Mid-Day Mini ~ Plenty

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The Facts:

Synopsis: A young Englishwoman spends 20 years to make whatever kind of life for herself at the expense of others around her in post-World War II England.

Stars: Meryl Streep, Sam Neill, Charles Dance, Tracey Ullman, Sting, Ian McKellan

Director: Fred Schepsi

Rated: R

Running Length: 121 minutes

TMMM Score: (6/10)

Review:   Here’s a curious character study drama that was adapted from the stage play its author, David Hare (The Hours, The Reader).  Already a two-time Oscar winner racking up a strong streak of films (and coming off of the undervalued Falling in Love), Streep is strangely subdued here playing a former resistance fighter that has to adjust to life after wartime.  The film has a real dreamlike quality to it and though the work among the actors is strong, it’s an aloof affair that made it a tough one to really get involved with.

The movie has a lot of layers to it, compounded by Hare’s revised script that expanded upon certain relationships previously unexplored on stage.  Director Schepsi relies on the strength of his actors to maneuver through a middle act that sags a bit but succeeds in a strong opening and closing to the piece.

Along with Streep (who, even subdued, is mesmerizing) there’s commendable work by Neill, Dance, McKellan, and Ullman.  Ullman and Streep formed a nice bond onscreen and off and it’s nice to see Ullman in this type of role as she’s primarily known for her comedic work. 

The overall experience of Plenty may not be enough to warrant a second viewing but for Streep completists interested in her early evolving body of work it’s worth a look.  Her next film would be Out of Africa and I tend to look at this film and Falling in Love to be a bridge between the types of performances Streep gave in Silkwood and would give in Out of Africa.

The Silver Bullet ~ Disconnect

disconnect

Synopsis: A drama centered on a group of people searching for human connections in today’s wired world.

Release Date: April 12, 2013

Thoughts: As our reliance on technology grows, so our connectivity with living and breathing beings seems to be waning.  The upcoming ensemble drama Disconnect seeks to explore the emergence of how much of our lives are spent on the internet and how intertwined we’ve become with the online world.  From cyber bullying to identify theft to “catfish”ing someone, the internet has become a place for people to lose themselves.  These types of films are always very interesting…especially when they are centered around a central theme as timely as this one.