I still loved and admired this, and I wish it were coming out soon enough on DVD and streaming to teach it this fall. No, not everything holds together, but I feel like Gerwig & Co. allowed themselves to be inspired and informed by the "Hey, what about this, too?!" and "But also at the same time over in this part..." spirit of actual doll play, even while constantly showing us how much thought they've given to nuances and grace notes.…
Shadows is one of those rare cases where almost any starting point for conventional assessment seems disqualified: that of considering the film separately from its prodigious contexts, to include its key role in promulgating an independent American narrative cinema, its utter dissimilarity from almost any U.S. movies of its era, and its profound influence on later cinema artists; that of making those contexts count for everything, such that Shadows's traits, limits, and achievements as an art object get omitted, or…
It's incredible how little we are starting to expect from our movies as movies. Beyond lacking for almost any visual eloquence or aesthetic finesse, CODA barely acts as if these are goals to which a film might aspire. There's exactly one scene where you might detect some audiovisual shaping: a key concert where a sudden rack focus, in cahoots with a drastic change in the soundtrack, communicates something essential about the story and its characters' experience of the world. Even…
Graceless, unrevealing, increasingly grandiose direction of an unpersuasive, inadequate script, somehow both schematic and chaotic. A low moment for such talented, typically reliable artists as production designer Mark Friedberg and d.p. Matthew Libatique. The cast, each misserved in different ways by Aronofsky, elevate this far less than has been reported. Easily in the bottom bracket of the year for movies of serious intent.
(AMC Michigan 600, Chicago)