The film starts with an apartment being broken into and the discovery of a dead woman laying on the bed. It is clear she has been dead for some time. Then, we are taken back a few weeks, months, years. Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) are an elderly couple living in Paris when Anne is suddenly struck ill. It is a stroke, and her movement is severely limited. She makes Georges promise that he will not send her to a hospital, but as she becomes less able to move and communicate, Georges has decisions to make.
It is a truly beautiful that tells a difficult and extremely painful story. The film focuses on much of the minutiae which makes up their everyday lives; the difficulty in removing a bird that has accidentally flown in through an open window or the calm stories that Georges tells. I’ve avoided watching it for a long time knowing it would be a difficult watch, however it was not as traumatic as I’d imaged. Not that it was an easy film; just that it is told in a way that I could identify the pain without having to feel it myself.
Amour won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year and was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Emanuelle Riva), Best Achievement in Directing (Micahel Haneke) and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Michael Haneke).
Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) is a young girl living in the Bathtub, an area outside of New Orleans separated from the rest of the world by a levee. Her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), is neglectful, unwell and possibly alcoholic. They live in separate houses next to each other and her mother is absent. At school she is learning about Aurochs, creatures who live under the ice and will be revealed as the icecaps melt and the planet warms. When a storm hits New Orleans, the area is devastated. Eventually, the residents of the Bathtub are rounded up by authorities and Wink is put in hospital. When she realises how sick her father is, Hushpuppy takes a trip to find her mother and ends up face to face with the Aurochs.
The style and emotions of this film far overtook the story for me – so much so that I had to do some research after watching it to recount the plot. This did not bother me one iota, however. I just wanted Hushpuppy to get through and have a better life. Usually, I need more than just beauty. Neither Tree of Life nor Holy Motors really did it for me despite the elegant beauty of each. Yet Beasts of the Southern Wild grabbed me, perhaps because there is tangible plot, and characters who I truly cared about, especially Hushpuppy who broke my heart with her need to take charge of her life despite her youth.
Beasts of the Southern Wild was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role (Quvenzhane Wallis), Best Achievement in Directing (Benh Zeitlin) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Lucy Alibar and Ben Zeitlin). It was also nominated for a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Victor is a loner. He hangs out in his attic with his inventions, his video camera and his dog, Sparky. But tragedy strikes with Sparky, his only friend, is killed in a car accident. At school, Victor has a new science teacher, the mysterious Mr Rzykruski. He teaches the class about experiments and electricity, and Victor manages to use the nightly electric storm to bring Sparky back. The science fair on its way, and when his secret gets out there are strange and unusual consequences.
The first half of the film is exactly what you’d expect from a Tim Burton re-imagination of the Frankenstein film. Dog brought back from dead with a bunch of weird characters. I was even getting to the point where I’d had enough – and then it stepped up to the next level. Things got weird, but awesome weird, and I felt the film was redeemed. The style is so beautiful, but it does feel like the same old Tim Burton stuff. I always look forward to his next thing. I only hope that the next thing steps up in a big way.
Frankenweenie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, a BAFTA for Best Animated Film and a Golden Globe for Best Animated Film, amongst many other award nominations.