Couch Potato

I Like to Watch (Instantly): Lovely, Still and Bonneville

Acting-powerhouse sentimental dramas from the Netflix Watch Instantly world

Burstyn and Landau see eye-to-eye
Burstyn and Landau see eye-to-eye

Lovely, Still (2008)

Directed by Nicholas Fackler

Cast: Martin Landau, Ellen Burstyn, Adam Scott, Elizabeth Banks, Mark Booker, Candice Rose, Har Mar Superstar

Lovely, Still follows the life of eighty-something grocery store employee Robert (Martin Landau) as he strives to get through another Christmas by himself. Luckily, he meets Mary (Ellen Burstyn), a white-haired woman of the same age, and as they embark on a bumpy relationship, Robert learns—or rather, remembers—secrets about his past.

The film has a genuinely touching vibe, and Landau and Burstyn produce performances that are both tear-jerking an believable. The script has a few moments of awkward misdirection, but the simplistic dialogue also adds a nice sentimental touch and transcends the thin line between drama and reality on which the film sits. Not to mention the must-see ending. Overall, a one-of-a-kind cinematic treat.


Lovely, Still

(Opens Friday)

Bonneville (2006)

Directed by Christopher N. Rowley

Cast: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen, Tom Skerritt, Christine Baranski, Victor Rasuk

Christopher Rowley’s directorial debut depicts recently-widowed Arvilla (Oscar-awardee Jessica Lange) as she and her friends Margene (another Oscar-awardee Kathy Bates) and Carol (Oscar-nominee Joan Allen) roadtrip west to unwillingly bring Arvilla's husband’s ashes to Santa Barbara, as her selfish daughter-in-law blackmails her to forcefully sell her father's house if she doesn't. As they move from one city to another, the friends experience some uncommon events that teach them valuable life lessons. Yes, the plot may seem predictable, but the talent and dynamic of the three leads transcends whatever clichés one might expect. Lange’s portrayal is both heartbreaking and liberating, Bates’ humor is amusing as always, and Allen’s timidity is a nice touch. The landscapes shown are breathtaking and the music is entertaining. It’s like Thelma & Louise, but without the murder and Brad Pitt, and with an extra sidekick on the backseat.

 
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