Friday, December 23, 2005

13 CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING

John Turturro 13 Conversations About One Thing movie Directed by Jill Sprecher
Starring John Turturro
Reviewed by Byron Merritt

UNDECIDED...

FILM REVIEW RATING: UNDECIDED...


What is the nature of happiness? Why are some people happier than others? Can someone truly be "happy" all the time? These questions are put to the movie-goer as director Jill Sprecher (CLOCKWATHERS, 1997 ) dumps us into the lives of four people: an insurance actuary played brilliantly by Alan Arkin, an attorney played by current film heart-throb Matthew McConaughey, a struggling housekeeper played by Clea Duvall, and a college teacher having an affair played by John Turturro).

The film’s premise is a promising one. And you might think that a film exploring happiness would be uplifting. This film is not that. Happiness is sometimes confrontational, sometimes life-altering, sometimes unattainable, and sometimes not what we think it is.

In the vein of LOVE ACTUALLY, this movie jumps us between the four sets of lives and ties them all together in a societal quagmire of misunderstanding, loss, acceptance, and the caring we are all capable of giving one another (this is pulled off quite well by Alan Arkin as he helps out a former employee whom he had to fire).

While
LOVE ACTUALLY pulled the stories together nicely and left the audience with a satisfactory conclusion, 13 CONVERSATIONS does not. The open-endedness of this movie will bother many people (I know it bugged me quite a bit), but it also gives a realistic look at the emotional weight we all carry around with us everyday; it’s always mutating, and there’s really no end to happiness’ changes. It just goes on and on and on. So 13 CONVERSATIONS doesn’t give any kind of closure either. And although I can see this as a strength of the film (i.e., leaning toward reality), many movie watchers don’t go and see films for that. They want to be transported to the unreal and be snuggly planted in that fairytale aspect of stories.

So if you don’t mind an open-ended film and like real-life aspects put on the screen, you’ll probably love this movie. But if you don’t like those things, stay away from this one for God’s sake!

No movie trailer availabel. Sooorrrry!

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