Antonia’s Line – 2 Stars (Average)
A disappointment for me. The postscript said “Winner of the 1995 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and many other prestigious international honors, Antonia’s Line is the remarkable story of a woman who builds a new life with her daughter in a quiet Dutch village after World War II. Earthy, sexy, romantic and filled with laughter and warmth, it’s a joyous, multi-generational celebration of simple pleasures and enduring passions.”
Shoot, sounded good to me, but it just did not live up to its billing. There is a dark side to this film that the postscript fails to observe or mention. Yes, there is some sex, some romance, some horrific moments, some tender moments, and some multi-generational moments.
There is also a daughter who wants (and gets) a baby but has no need of a husband and a father for her newborn (proving, I guess, that Hollywood was not the first to go here).
There are two brutal rapes of children (which, of course, adds to the wholesomeness of a wannabe family film). There is downright cruelty mixed in with all the fun and laughter. There is a cold-blooded murder.
But perhaps the most distressing issue is a total lack of spiritual development by anyone in this film, including a priest, who manages to have sex with a young girl in a confessional (no wonder Hollywood gave this film an Academy Award).
People in this film have no belief in God, they are simply passing time until their end time. Whatever your religious beliefs, having some spiritual development is a really good idea in this world, and it is possible to have spiritual development without practicing a religion.
In the Bible the word fool does not mean someone who is stupid, but rather someone who orders his or her life as if there is no God.
This would be a much more meaningful film if the person who wrote the script recognized the existence of a greater power than the passage of time, simple pleasures and enduring passions. I did not become a better person for seeing this film.
If you want to see a much better foreign film with subtitles than this Academy Award-winning film, try The Chorus (Les Chroistes in French), an absolutely superb film by first-time Director Christophe Barratier, which to my knowledge has won no awards whatsoever.
The Aviator – 2 Stars (Average)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Howard Hughes in a film that captures Hughes life from his arrival in Hollywood to the onset on his illness that forced him into seclusion for the rest of his life.
Hughes was a billionaire who also was a great visionary in the aviation field, and a movie maker of some note. His obsessive-compulsive disorder shortened his contribution to the world, but not his impact.
DeCaprio is nothing short of sensational in this acting assignment. He was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar but lost to Jamie Foxx in Ray, the story of Ray Charles. I have not seen Ray yet, but believe that DiCaprio could not have won the Oscar even if he did out act Foxx.
The reason is The Aviator has a tough beginning, and is not nearly as likeable film as a film about Ray Charles, who is loved by any who have heard his music and story.
The start of this film shows his mother planting the seed in his mind that he will never be safe from germs, which he buys into and it affects him the rest of his natural life. Cate Blanchett did win the Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Katharine Hepburn in the move.
The Aviator had 11 Oscar nominations and five wins, including Blanchett’s. Despite the performances by DiCaprio and Blanchett, I cannot give this film a 3 even though it is my intention to do so; the movie was simply too negative and too graphic in its presentation.
Copyright 2006 Ed Bagley
Read more of my movie reviews on action adventure films, including:
“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow
“Pirates of the Caribbean: “Dead Man’s Chest” with Johnny Depp as the perfect pirate
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” with Johnny Depp
“The Departed” with megastars Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon