Reading the blurb on this film gave the suggestion that this could be really interesting. It is the true story and one that presents a rather strange mother son relationship, following the son from an early age as he narrates his life and that of his mother's.
However from the opening scene there was something amiss, and that feeling grew and grew with the film until, come the final scene, there was little comprehension or understanding of the story, character motivations or events.
The film tells the true story of Barbara Daly, played by Julianne Moore, a woman who married above her class into a loveless marriage which soon turned to bitterness and hatred. Into this marriage was born a son, played by Eddie Redmayne, who was loved a little too much by his mother, and hated by his father, played by Stephen Dillane. That hatred forces him to his mother with whom he develops a very strong relationship and gives up his own life for.
The story starts in 1946 and follows the family all the way through to 1972, where the story takes the strangest and most dangerous turn.
From the opening scenes the film was confusing to watch. It began with a strange sense of surrealism in both the dialogue and the editing giving a feeling of the film being slightly out of sync with reality.
One of the first scenes is that of a dinner party, and the dialogue doesn't flow well with the characters leaping in conversation and emotion and the editing doing something very similar. The conversation becomes stilted, broken and leaps towards absurdity incredibly quickly.
Suddenly the main character of the mother, played by Julianne Moore, leaps into an upset and angry mood, and there's no explanation as to why. After the meal she leaps into a strangers car and heads off to have a drink with them, leaving the husband behind.
These feelings continue through the film, and actually do increase as the time goes on. Dialogue and character motivations seem strange and incoherent, leaps in time line are common, and this really does hurt both the characters and the story.
Characters didn't develop well, they just were the way they were, and they did things which often seemed to have no meaning or justification behind them, and at times they seemed to act utterly randomly. That had a knock on effect with me as the audience, I could find no empathy or sympathy with any of the characters and so I just ended up watching the events, uninvolved with them or the characters.
The film is supposed to be adapted from the memoirs written by the son, played by XX, and this is perhaps why the film seems to leap about and feel so disjointed, because the voiceover is leading us through sections in his memoirs. Still, it just doesn't work. It feels as though we're dipping in and out of sections, grabbing unrelated pages and telling them on screen.
This feeling gets worse and worse as the film progresses, and the relationship between the mother and son becomes more and more confusing, as in fact do all the relationships in the film. It all gets much worse towards the end, and the final few scenes are very odd and hugely unsatisfying.
The acting is okay, but there's nothing to really help you understand if the acting is really bad, if it's over acting, or if this is the way the characters are meant to be. Julianne Moore may have given a good performance, I'm just really not sure, with such a bad film behind them it's hard to know what to think.
This is a terrible film, there's no easy way to say it. The way the story has been pieced together is terrible and there's no flow to the characters, their dialogue, or their stories. With the characters and their stories in such a mess there's absolutely no feelings of empathy or sympathy for them and you end up just watching them pass you by. With all interest gone in the film and the plot taking more and more absurd changes, leading to a hugely unsatisfying ending, there's really nothing much to be had by watching this film.