June 14, 2009

As the Title Says: Lovely By Surprise

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Every once in a while a film comes along that is pretty. Aesthetically pleasant to observe - not just the actors, but the colors, the set, the music. Not just a film, an experience. That is: Lovely By Surprise.

Carrie Preston plays Marian, a writer, who is trying to write about two brothers who are aware that she is writing about them. Her former teacher and mentor (Austin Pendleton) tells her that it's not going to work. She needs to kill the protagonist, he says. It's the best thing a writer can do. Marian reacts emotionally - she cannot kill him! But she begins to think about it, sending her down a road that she is trying to avoid.

Meanwhile, Bob (Reg Rogers) is a very bad car salesman. He talks his customers out of buying cars, in fact. How's your family, he asks the customer. Do you appreciate them? Do you love them? Go home and love them. It's funny, but also sad. He clearly has something weighing heavily on his mind. Maybe his daughter, who he forgets to pick up from school and who doesn't speak at all. Maybe his absent wife, still in his heart. Subtely and deftly portrayed, Bob requests the sympathy of the audience, and gets it easily, despite his poor parenting skills and seeming lack of common sense.

Humkin and Mopekey, Marian's characters in her novel, live on a boat on land. Clad only in briefs, they survive on milk and cereal and nuggets of knowledge somehow received from the world around them. Their relationship, humorous at first, turns sinister and dangerous as the story develops.

The storylines blend together seamlessly, artfully weaving in and out. The colors of the costume design are bright and bold, punctuating the scenes with richness. I think I can say, without any reservation, that you could take a still from any scene in this movie and frame it as artwork.

The music is lyrical and frolics along in the background, providing levity in the sometimes sad story. I really enjoyed the amped up version of "Wound By A Key" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a somewhat surprising part of the soundtrack, but one that delighted me.

When the storylines all collide together at the end, it's beautiful and meaningful and sad and happy and not expected. Funny at times, tragic at others, Lovely By Surprise is, quite, lovely by surprise.

Lovely By Surprise is opening at the Firehouse Theater in Kingston, Washington on June 19th. It will be released on July 7th on DVD and will be available through Netflix. You can also request it at your local video store.

Watch the trailer here.

2 comments:

Laura/DaPFG said...

While your review DID make me want to watch the movie, it did NOT, however, give me the desire to hang a picture of the chunky man in his tighty whities as art on my bedroom wall :P

I'll check this out...thanks!!

(And on a more disturbing note, my word verif is "prepap"..also disturbing is the fact that while I took the time to type this part, a gnat landed on my lunch. bah!)

Amelia Smith said...

i've never heard of "lovely by surprise". it sounds, well, LOVELY!
i'll have to check it out!
.BrightSides.