Synopsis: A woman on the verge of collapse looks back on her life and specifically the relationship with her mother in order to move forward.
Release Date: September 18, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Drama, Romance
There is an incredible layer of sadness that resonates throughout this film. It is only exemplified by the muted colors, character personalities which are somber and distant, and the deep unspoken feelings that produce a melancholy world. The entire film is presented as a puzzle and the viewer is given pieces, spanning time and space, in unexpected ways throughout. Each of the story lines intersect and overlap without effort, and the transitions crossing time are so smooth you practically forget whether you are in the past or present. The deep richness of the tragic story surrounding Sylvia (Theron) slowly builds and by the time all of the pieces have come together you have witnessed a moving portrait of people consumed by pain, lies, betrayal, deceit, and little hope. The vulnerability and desperation that lies within any and all of us is painstakingly brought to life on screen while reiterating how hope and forgiveness are always possible.
As the film takes place throughout the life of Sylvia there are multiple actors for different characters, based on their age. From every performance there are moments of greatness, of passion, and of great sorrow. This sorrow and pain does not need words to express it to the audience. All of the actors give every ounce of their feelings through their eyes and body language. Charlize Theron gives Sylvia an undeniable mystery as to why she is full of such pain just by gazing at us with her eyes. Kim Basinger, as her mother Gina, is so full of guilt and love at the same time her body shakes and her eyes quiver. It is these small things the actors do that take you to a higher level of understanding into the emotionally damaged world of the film.
The distance from the true feelings of all the characters is ever present through the cinematography by Robert Elswit. There are an abundance of extreme wide shots that are not used to simply establish time and place. This effect weighs on the viewer as the distance you feel from each character is only further exemplified. The characters in these shots appear as mere pawns, or players, and not a focal point to the moment at hand, even if it is of great importance to the story. The landscape and scenery becomes a greater character in the story than any one person or thing with the use of deep focus. The eye is never told where to look or what to focus upon. You are given the opportunity to gaze upon the action but never to be immersed.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Guillermo Arriaga
- Producer(s): Guillermo ArriagaCharlize Theron (Sylvia)
- Screenwriter(s): Kim Basinger (Gina)Jennifer Lawrence (Mariana)
- Cast: Craig WoodRobert ElswitDan Leigh
- Editor(s): Cindy Evans
- Cinematographer: Omar Rodriguez-LopezHans Zimmer
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USAArgentina