While this perfectly acted drama (and sorta comedy?) absolutely approaches “oh, these poor privileged people” territory at times, even that gives us an opportunity to see just how much the towering system of uncoupling we have seems to be designed to breed as much contempt as possible between two people who maybe loved each other once.
My VHS cover pull-quote: I only just recently got married, but I really hope my divorce is as well-written as this one. Noah Baumbach won’t return me or my wife’s calls.
“Whatif all those things I did were the things that led me here?”
A journey of self-discovery as successful as the memoir on which it’s based thanks to the hyper-focused, personal narrative and a grounded performance by Reese Witherspoon, who is completely game for everything from selling the laborious journey of self-discovery to making everyone cringe when she rips off her prop toenail.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “Simon and Garfunkel’s El Condor Pasa features as a sort of theme of the film, reflecting Cheryl’s journey and feelings throughout, which would very much be an intelligent observation I made if I hadn’t read it in an article before seeing the movie so that I could sound smart to you and all my friends. In short, I’m a fraud.”
“…but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all.”
As good an ending as one could expect from the overlong, flawed, but — you know what? — still endearing trilogy of films. While it should have been a duology, what happened happened and this is what we have. So let’s all just chill out and hang with Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, an aggressively digital Billy Connolly and company.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “Lord of the what? Return of the who? Oh, right. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, the crowning achievement in a trilogy of crowning achievements. Yeah, this isn’t as good as that, but it isn’t terrible and Middle Earth is always a fun place to visit.”
“Tupac might be a political leader if he was alive, but then again, Tupac might be in a Tyler Perry movie right now. He might be the bad boyfriend in the Tyler Perry movie. I would hope he’s a senator, but he might be kicking Jill Scott down a flight of stairs.”
Captures the energy and substance of Chris Rock’s best stand up while adding the considerate and introspective eye Rock showed in his 2009 doc Good Hair.
My VHS cover pull quote: “I can’t come up with a top five of anything without spending twelve hours screaming in my head, but most everyone in this movie had their top five rappers immediately on hand. Perhaps I don’t know myself. Perhaps I am unknowable. Who am I?”