Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

29 July 2006

Two More Movie Reviews Because I Have No Furniture and I'm Almost Done Packing

Body Heat is pretty standard neo-noir fare and I liked it a lot. It's a Lawrence Kasdan film (go figure) from 1981. Body Heat was recommended to me recently by my friend Linda and then, randomly, my friend Jai started a class all about neo-noir and this film was one of her first assignments. The planets, it appeared to me, had aligned and I needed to watch this movie. In the madness of moving, I just got to the movie a couple of days ago. Body Heat is a really good erotic thriller set in Florida during an out-of-control heat wave. It is mostly based on the mid-1940's Billy Wilder film Double Indemnity and has a lot of its plot points and twists with two really important exceptions. First, the male body (in this case a gorgeous but milquetoast William Hurt) is as glorified as the female (a smoldering Kathleen Turner.) This would, of course, have been unheard-of in the 1940's, but it works well in this film, further feminizing and subverting the normal dominance of the masculine in films of this type. Second, the femme fatale wins out in the end, getting everything she ever wished for and besting all of the men in the movie. Great performances all around: Richard Crenna and Ted Danson do great supporting work. Kim Zimmer (!) shows up in a brief cameo and is stunningly beautiful. Body Heat also features a really cool performance by a young Mickey Rourke that I really appreciated. By the way, this movie is hot. I feel I should mention that. Everyone sweats all the time during the film, soaking their shirts and covering their bodies in moisture. At one point Kathleen Turner and William Hurt recline in a bathtub full of ice water, so hot is this film. John Barry's music creates the ambience perfectly. All in all an excellent homage (with a twist) to the film noir of yesterday.

Imagine Me & You, though terribly titled, is an utterly adorable romantic comedy. It's the story of perfect couple Heck & Rach (Matthew Goode of Match Point & Piper Perabo of Coyote Ugly) and their newly married life. This relationship of theirs is thrown for a loop when all of a sudden and out of nowhere, Rach falls in love with their florist for the wedding, whose name is Luce and who is a self-sufficient, a-little-bit-lonely lesbian woman. Luce is an awesome character, impossible not to love and I can't blame Piper Perabo for falling in love with her instantly. Trouble must ensue, though, obviously. Rach just got married, her husband adores her, etc. etc. But Imagine Me & You handles every bit of this struggle beautifully. Matthew Goode is absolutely adorable, the girls' relationship is totally cute, completely believable, and the film feels honest through and through. Its meditations on love are poignant, fascinating and beautiful. The importance of love in our lives is forefront in this film and the important question it seems to be asking is not one similar to the question in epic love stories like Brokeback Mountain (What are the consequences of denying true love?) but a different one, more concerned with what true love really is. This is a romantic comedy, not an epic tale of love, so I probably shouldn't have compared them, but Imagine Me & You's question is interesting as well. The film begs the character not to settle for a happiness that is only partial. It's a film about taking a leap into the unknown and toward crazy-love, the at-first-sight kind, where you don't know hardly anything about the person. Luce says early on that true love is always love at first sight: "I think you know immediately. As soon as your eyes... Then everything that happens from then on just proves that you have been right in that first moment. When you suddenly realize that you were incomplete and now you are whole." It's beautiful. There are probably ten more really sweet things just like this in the movie. I loved it. The gay romantic comedy is usually such a lame, trite affair, but this one is superb. Rent it. Even if you aren't a lesbian.