I have quite the busy weekend ahead of me, and finding time to watch movies is going to be a challenge. I might be able to squeeze one in tonight, but Sunday simply isn't going to happen. And more than likely I won't be able to watch the Critics Choice Awards either. Alas, this is my plight.
But last night I did manage to squeeze in "Closet Monster," written and directed by Stephen Dunn, starring Connor Jessup (who was great in "American Crime," Aaron Abrams (who I loved in "Hannibal," here, in a very different role. And Isabella Rossellini, doing remarkable voice work as Buffy...the hamster.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, and to be completely honest I was led to it mostly excited to see Jessup in another LGBT role. Before I was sent the screener link I didn't even know Abrams and Rossellini were in the film.
I found this movie to be quite remarkable. It tells the story of Oscar Madly, who as a young child experiences two traumatic/life changing events, one which I will not spoil here and the other the disintegration of his parents' marriage. As a teenager, Oscar strives to be an on screen makeup artist, applying to one college in NYC that he hopes will deliver him from his small town life and all the wounds that come with it. Real, figurative and imagined (in some of the films best scenes, catapulted by Jessup's acting). Along the way he develops a crush on a co-worker, but what might be creepy, or on the other spectrum-coming of age-y--is incredibly fresh. For example, I've never seen a parent portrayed quite like Abrams plays Peter. Oscar describes him perfectly in a scene that shows their very dysfunctional relationship. Peter doesn't want to grow up in a sense, and Oscar wants to accelerate the process.
Dunn chooses not to divulge or explain exactly what happened in Oscar's childhood or why he talks to a hamster (although a revelation about Buffy is a highlight of the film. Catapulted by Rossellini. The film certainly wouldn't be the same without her and that incredible voice.) I would've liked a bit more of an explanation when it came to the ending. Or maybe less...a bit more of the abstract hand that was seen earlier might have given us a better finish, but I'm thinking a second viewing might solve that. I can't wait to see what Jessup does next. As well as Stephen Dunn.
The film will be released on January 10th.
NOW...let's chat a bit about the San Diego Film Critics nominations. I was sitting at my computer looking at my calendar fearing that I might not see "Nocturnal Animals." I fear that it might leave Memphis theaters this week and it may never come to Oxford. (Seriously, "Trolls," just GO!) But then I see it do so well with the San Diego critics, and I am reminded of some of those earlier notices from Venice. People love this movie. Even if Anne Thompson and Eric Kohn don't. (I listen to their podcast religiously and it sometimes sways me away from other voices out there.) It's going to be a must see for me next week.
Boston looks a bit more of the same. (It was interesting that Huppert was left off San Diego altogether, but wins Boston. I do think the Academy will go with her though.) It really seems like "Moonlight" is a serious contender for the win. But so did "The Social Network." I need to see "La La Land" people. I feel like I'm playing this game in the dark!