Heaven (2002) - Tom Tykwer
Tom Tykwer's Heaven is a film which I feel like I should have liked more than I actually did. Honestly, I am not entirely sure why I didn't like it more. I
think I just found it uneven. Going into the film I had no idea that Krzysztof Kieslowksi wrote the screenplay, but in retrospect there are certainly a lot of similarities to his work. Heaven is a film that examines fate and the complexities of morality, looking at deeply flawed human characters to do so. Cate Blanchett is really fantastic in this film as this deeply flawed woman who has to deal with the guilt of killing four individuals in a bombing--missing her actual target because of an unforeseen chance. While the film is full of great ideas and features some great moments of intimacy, I never felt as emotionally connected as I probably should have. The film is beautifully composed with Tykwer using an abundance of wide shots which I interpreted as a statement about how tiny the individual is in the scope of the universe. I guess I just had some trouble accepting Giovanni Ribisi's character decisions as they just felt unnatural, almost manufactured to drive the story forward. An interesting work for sure, but I couldn't help but wonder what Kieslowski would have done if he got the chance to direct it.
Abby, a forty-something married, lesbian housewife, lives a happy life with her partner Kate and their two children. While attending her son's baseball game, Abby suffers a blow to the head, inciting a change in Abby - her mounting desire for something different than her perfect, wealthy suburban existence. Working on a new design project, restoring a loft in Manhattan, Abby's pent-up libido loses all inhibitions as she begins a double life as a high end escort, letting her long dormant sexual desires run rampant. Stacie Passon's Concussion is a self-contained character study tackling a specific version of the mid-life crisis. Abby's concussion is simply a device to get the film going, a inciting incident that is barely referenced or important going forward that is simply used to develop this rich character study. Robin Weigert is remarkable as Abby, a character who is lost in her own existence, unable to truly feel free or alive in her life as a housewife and caregiver. Abby is a passionate individual whose pent up sexual desires have led her to lash out, having sexual relations with many different women, and where Concussion really succeeds is how it treats this character. Even though Abby's behavior is completely wrong, the film never views her as the sole problem, subtlety suggesting that her partner Kate whose career ambitions and intellectualism simply don't fit well with Abby's more sexual nature. Kate doesn't work particularly hard to make her partner happy, never willing to express herself in a way Abby can understand. Abby is a character stuck in her surroundings, trying and failing desperately to feel alive again - something that for Abby, sex can help accomplish. Concussion isn't a film that condones this type of behavior, it simply reminds the viewer that their are two sides to every relationship, reminding the viewer that both people can be responsible for a transgression like adultery.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.