Full-time film enthusiast on a limited schedule and budget.
First and foremost, this film (and by extension its source material) is key work in advocating for the full personhood of the disabled. When we first encounter Helen following a prologue in which we see her as an infant, the story portrays her through the perspective of her family. Those around her treat her as a nuisance or an object of pity, and Penn's direction emphasizes Helen's subordinate status, her father looking over her, her mother clutching her to her…
"Well, you're about the last of your kind, old man. If I was a better businessman than I am a manhunter, I'd put you in the circus."
When the only measure of a man is how much he's worth to others, ideals and principles are tantamount to weakness. Good thing we've moved past that notion, am I right?
For a while, I was sort of annoyed by Marion's tendency to narrate the events of her own life in such an on-the-nose manner. Then it hit me that OF COURSE Marion (Gena Rowlands, masterful) would do that- she's the sort of person who would want to neatly package all of her actions with a minimum of emotional fuss, just to "set the record straight," if only to herself. Once I got over that hump, the movie as a whole…
This is exactly the kind of movie that seems like it'll be ideal for a Yesterday's Hits-style anthropological assessment in a couple of decades. Those elements that have made this so popular- the wall-to-wall CGI-based spectacle, the four-quadrant-skewing reappropriation of one of the classics of Hollywood cinema- will probably be what makes this look quaint and dated over time. Yet it also promises to be fascinating in a number of ways.
Most noticeably, this might be the first blockbuster I've…