Once again, we had issues booking the ones we wanted but we did end up with 2 movies nicely spread part and a rather relaxing day all up. Started off with an Argentinian film, “The Mystery of Happiness“, that I hadn’t been keen to see but was glad I did. A tale of 2 business partners who did everything together until one disappears: from the partnership, from his wife, from their world altogether. The film is as much about the 2 remaining and ultimately less about the one that left. They don’t otherwise know each other but know each other well through their absent partner. He talked much of the other with each but neither his partner, nor his wife, ever really knew him and his desires. It was a wry tale, full of love and nuanced performances. It was also about giving up and reclaiming dreams and there was a certain warmth conveyed as the characters grew to know each other.
The second movie, “Joe“, from the US, was alas a bit of a dud. I felt the direction was a little heavyhanded though the story was potentially interesting. It was the tale, based on a book, of a bunch of folk at the bottom of their lives, many drinking away what remained. Tied up in that was an older Nicolas Cage, playing a character with a bad history, who was just trying to keep things going. Thrown into the mix was a teenage boy, part of a family of drifters, with an abusive father. I was interested in seeing this as Cage, can be a really good actor and I hoped this was one of his acting movies rather than big budget action/adventure. In that at least, it didn’t disappoint, Cage and Tye Sheridan (who played the boy) were the film’s redeeming features; Cage bringing the right sense of gravitas to the role. The film progression lacked subtlety, and I felt like I was being hit over the head with plot developments. While the film didn’t work for me, others have praised it.