Friday, March 02, 2007

Little Children, Half Nelson - Beyond the Oscars

The Oscars have been handed out, and it is screens down and lights off at the Kodak theater, the home to the plush ceremony.

In the rubble of winners and losers are some hidden gems that urgently need to be highlighted. This post is to bring to focus two low-key movies that deserve our attention – “Little Children” and “Half Nelson”.

“Little Children” - rarely do you get to see such keenly-observed human drama staged with this level of skill on screen. There are several story threads that hold this film together- they are populated by an array of characters, all living in a suburban community that serves as a microcosm of humanity. There are those beautiful sprawling houses, manicured lawns and all things that symbolize comfort and serenity. And then there is the roaring undercurrent of humanity, waiting to explode. The characters in this film are walking, talking human volcanoes, ready to burst open at any time and unleash an unimaginable amount of emotional violence on the people around them.

And there is Kate Winslet. That is reason enough to go and watch the movie. The immense talent, commitment and presence she brings to the role and to all the characters she portrays should be enjoyed, applauded, and saluted at. The world is a better place because of her. Anybody who does what one does with such flourish, flair and excellence pushes humanity one notch closer to greatness.

“Half Nelson” is another overlooked gem. Ryan Gosling nails the character of a drug-addicted school teacher. The film looks unblinkingly at drug-addiction, drug-dealers and people who somehow exist simultaneously both in the mainstream and the margins of the society. The film is infinitely more complex and satisfying than what the above two-line description can manage- discover for yourself.

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