Movie reviews with Siena Dorman

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Movie reviews with Siena Dorman

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During the long weekend I took to get my wisdom teeth removed (yes, all four), I had plenty of extra time on my hands to watch a few movies. I figured a productive use of this film bingeing could be to share a few thoughts I had about them. I’m no cinematography or acting assessing expert and I’m not entirely sure what you’re supposed to look for in a film but I do recognize a good movie when I see one. So without further ado, I present my somewhat underqualified film reviews.  

I, Tonya (2017)

Rated: R

Starring: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, and Allison Janney

This review, of my three, may lack the most in detail because I was still a bit loopy from the anesthesia; however, I believe I still saw and understood enough to talk about it. First of all, Margot Robbie is an incredible actress. She’s one of those actresses that you watch and forget that they’re actually acting. This movie follows the true story of Tonya Harding and her rise to becoming this crazy good olympic figure skater (the first american woman to land the triple axel in competition). She grew up with a considerably dysfunctional family – her father left while she was young and her mother displays what some might call tough love – as in yelling, plenty of swearing, and physically hitting type of tough love. It’s clear that Tonya picks up a lot of her mother’s tendencies with her incredibly strong personality and normalization of physical abuse when her eventual husband does the same kind of abuse she grew up with.

I won’t summarize the whole film but she essentially gets put in some unfair circumstances and uses her resilience to stand up for herself. She eventually gets involved in one of the largest sports scandals in history where she is accused, eventually pleads guilty, and is banned from the U.S figure skating association, for planning an attack on skating opponent Nancy Kerrigan just before competition. This movie does make you wonder how much of this attack Tonya was really involved in.

The movie purposely takes a comedic telling of the true story that yes, begins in her hometown, Portland, Oregon. You feel sympathy for Tonya in the film, though when this was happening in 1994, she was not viewed in such a graceful light. The movie gives a lot of insight as to why Tonya Harding was the way she was and how the incredibly selfish people in her life have dramatically influenced her future and public image.

The Spectacular Now (2013)

Rated: R

Starring: Shailene Woodley & Miles Teller

This movie accurately follows two teenagers at turning points in their lives, as they discover what it is they need to do for themselves despite the hardships they have experienced due to their families history.

While a brief description of the movie may make it sound like all the other teenage movies out there (an unlikely couple, teenagers about to go off to college, some forbidding reason for them to not stay together) the movie actually feels like something incredibly new. The two lead actors, Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, capture the perfect authenticity of being a teenager. There are many scenes that feel like you’re visiting a true conversation, not just another over dramatic portrayal of 18 year olds. They feel real, sometimes awkward, and incredibly human, which makes the story that much more intriguing to watch.

Sutter is a character that you like although you may contemplate if he deserves all the leeway he receives from his new interest, Aimee. He makes a lot of mistakes and is clearly affected by the absence of his father in his life. He is well known at school but somehow ends up on Aimee’s newspaper route one morning. Aimee is not popular at school, she is forced into responsibilities because of her mother’s lack of work, and is not as comfortable in social situation as the rather outgoing Sutter. Still, the two do begin to really fall for eachother.

The movie explores love, family, and self. It addresses the inner struggle young adults have when it comes to advocating for themselves and it shows how past experiences can affect the “now”. The struggles the two teenagers face stress the purpose of the film, it displays the resilience of the two characters even though their relationship may not hold up, as their paths are inevitably different.

Almost Famous (2000)

Rated: R

Starring: Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson

In Almost Famous you follow the unbelievable adventure of an aspiring young journalist, 15 year old William, with the outrageous 70’s rock band, Stillwater. By luck and the help of a band girl, he lands interviews with the band members backstage. These interviews open the opportunity for William to join the band on tour thanks to Rolling Stone magazine. The movie follows every journalists dream, it’s funny, it has plenty of nostalgic rock music, and it’s entertaining. Watching the young character develop and learn to (or at least make and effort to) fit in with a crowd much different than what he’s used to is a significant portion of the movie however the end begins to tie in something of more importance.

I found the most intriguing theme of the movie was when even the young reporter found himself balancing the always prevalent ethical dilemma of telling the whole truth, all the details, and holding his promise of secrecy. Essentially it’s a fight of the band vs. Rolling Stone. He received advice while reporting that if you want to be a true friend to the band, be honest and unmerciful. He took that advice to heart and decided to share the truth about the band – everything he saw on tour and although it was with the blessing of the lead singer, he starts an uproar that throws the movie into turmoil.

Almost Famous has a plot incredibly different than anything I have seen before and made it easy for me to stay engrossed to the story for the whole movie. I would recommend this movie to anyone and am honestly surprised it took me this long to see it.