matthewcutchen’s review published on Letterboxd:
There are so many things I could say about why I appreciate this film, but I’ll try to keep it brief.
The intentional subversion of the classic Hollywood leading man in Cliff Booth. It’s rare to see masculinity portrayed on screen as a person who quietly cares for those around him with a humble self-assurance. He’s consistently sensitive to Rick’s feelings, seems to really see and accept him for who he is, without condition. He goes out of his way to check on an aging man he thinks might be in trouble and treats him with patience even while being berated. (And, yes, he also doesn’t take advantage of an under-aged girl, but, lets be real, that’s kinda the lowest bar for being a role model ever.)
Being a person who always looked up to men who’s inner strength was shown through their sensitivity to others—instead of that stereotypical Hollywood version of manhood which praises shallow self-absorbed man-child bravado—this was a breath of fresh air.
I know I’m projecting a lot onto this film. And I’m not saying he wasn’t super flawed. But still, it was refreshing.
As I’ve said before, most my favorite movies are either minimalist or maximalist. And so this nuanced work of art from a director mostly known for his “maximalist” tendencies is a near euphoric experience for me. I just want like eight more of these richly-textured slice-of-life films from this guy.
The sound design for this film is a symphony of its own. I listened to an interview with the sound editor & mixer and it was a revelation to hear how they approached the sonic landscape of this film. I won’t go on about it, but if you wanna hear more, I’ll just leave the link “here”.
I’ll stop there.
Super glad to revisit this beautiful love letter to cinema.