The achievement is big and bold and ambitious and life-affirming, but the sentimentality is always toughened by the continual sense of loss and deep sadness at the transitory nature of the human condition. If it sounds like an art movie, it absolutely is, but it's a four-quadrant art film!Or as director David Fincher might put it, a "four-quadrant rim job." That's a milestone, no doubt, but we'd missed an even earlier, spoiler-heavy read from a blogger who was less sanguine:
I wasn’t as moved by this film as I wanted to be. This was number one on my list of must-see holiday movies and I so wanted to be blown away but it just didn’t happen. This movie is a very ambitious effort—it looks gorgeous, there are some groundbreaking special effects and the rest of the cast also do excellent work but it’s the kind of movie you respect more than love. It’s like a piece of art that you look at and say, “It’s pretty,” but don’t necessarily want to bring home.And then came Spout's Karina Longworth, who honored every part of the embargo except for the part prohibiting slagging the visual effects. And then came the hater to whom The Playlist attributed an "emotional dud":
While they didn't think it was terrible, they did say the film wasn't the tearjerker we all heard it was supposed to be and was much more of an "emotional dud." They're reaction to it was lukewarm, but they also noted it was the kind of tepidness that the Academy loves. When we probed a little further and asked about its deeper Oscar hopes, the mention of Brad Pitt was practically laughed out of the room.NOOO! We needed him for our Oscar pool — even though the season's other big Paramount release (with DreamWorks), Revolutionary Road, is prompting lip-loosening hype itself on two sides of the Atlantic. Thompson again had an anonymous impression back on Oct. 29, citing a "very powerful two-hander for Leo and Kate. [...] You can sense the real-life bond that lets them really go for it, all defenses down." Modern classic, etc etc. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Wells's source in the UK agreed for the most part today:
"Only the ending felt a little unsure; otherwise, I feel Mendes has made serious progress as a director. A daring scene at the breakfast table is pulled off with virtuosity towards the end. I'll say no more than this. Much is demanded of the leads. [...] We're dealing with a lot of heightened emotion bordering on melodrama. But the actors cope well, although Kate Winslet, I feel, is more convincing than Leonardo DiCaprio.Great. We heard she might be in the running for some sort of honors this year. So! Thanks to everyone for contributing, and we'll see you on the studio blacklist!