Thursday, August 23, 2018

Amazon streaming tip: Mark Pellington/Alex Ross Perry's poetic and moving NOSTALGIA

Yes, Mark Pellington (shown at left, director) and Alex Ross Perry (shown below, co-writer) do seem an odd combination, but in this particular case the combo works better for TrustMovies than either writer/director's work has managed to do individually.

Granted the title NOSTALGIA is a tad overused (95 exact title matches on the IMDB!), but it does indeed apply to this movie, whose themes are grief, loss, and the importance in one's life of both objects and memories. The film begins with a lovely scene in a diner between a waitress and a quiet, contemplative man (played
quite memorably by John Ortiz) who is an insurance assessor. We then move to one of his clients (Bruce Dern) and then to another (Ellen Burstyn), with various family members and friends involved, and from there to a dealer in sports memorabilia (Jon Hamm, shown in bottom photo) and then to this man's sister (Catherine Keener), her family and a sudden bereavement.

That's it, so far as plot goes. What holds the movie together and makes it often so beautiful and moving is its combination of themes, visuals and dialog, all brought to thoughtful, specific life by an array of first-rate actors, led by Mr. Ortiz who is a good here as I've yet seen him. He brings the kind of grace and understanding to the proceedings that help lead us into this unusual, artful look at the "whole" (or maybe the "hole") of our lives.

Criticism has been leveled at the film due to its supposed repetitiveness, yet each episode has its own special tale brought to life by top-notch performers. Supporting roles are cast with such a roster of talent -- Beth Grant to James Le Gros -- that each small performance rings  true and special.

The question of what the objects we collect during our lives mean -- to us, as well as to others -- is given a most interesting workout here, and the result is worth experiencing and thinking about.

Yes, the movie is slow-paced (and the final section goes on a bit too long), but it is so beautifully filmed that some of you, at least, will be pleased to have viewed it. Do give this film a try. Nostalgia is streaming now via Amazon, where Prime members can see it free of charge.

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