This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
sabs’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
i'm just gonna write my notes here. this is just going to be me rambling incoherently but whatever that's just how the cookie crumbles here at @phnotf hq:
i'm rewatching this by myself this time so i can concentrate on it completely and here's the thing: i think the first half is soooo good. i thought that the first time too, but the PROBLEM is that i feel like i only like it bc i read the book twice a few yrs ago and i knew what was actually happening both times. and even this second time i'm catching a lot of stuff i didn't notice the first time around. they did such a good job in the car-- they keep interrupting each other, it feels super jarring and just wrong somehow, it feels even more obvious than before that they're reading each other's minds because they HAVE one mind / were created by the same mind. the bonedog poem explains the entire movie within the first fifteen minutes AND THE SHOT RIGHT BEFORE SHE STARTS RECITING IT WHERE SHE TURNS AROUND AND STARES AT YOU / BREAKS THE FOURTH WALL IS LITERALLY TRYING TO TELL YOU THAT LMAO. also the poem makes her cry and i too cry at nothing sometimes but it doesn’t really make sense why it moves her as much as it does and that’s a hint within itself. AND CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE PART WHERE SHE JUST STARES AT YOU THROUGH THE WINDOW AND IS LIKE EVERYTHING PAST THIS POINT IS ALL BONE? LIKE. HELLO. lastly her striped sweaters (and outfits) keep changing depending on his mood (red and yellow coat and scarf at the beginning, orange striped sweater, pink once she gets to the 'longing' part of the poem, orange again when she's done, magenta coat when they get out of the car, pink when she gets inside the house, yellow when the dinner starts, takes it off completely when they get to the living room, puts the yellow one back on right before she goes upstairs, coat / scarf changes from magenta to blue when they leave the house)
i also didn't realize how early on the old man appears in this movie! he's there like the WHOLE time. it feels like that psych test where the elephant (?) passes by something you’re concentrating on and you’re so focused on what’s right in front of you that you literally don’t notice the elephant. that’s exactly what happened to me the first time. also, the part where they reference mussolini's trains in the car ("the trains actually preceded him [old man and girlfriend] but he took the credit [girlfriend bc the story is almost completely her POV]") is a little aside to that too. later on they literally are like yeah if this story was being told by this old man you literally wouldn’t watch it and i was like i— huh. yes and no? my point is almost every line is loaded with a double meaning and i’m NOT exaggerating and i had a lot of fun catching them during this rewatch. and when they get to the house....OOO! it feels so empty because it's taking a while for him to remember what he's trying to do (set the stage in his head) along w his reluctance to go through w it because he's so afraid of death. also, they tell you WHERE the old man is when they’re talking about the basement and jake is like he’s down there! and the girlfriend is like who is? and he’s like uhhh....no one! let’s change the subject! it’s kind of wild how she wants to go in the basement almost immediately bc she senses there’s something there she needs to see. HMMM. HMMM!
i loved the labels on the clothing / doors (like a play! it is a play!), the dialogue at the dinner table-- they all correct / repeat each other bc he keeps messing up what he feels they should say. it’s also worth noting that he has no one to talk to so he's forced to correct himself and engage himself in conversation all the time. another little detail i noticed the first time but paid more attention to the second time around was that her name kept changing (jake would change it) and every time it did she would get a phone call and that name would be on the screen and it was the old man's voice....very creepy. the fact that they move like PUPPETS and keep looking at jake for direction is the best part imo. they all felt CONNECTED somehow. their acting skills-- WHEW!!!!! W H E W !!!! that line when the girlfriend looks down after explaining that you’re the person in the painting and looks down and sees the old man’s foot attached to toni colette’s body and right after the dad is like I WOULD SEE MYSELF IF I LOOKED DOWN i’m not a ghost! this is so interesting i’m sorry this is so long but i love how detailed this is....what a PUZZLE!
i’m not gonna write down every little thing i caught this time bc it took me two days to watch this and i’m sleepy. a lot of it gets really obvious once they leave the house / go to tulsey town / go to the school so i was like do i need to take notes on this? not really. he is incredibly depressed and has a lot of self hate and is lonely and it’s a lot. they tell u how he’s going to die like twenty minutes before it happens when she’s like “maybe hypothermia isn’t the worst way to go...” it’s funny how a woman under the influence is also on my scavenger hunt list this month so i guess i’ll watch that soon....
OVERALL: what the book is and what this script is are two very different things, but this is much more thoughtful and empathetic (even though i think the point of the book was to be jarring) and i appreciate it a lot more now. even if i wanted a dark thriller at first i see why making the point of the book more obvious but also not as dark (no chase, no murder, only very few hints to scary childhood!) was the right way to go. still don’t love the hallway + final play scene even though it makes sense to me now. one thing that confused me the first time but that i think i get now is why everyone was old? but i get that they’re saying that only old people really see other old people and if you’re not careful and more considerate by the time you figure that one out it’s too late. also, that inside we’re all younger versions of ourselves no matter how old we get and that never changes. that hurt. whew! if i really wanted to i’d look into all the book references / oklahoma! to catch those extra deeper meanings but i don’t think i will. this.....kind of made me a little scared to get old, not gonna lie to you! anyway!