I have a bit of a thing for British period pieces lately. Can't get enough of those delightful accents and topsy-turvy sensibilities. Quills fits the bill anyway, and in between squirming with the discomfort and gasping with the melodrama, I rather enjoyed it.
Geoffrey Rush is just amazing, as usual. Actors that would be prepared to throw themselves into a role like the Marquis de Sade are rare creatures, and Rush certainly throws himself in. This man has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to make his character real. I just think he's awesome; an inspirational performance for me - mainly because of the rawness of it. An aging, almost-defeated, desperate man, literally laid bare and opened up for all to see. And yet at the same time, reserving some of the man's spirit for private - there were, I thought, still secrets in the Marquis' heart. I was genuinely inspired by that incredible baring of a soul.
And Joaquin Phoenix is fast moving up my favourite-actors list too. He's beautiful in this - a gorgeous young priest, so sure of himself... and yet, not. Love, mercy, anger, lust, confusion, heartbreak; all find themselves naturally and perfectly at home on Phoenix's (rather beautiful) features.
Kate Winslet was great too, I guess. Nothing struck me as spectacular about her performance, but the character was believable and accessable, so I guess that's what counts. (Why is it, I wonder, I find it so much easier to appreciate male actors' performances than females'? There's a question to delve into one day...)
Anyway, I liked it. In fact I would've watched it again a few days later but the disc (a rental) refused to work a 2nd time. (What do people do with DVDs when they rent them? Clean them with sandpaper? Be careful, people!)
I think, maybe, this is my new favourite film. (For the moment, anyway. I admit my favourites change fairly regularly.)
For a stunning, perfectly directed, suberb ensemble performance, you just can't go past Chocolat. Not one actor or element lets it down. Judi Dench, Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin, Johnny Depp, Alfred Molina... and a beautiful boy named Aurelien Koenig (yes, I just love the name).
It's a beautifully simple story (mysterious travellers blow into town, disturbing the peace and creating upheaval, eventually bringing new joy and quashing the stifling norms of yesterday), shot in a beautiful place, with beautiful people - what more could you want?
I'd be waffling for hours to mention all the things I love about it.
The best line, and the best ever Johnny Depp line It just has to have been a Johnny impro. I know it doesn't translate well to type, but hey, you'll have to see it:
(with a mouthful of chocolate, looking Binoche up and down as she walks away from him) "I'll come round later, get that squeak out of your door" (cue the Depp Cheeky Grin)
One last comment; I'm rather taken with the "red shoes" motif. (Binoche's character wears striking red high-heels which are featured quite prominently, and at one stage her daughter, Anouk, cries "why can't you wear black shoes like all the other mothers?") Those red shoes really caught my eye, as more than a clever artistic motif.
I want to be one of life's red-shoe-wearers. Who cares what the black-shoe wearers think. :)