Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Song To Song


Song To Song 14.07.17

Wendy Ide of The Guardian says of this film that 'it all adds up to a beautiful nothing.' But is 'beautiful' ever only nothing? Do I now sound like a character in a Terence Malick film by voicing such a question?

Malick's Song to Song is the kind of movie I would watch in multiple, accidental viewings in my previous life, as the thing that always seemed to be in the process of happening on the OSN drama channel. Before such a film, you sit and watch and you're seduced into it without the need for introduction, as if the film becomes something you experienced, a dreamy Shangri-La of dappled light and beautiful people, and voices uttering quiet profundities as the classical music wafts around you.

The story? There are interconnecting parts, played by Michael Fassbender's wild and bullying music agent, and Natalie Portman as his peripheral, tragic wife. A love triangle emerges between Fassbender's character and two of his charges, played by Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara. Beyond them are Cate Blanchett, Tom Sturridge and Berenice Marlohe (James Bond: Skyfall) for additional angelic physiognomy. This isn't soap opera romance, in fact is barely prose at all. At several points during the film I felt I was watching poetry, or having classical music made flesh. I'm not even sure what the ending was, except that everyone is beautiful and lonely. This too was a thought that lingered: the characters in this film look bored with their material comfort. I was almost glad not to be them.

The reviewer Ide gave this film two stars out of five, but she has badly missed the point, in quantifying beauty, boredom and isolation. My one regret with the movie is Rooney Mara's perpetual projection of listless, child-like ingénue, the act of nervous coyness in the company of those desiring her, tiring after a while. But still, I thought her contribution, like the film's, something I was glad to have experienced, the kind of memory of something people will have implanted in their minds a thousand years from now, categorized under 'drifting with the beautiful people.'
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