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Non-Review Review: The Apartment

The Apartment is a classic romantic comedy, and deservedly so. Reuniting director Billy Wilder with actor Jack Lemmon, it’s a wonderfully dysfunctional look at life in the big city, and the compromises the people find themselves forced into. While I think the movie probably works better as a romantic drama than as a comedy – with some outstanding moments of bleakness, including a serious suicide attempt and another false alarm towards the end – Wilder and Lemmon do an exceptional job keeping the movie just light enough that the darker elements don’t overwhelm the film. It is a piece of cinematic history, and one that holds up as well today as it ever did.

The neighbours were wondering about the racket…

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Non-Review Review: The Help

The Help is a well made film with a solid script, decent direction, and some very good performances from a superb ensemble. It’s hard not to get swept up in the drama as it unfolds, as the movie takes a harsh look at some of the prejudice festering in Mississippi during the sixties, where the phrase “hippie!”was an accusation that could destroy anyone’s social standing, it was not appropriate to fraternise with the help, and even raising the suggestion of racial equality was to open one’s self to prosecution for breaking the law. It’s powerful stuff. I was moved by it, particularly by the wonderful work put in by the cast. And, yet, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something very cynical unfolding before my eyes. The Help is a movie that seems built to fill a particular void, carefully measured and constructed to keep its audience well within their comfort zones, and a movie that feels like it might be sacrificing some of its depth for fear of actually challenging its audience.

Fraternising with the help...

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