Factory workers, fraudsters and a Manxman: this week’s films

BUBBLE (2006) is a very indie drama by Steven Soderbergh following the relationship between two workers (one a young and aimless guy, the other a lonely middle-aged woman) at a doll-manufacturing factory in a dying town and how it changes when a young woman comes to work there. Suffice to say it doesn’t go well … The low-key, realistic style makes everything almost too understated but it worked for me (certainly better than the other films of the week).“We have obviously gone through a very tragic set of events.”

J.T. LEROY (2019) is supposedly the streetsmart author of a memoir growing up a prostitute’s son; in reality it’s middle-aged Laura Dern, pretending the book is based-on-truth to boost sales. When it’s obvious some personal appearances would boost sales more, Dern recruits her lover’s sister, Kirsten Stewart, to pose as JT, but the two soon find themselves at odds. The two leads give excellent performance (Stewart’s way better than I’d have expected), this based-on-truth film is just too rambling to work for me (I’m guessing it’s because it follows real events too closely).

THE MANXMAN (1929) was Hitchcock’s last silent film and like Champagne one he personally loathes, which shows good taste on his part. The melodrama involves a pair of best-friend Manxmen (residents of the Isle of Mann), a sailor and a lawyer, in love with the same woman; when the sailor apparently drowns, his rival moves in but wait, the guy’s not dead and he’s returning home rich! What will happen now? Like Easy Virtue, the melodrama hasn’t aged well and the ending left me grumpy (even given his kid is not his biological son, it seems cruel to have the sailor lose the baby along with the woman). “All manner of punishment comes to them that breaks its sacred vows.”

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