Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

I avoided seeing Gone Baby Gone. I can't see things about children being hurt or killed or anything anymore. I don't even like to see headlines about it. However, Disney was kind enough to send me an advanced copy of the DVD this weekend, with the request that I review the movie. So, I watched it. On DVD. At home. This is hard for me. I had to wait until my daughter was asleep so I could properly focus. Then I had do do some dishes, and tidy a little. Finally, I sat down to watch with a cup of tea. My daughter was coughing in the next room, and after five minutes I had to pause the movie to bring her some milk. She sounded terrible. I got her tucked in, and headed back out to the couch and started to watch again, although I was still half-listening for coughing. After some time passed, I got caught up in the movie.

This is a very interesting movie. At its base, it is a hard-boiled detective movie, with true twists and turns. It also is dark, with really rotten characters. Dennis Lehane has set up another morality play, like Mystic River, in which right and wrong flip around on each other, slippery like fish just pulled from the water. Patrick (Casey Affleck) quotes his priest, who gave him this scripture when he asked about getting to heaven when surrounded with so much evil in the world: followers of the Lord are sheep among wolves, and must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. He sees Amanda McCready as a sheep among wolves, and then tries to strike his balance between serpent and dove. His associate and girlfriend, Angie (Michelle Monaghan), doesn't want to get involved for the same reason I didn't watch the movie: she is scared of what she might see.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


The movie Juno, as most of you know by now, tells the story of a high school girl who gets pregnant and has to decide what to do about it. She is headstrong and independent and on her own finds a couple to adopt the child in the Penny Saver, after a discouraging flirtation with abortion.

Juno's abortion clinic scene is controversial, and in the controversy I have noticed a generational split. My mother was pissed about it, and a friend of the family said that movies like this and Knocked Up were "playing into the hands of the right wing." Maybe. But, as I explained to this friend of the family, these movies were made by people in my generation, who, as children, were cannon fodder in the culture wars of the 70's. We were the casualties of the perfect storm created by the twin risings of the sexual revolution and second wave feminism. Mom was reading Betty Friedan while Dad checked out Penthouse, and at some point one of them needed to find themselves and/or get laid. The next thing we knew, we were sitting down for a talk about how Mommy and Daddy still loved us, and still cared about each other, but they were going to be living in different places now. Thirty years later, we're making movies like Knocked Up and Juno, if not The Squid and The Whale. Can you blame us?