At the Movies
We went to the movies last night. Clint Eastwood’s new film, the Mule, has just opened here and I’ve been really looking forward to seeing it. The screenplay is based on a true story and I saw the trailer at a recent showing of a Star is Born. There was a reverent tone to the air in the theatre; the announcer remarked that it must have felt somewhat like this at the opening of American Sniper.
I’m no movie reviewer; I really just wanted to try and convey something of our experience last night. The Mule was somehow so full of kindness and human wisdom on many different levels that my husband and I were left a little lost for words.
There were many aspects of the movie that caused one to stop and think. The central theme of family was powerfully and thoughtfully drawn out as the movie progressed and the depth of characterization that was achieved served to heighten its impact. Similarly, as a meditation upon old age, the importance of facing up to one’s mistakes and the truly detrimental effect our digitally frenetic age is having upon our personal humanity and upon the very world which we inhabit, the film packed a powerful punch.
Eastwood himself gave a flawless and generous performance. Playing a ninety year old who is often dealing with people two or three generations younger than himself, it’s his ability to get along with just about anybody by reaching out to their common humanity that is so moving. The entire cast was note perfect and despite there being some heavy weight acting names on the credits there was never any sense that anyone was hogging the lime light. The cast revolved around Eastwood’s star each playing their own part to perfection.
I think finally, it’s both watching Eastwood in front of the camera here, with all our memories of his wonderful roles of the past, playing this character with unhurried grace, true emotional range and gentle humor and also all the while knowing that it’s his eye behind the camera creating this sweeping and richly textured story that leaves one simply awestruck.