Right off the bat, I loved this movie for a variety of reasons, until the last 10 minutes when the writer took an enormous shit in my face. If you want to see a good movie, watch this up to 1hr and 20min runtime.
*** SPOILERS ***
Not that it matters, really, because the “twist” in this movie is completely irrelevant. It’s not that I’ll be spoiling the mystery of the movie and thus making it pointless to watch, but rather you’d be stunned by it’s sheer stupidity that it would turn you off it. So be warned.
If you’ve followed my reviews and radio show for a while you’d pick up that I HATE film critics. You know, not “people who write critiques of films”, but THOSE PEOPLE who can find a flaw in the Mona Lisa itself, just to get mentioned in its wikipedia page. What infuriates me more is when I agree with a critic that a film is terrible, but for completely different reasons, and their reasons are just pure liquid cynicism. These self-important nobodies spent their time dishing out obscure words from the thesaurus to describe the main plot as trite and pretentious, and Edward Norton’s character’s description of holding his baby for the first time (“It wasn’t that I felt love, it was that I felt like I became love” ) as vomit-inducing. Frankly, if you watch this movie and have this response, there’s a 4-foot stick up your ass and you’re probably a spinster, like this nameless critic, incapable of transcendent emotion. Obscure and rosy wording can’t take away what the film accomplished.
This Was NOT Supposed to be Uplifting
I’m going to take a risk here and say the critical and user reviews missed the point of this film. Ian Freer of Empire Magazine said “Despite its quality cast and slick visuals, the result is sombre and saccharine rather than uplifting.” and is reflected by almost every other review made on Rotten Tomatos. To Mr. Freer I say “Of course it was sombre, it was about death, you fucking pillock!” And of course it was goofy and a little tacky, as a counterbalance to the morbidity.
As I watched this film come to a close and Howard (Smith’s character) didn’t “see the light” in time to save his share in the advertising firm I found myself wanting for a traditional Disney “Happily Ever After” ending. So I did something film critics are incapable of – I reflected, and I asked myself why. I asked myself if there really is a “Happily Ever After” and what would that look like. Howard gets his shit together, gets back to work, forgets about his loss, and bones that hottie who runs the support group? Return to being an obedient drone in corporate America and get back to breeding? Maybe that’s what everyone else was looking for and calls “uplifting”, but I call that disgusting and tired-out propaganda. What I call lifting is a spiritual transformation, and that’s what the film gave us.
The last 10 minutes of it was awful and ruined the entire thing for me, leaving me shouting aloud to the screen “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK”, several times – and not in the way one may have reacted to the twist in The Sixth Sense, but if one saw a middle-aged man expose himself to a playground full of children. It really should be a hanging offense.
In the last 10 minutes of the film it turns out the woman leading the grieving parents’ support group Howard was lurking around was his fucking wife all along! That, I was in the process of forgiving, but the film then smacks us around the head with an even more ridiculous proposition: the old lady in the hospital who had told the mother “don’t forget to notice the collateral beauty” turned out to be the actress Howard’s “friends” hired as Death to fuck with his head. Yeah, I get the clever connection, but fuck you too Allan Loeb (the writer).