is interesting to watch and an incredible history lesson and an origin to the movement. It is unfortunate that it all went downhill afterwards when it clearly started off incredibly strong with a lot to offer. The movie turned out definitely disappointing because it had a lot of potential.

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Gandhi Movie Review

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The first act is very good and the character development of the lead character is superb along with a powerhouse performance from Ben Kingsley, but Gandhi nevertheless ends up being an incredibly disappointing and troublesome film because the editing and pacing are problematic due to unnecessarily long running time, the film is incredibly boring and tedious afterwards and it all just went downhill after the first half which is a real shame because it could have been a great film. It is all a solid and watchable fare, but very flawed and problematic nevertheless.

My Rating – 3

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Chariots of Fire (1981)

Chariots of Fire Movie Review

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Chariots of Fire Movie Review

Chariots of Fire is a 1981 sports drama film and Best Picture winner for the year.

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If I can’t win, I won’t run

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Chariots of Fire Movie Review

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This film is incredibly mediocre, I have to be honest. And boring as it can be. This is why the Oscars are a big joke. This film actually won Best Picture. That is ridiculous. In an incredibly weak year for movies and 1981 is definitely one of the weakest, Chariots of Fire is one of the most forgettable as well.

The story is simplistic, clichéd and everything you would expect from an Oscar bait. It consists of boring dialogues and even more tedious running. I literally wanted to fall asleep because it was dreadfully dull from start to finish.

The characters don’t help. They are so one dimensional and so thin and flat that you do not care for any one of them. The same can be said for acting which is nothing to write home about.

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Chariots of Fire Movie Review

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As for the technical side, it is the only saving grace here. The direction, the cinematography are all okay, but the score is of course iconic with a theme that is not only catchy and easily recognizable, but also one of the most memorable and finest scores ever in a film. I wish a better and worthy film would have gotten this treatment with this superb soundtrack.

With boring and flat characters, uninspired and weak story, awfully boring and dreadfully dull tone and overall bad approach, Chariots of Fire is a joke of a Best Picture winner and one of the worst ever to win the ‘coveted’ award. It is solidly made and the score is absolutely terrific with an extraordinary theme, but everything else in this movie falls apart, it is tedious to watch and it is one of the most overrated films of the eighties that proves how incredibly weak dramas were in this decade.

My Rating – 2.5

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Anna Christie (1930)

Anna Christie Movie Review

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Anna Christie Movie Review

Anna Christie is a 1930 Pre-Code drama film directed by Clarence Brown and starring Greta Garbo and Marie Dressler. It is a flawed, but good movie.

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Give me a whisky, ginger ale on the side.

And don’t be stingy, baby

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Anna Christie Movie Review

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Greta Garbo – an actress who continues to have different effects on me. Sometimes I love her and sometimes I find her performances over-the-top. This is unfortunately the latter case. As her first talkie, the film was definitely very popular mostly because audiences wanted to hear her speak for the first time. And her transition was rough. She is lovely as usual and very memorable here, but more often than not, her delivery was overly theatrical and suited more for silent movies.

Marie Dressler, on the other hand, is a total revelation for me. This is the first time I’m seeing her in a movie and I fell in love with her immediately. She steals every scene she is in and is much better than both Garbo and George F. Marion who also delivered a middling performance. Her performance is very down to earth and realistic and she gave life to such a funny character whom I really liked.

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Anna Christie Movie Review

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She is an interesting character as she is a former prostitute and now a drunk. It is obviously a Pre-Code movie as it shows deglamorized, ruined people which was refreshing to see. Her banter with Chris is absolutely fantastic and so funny whereas her relationship with Anna is sweet and I wanted more scenes from her.

But Anna is also a memorable protagonist and I really liked her building relationship with her father. Charles Bickford is okay in the role, but I could have gone with no Matt Burke here as the addition of a love interest was just not all that necessary as we already had a pretty strong, rich drama just with these three people.

Anna Christie is very weakly directed by Clarence Brown and the film looks static for the majority of its running time. But I do not fault the director and the cinematographer all too much because this was typical for the early year of sound films. A much bigger problem is the second half which just wasn’t as investing as the first half was albeit it does have a great scene where Anna confesses about her troubled past. She is a strong female character for sure.

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Anna Christie Movie Review

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The dialogue is very good and it is probably the highlight of the entire film. Its first act with just the prolonged conversations between its characters was mesmerizing and the highlights are those scenes as well as Garbo’s arrival which was quite unforgettable.

Marie Dressler is a revelation in Anna Christie as she is so funny and she steals every scene she’s in whereas Greta Garbo is memorable, but her transition from silent movies to talkies was frankly a bit rough as her performance here is too theatrical. The movie itself is much less interesting in its second half, but much funnier and more memorable in the first half. It has its moving scenes and very well developed characters but a static approach leading to a good, but flawed film.

My Rating – 4

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The Last Emperor (1987)

The Last Emperor Movie Review

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The Last Emperor Movie Review

The Last Emperor is a 1987 biographical film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and it won nine Academy Awards including Best Picture.

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This isn’t a school; it’s a prison. A real prison

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The Last Emperor Movie Review

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This is another 1980s Best Picture winner that not only did not deserve the honor, but it also is not a good film, rather a mediocre one. It is better than ‘Chariots of Fire’, but it is worse than ‘Gandhi’.  This is another not so much relevant story that spans decades and that is told in three hour long running time which is again totally unnecessary.

The characters are forgettable and the acting is literally nothing to write home about. But the tone and pacing is so slow and the movie is definitely incredibly boring and dreadfully uninteresting. I literally almost fell asleep watching it. Nothing ever happens, nothing interesting or mildly intriguing and that is why it was a total waste of time.

Granted, the technical aspects are solid here. The cinematography is good, but the production design is of course excellent and quite remarkable as is the costume design. However, the direction and of course the editing is pretty mediocre and does not stand out.

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The Last Emperor Movie Review

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This movie is not only overlong and tedious, but also too incredibly old-fashioned and dated in its approach which is just too casual and straightforward. There is no energy or investment shown here, not to mention that the character development is awfully weak and the emotions are not present at all. The message and point here also escaped me leaving me to the conclusion that this a cold, pointless movie without a doubt.

The Last Emperor has good production and costume design, but great technical aspects do not make movies good. The story is boring, the tone is tedious, the character development is literally non-existent, the emotional investment is definitely lacking, the running time is expectedly overblown, the direction and acting are nothing to write home about and the film lacks any message, point, emotion and energy in its execution whatsoever. It is again a testament to how bad Academy’s choices were in this decade leading to what is arguably an overrated, overlong and dreadfully uninteresting movie that is best to be forgotten.

My Rating – 3

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Out of Africa (1985)

Out of Africa Movie Review

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Out of Africa Movie Review

Out of Africa is a 1985 Oscar-winning period drama film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in the lead roles.

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Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round

so that we would not see too far down the road

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Out of Africa Movie Review

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This movie is again all the same as with ‘Chariots of Fire’, an overhyped and awarded film when it actually didn’t deserve any of the awards. The story is so typical, standard and without any lack of charm, passion or energy in its awful execution and direction. Everything moves at awfully slow pace with weak editing and it is never ever interesting or engaging to watch.

The characters are so-so and the acting is fine, but both of the actors have given much better performances. They never do anything spectacular here that would earn them nominations. Plus Streep is incredibly annoying with her fake and overly theatrical Danish accent. And unfortunately the movie did not know to make use of its setting as well. There are some interesting sequences with the lions, but unfortunately they never used Africa as much as they should have.

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Out of Africa Movie Review

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The movie has good technical aspects, there is no doubt about that. The cinematography is absolutely splendid as is the costume design and of course the beautiful scenery. Also the score is quite remarkable with a very beautiful music throughout the whole film that evokes natural imagery in the head. Unfortunately, all the technicalities are spent on this mediocre story and boring characters when in reality it did not deserve this treatment which again draws comparisons to ‘Chariots of Fire’. I have to compare the two constantly because I cannot emphasize enough how the Academy screwed this entire decade. And yes, the dramas were incredibly weak in the eighties but there are still those that deserved it a lot more than such films like these two. It is a shame that they chose them as winners and I think that they have definitely been regretting those decisions ever since.

Out of Africa has magnificent cinematography, beautiful music and great scenery, but it is in the end a very mediocre film thanks to a boring story, tedious characters, annoying Streep’s accent and a lack of any energy and charm in its execution and direction. Consequently, it did not deserve Best Picture, it did not deserve any of its nominations besides the technical ones and it nowadays has the critics ratings it deserved to have at the very first place because it really is a mediocre film.

My Rating – 2.5

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Earth (1930)

Earth Movie Review

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Earth Movie Review

Earth is a Russian film directed by Alexander Dovzhenko about the process of collectivization.

The plot and theme of the film is interesting but it is unfortunately very poorly executed mostly because it is rather contrived both in its beginning and its ending. It just starts and it just ends. Its running time is incredibly short and it should have been longer but it doesn’t matter because this short movie also managed to be incredibly tedious and not engaging or thought-provoking at all which given its great subject matter is such a shame.

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Earth Movie Review

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The characters are the biggest problem for Earth. They are all underdeveloped and emotionally distant never letting you connect to them or know them on any level. Also the movie has technical aspects which are pretty standard and even mediocre at times. The score is solid as is the acting and the cinematography is really good, but the editing is not remarkable and the directing should have been better. There is some striking imagery here but it is lost in the film’s cold and very weak approach which never lets you connect, it never uses its plot in any meaningful way and it never quite explains what is going on at any moment leaving you to try to figure out for yourself.

This is one of the most overrated and weakest Soviet films of the period, a movie so frustratingly problematic and flawed that it really started to get on my nerves. It has some striking and powerful moments similar to ‘Battleship Potemkin’ but unlike that masterpiece, it never achieves that status because as a whole it is quite poor and failing to reach its potential.

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Earth Movie Review

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With problematic editing, troublesome directing, awfully short running time, tedious and unrealized story, Earth is one of the most overrated as well as the most frustrating Soviet films. It has a solid score, great cinematography and fine acting, but everything else is underused, it fails to make use of its promising subject matter and it is overall an incredibly flawed and boring movie which fails miserably when compared to other Classic Soviet films of the era.

My Rating – 3

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Only Yesterday (1991)

Only Yesterday Movie Review

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Only Yesterday Movie Review

Only Yesterday is a 1991 anime drama film directed by Isao Takahata which is Studio Ghibli’s fifth movie. It is one of their most underrated and very best.

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There is always a tomorrow

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Only Yesterday Movie Review

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The story is so strong. I am not usually a fan of this framing device where we jump from present to past, but this use of flashbacks is so strong that it complements the movie instead of hurting it. Critics have pointed out the strong adult approach that is present in Only Yesterday and that is definitely the case here. It is intended for women, but could be enjoyed by men as well. But it is mostly for adults as its story is very mature and deep.

We follow a 27-year-old woman as she journeys to the countryside and meanwhile reminisces about her 10-year-old self. This is not just your regular reminiscing, but it is important as she thus grows more as an adult and realizes her past and present mistakes. She is somewhat lost as an adult and she wants to fix that.

What I loved about it the most is its portrayal of childhood. Now there are a lot of movies about this subject matter, but this is easily one of the best of its type because it shows so truthfully how everything seemed better and more magical during childhood, but it also shows us that some of the problems and traumas faced during childhood are never really forgotten and they shape you as a human being. Incredibly powerful stuff.

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Only Yesterday Movie Review

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And I loved her romance with Toshio, so well done. I rooted for them to end up together and it is implied that they did which was wonderful. Their conversations were just so wonderful and realistic that they were easily the highlights here in terms of the dialogue. Toshio is a great character and Taeka just might be my favorite Ghibli heroine or at least in the top two or three. She is beautifully developed and always grounded in reality as she is never portrayed as too good, especially as a child and I appreciated that.

Other characters aren’t as memorable but they definitely help shape her experiences as an adult and as a child. Toshio’s family does have some great moments with her as they pressure her into dating Toshio which was such a realistically depicted scene. Taeka’s mother is also superbly realized, caring, yet also careless at times towards her. The same goes for her sister. And of course I liked all of her classmates and especially her love interest.

The scene where the two share their first conversation is just beautiful to witness. It wonderfully showcases the power and innocence of childhood love. All of the scenes between Taeka and Toshio were of course the other highlights. I loved the scenes with hitting puberty and the period talk is something you rarely see in animation and is greatly portrayed here. And her math problem led to such a great and relatable scene to me personally.

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Only Yesterday Movie Review

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But there is no denying the power of the last sequence. I just adored that ending and it is in fact one of my favorite Studio Ghibli scenes ever. There you see the need for the animated medium as this is a drama and not a fantasy but there it employs its flashback approach by bringing the kids on the screen together with her and facing her with her former self. That moment was just poetic and deep that I felt it emotionally. The fact that probably my favorite song ever The Rose was playing during the scene only heightened the emotion for me. It is the truly touching pinnacle of this entire mature and relatable drama.

Only Yesterday is beautifully animated. Now it isn’t on the level of some previous Ghibli classics such as ‘My Neighbor Totoro’, but it is still incredibly strong. The film portrays its characters realistically as they are not overly pretty and perfect. The imagery is gorgeous and the attention to detail is once again overwhelming.

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Only Yesterday Movie Review

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The film showcases the importance of country life and especially farm producing and I just loved that. This studio has always been the proponent of living in the country, but this movie takes that to the next level as it also shows us the importance of working and how producing plants can be beneficial to not just your health but also emotionally as you help grow a living thing. The relationship between humans and nature is so well emphasized here and it shows us how the two can co-exist peacefully and productively.

The score is again terrific and not just in the ending, but also in its use of Hungarian and Romanian folk music as that somehow transcends and perfectly fits the country scenes. It is so well edited and directed and a further proof why I love Isao Takahata so much as he truly directs his movies stupendously and his Ghibli films are my favorites.

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Only Yesterday Movie Review

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Only Yesterday isn’t perfect as I thought that some scenes weren’t as compelling as the rest and the film needed more humor in my opinion as it was overly serious, but it truly is one of Studio Ghibli’s finest outings and definitely near the top of the list for me. It is an underrated film that should be appreciated by more people and now that it finally came out in the USA, I am glad to see that start to happen. Also, it is easily one of the best that the very weak year of 1991 has to offer.

Only Yesterday is one of the very best that Studio Ghibli has to offer thanks to again gorgeous animation, a truly phenomenal score, excellent character development and a rich story. Its framing device is put to some great use, the film flows so well, it is beautifully directed by always great Isao Takahata and it is so emotional, relatable and ultimately deep in its very mature story. The highlight is the ending which deeply touched me with its song choice, imagery and strong emotion.

My Rating – 4.5

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