The Congress ★★★

Watched after this appeared on Keith Uhlich's Top 10 list (listen at 1:41:40), and I love his description of it. What's wonderful here is that the film stays centered in the emotional longing it creates, and uses it as the driving force of to animate its world (call it Heavy Metalcholia). Folman is uninterested in ever explaining much of the rules of the radically changing world, often abandoning one scifi world for the next, but uses Wright's stakes to keep us grounded. In short: this does emotional scifi in a way the all too neat and tidy Interstellar can't come close to touching.

In many ways, The Congress feels like the flip coin of Soderbergh's Solaris. In adapting Lem, SS parred down everything to get to the core of the emotion. Instead, Folman uses the emotional core to let the film's world building run wild. I found this occasionally inspired, though a bit too often to its detriment. Wright's heavy face, whether animated or not, is so compelling that I found myself uninterested in much else happening in the frame. Folman's best moments are thus all about her face—the opening shot, Harvey Keitel's wondrously delicate monologue, Wright alone in the hotel, and that marvelously gut punching final monologue. A misfire in so many ways, but I'm glad there are people like Keith to beat the drum hard for this film. I'd rather watch 100 more Congress's than another Interstellar.

Peter liked this review