Powerful film about love, honor, redemption, and connection (by karenaziz229)
It's hard for me to understand the scorn that has been heaped upon this film. You'd think Lee Daniels had created a film praising Hitler, the Antichrist, and communism. Also, it's hard to understand why some critics have focused on certain aspects of the film. Zac Efron in his "tidy whities" or Nicole Kidman urinating on Mr. Efron. The level of titillation that is being shown would be credible in a 7-year old, but not for adult critics. To focus on these rather minor points shows a deep misunderstanding of what this film is about. So, what is this film about? While I <more>
think it's hard to reduce a work of art to the level of a short essay, I am so fed up with what has been written about this film that I shall attempt to do so. For starters, I believe this film reflects the world as it is, and not as we want it to be. I think this film is saying that our deepest need is for love, connection, and moral truth but these needs become warped when filtered through the lies,despair, and degradation that American society has offered up as the truth. Mainstream films never go here, and while some indie films touch on this theme, they don't usually go for as deep a dive. The only other director that I can think of even approaching this level of an unblinking stare into the abyss is Todd Soldendz. The characters in the film consist of Ward Jansen Matthew McConaughey , a journalist who has come back to his home town to investigate whether or not Hilary Van Wetter John Cusack , a man on death row, received a fair trial. Ward's attention has been drawn to this case by Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman , a woman who has maintained a jail house correspondence with Mr. Van Wetter, and who believes she is in love with him. Ward brings with him a colleague, Yardley Acheman David Oyewolo , a black journalist from London. They are assisted by Ward's younger brother, Jack Jansen Zac Efron , who still lives at home. The Jansen family maid, Anita Chester Macy Gray is Jack's confidant and a stand in for the mother that left the family several years ago. Each character's story is that of connection or love that has been twisted or thwarted for various reasons. Jack's playful relationship with the family maid can never be a relation between equals because of his racism. Jack can see that she is his natural ally and friend, but his racism denies them both a deeper connection. As brothers, Ward and Jack share a powerful bond of affection, but no amount of affection between the brothers can halt Ward's impulse to self-destruction brought on by his inability to accept being homosexual. Charlotte Bless is looking for love and thinks she can find it by writing to men in prison. She receives a response from Van Wetter, and because of its seeming indifference to what other men want from her, she decides this man loves her. The delusion is so powerful that even when real love is offered by Jack, she doesn't understand it. The film doesn't make it clear why she is so self-destructive. We can only assume it is the logical end to the toxic sexism that forces women to see themselves as worthy only if they are desired by a man; any man. Jack's impulse toward love and connection with this woman is driven by the damage done by the abandonment Jack experienced at the hands of his mother.Yardley is a black man trying to have a decent career as a journalist at a time 1969 when racism almost guaranteed that black men remain in lowly positions and did not allow them to rise to their full potential. It is this very racism that makes him betray his colleague and his principals and forces him to assume an identity other than his own. Van Wetter is, I think, a kind of stand in for a force of nature. It is when you face up to these kind of forces that your innermost strengths and weaknesses are revealed. Through these characters, Lee Daniels is showing the damage done to human relations, forcing people to act in ways that are not pretty to watch, and so the world he shows us is not pretty. It's hard and brutal. But so are the forces that drive these characters. To the critics who hated this film, if you want pretty, watch Lucy and Desi. Mr. Daniels world is the real world; flawed, messy, and hard to look at, but with humanity and the impulse to transcendence at its core.
I'm never a fan of Hollywood blockbusters, and I just found out one of the actor, Zac Efron, reputation as teenage heartthrob. Believe me, when I watch this movie through, I never pictured that pretty boy as this callous image of a super hot hunk. He's a very serious, very low profile, toned-down, young man. That is all.Great cast. Great act. I love every second of the scene. Yes, the ghetto talk, the way they behave, the way they treat each other, just the way they are... Everything's so natural and real. It's like watching your friends on a story/mission.I don't <more>
understand why people should highlight the profanity, this film is not exaggerating anything. What happened between Charlotte and Hillary are the things that could happen to any inmate with their spouse. What happened between Charlotte and Jack are the things that could happen if your mum left you and you met this wonderful woman who's nurturing you. So get this over with, people, and just enjoy the story.I think this film is about innocence. It's about how dark the world could be no matter how strong you try to outshine it. About the wrong people you meet at the right time, or, the wrong time. It's about bad luck that could happen to good people.I love how simple and toned down everything is. No one is trying to overpower anyone and be the star, every cast is harmonically equal. I love how they trash down the drama and adrenaline rush, I'm so bored of seeing dramatic killing. I just want to see a normal killing - a quick 1 second death in silence, leaving you speechless and couldn't accept what just happened. That's what real death is. And I'm glad this movie pictured it so well.Love it.
Unique, Captivating, Sensational and Well Acted. (by Mr-Dedlock)
I'm going to try to compile my thoughts since the film is such a rush, First of all the film commanded my attention throughout its entirety, I didn't think it was camp at all, despite some campy scenes Pee Scene spliced here and there, it's very difficult to categorize the film because it is a splendid mix and homage to a lot of genres/classic films so I'm not going to pigeon hole it.I definitely will say it's one of the more unique films I've seen this year, captivating, sensational, disturbing and well acted.As for the editing and the jump cuts, although it does <more>
hinder some scenes but nothing that really detracts from the experience I would say it actually helps create the atmosphere and the mood of the film. Furthermore, I've definitely seen worse and unsuccessfully radically edited films this year The man with the Iron fists .The film's narrative serves one purpose and that is to introduce us to the characters so in that sense it works because once the characters take off I didn't really give two straws about resolving the generic subplot and was more concerned for the characters well being and what was in store for them.Above all this film is a character piece so if you're watching for a storyline then you will be disappointed.the performances are as follows: Zac is the lead character in the film and does a commendable job of carrying the film, in a sense his role is the riskiest because a lot was on the line here if he failed to click with Macy, Matthew and Nicole then nothing would have worked but since the film is seen from his perspective Macy's? his role is very important and he needed to deliver so I'm pleased to say he's done himself proud.Matthew McConaughey is a lot more subtle and sensitive in comparison to the other characters, so he doesn't standout as much but he is heartfelt and thats something that I've never seen him attempt to do in his entire career.Macy Gray, was the real surprise because I was not expecting anything yet she delivered in spades, her final scene with Efron about losing her job/being transferred and them probably not giving a damn really put 2010's "the Help" to shame. Macy Gray in her 10-15 minutes of screen time is authentic and effective, Where as I thought "the help" was forced and manipulative.Now the two virtuoso performances gifted to us by Nicole and John.John doesn't have much screen time but he's created a creepy, seedy and disturbing socio/psychopath to behold. John's character Hillary can see through all the lost characters in the film and he hits them hard right where it hurts and the irony is that he's freer in captivity than they are outside. If anybody needed more screen time it was John Cusack.Finally the legendary Nicole Kidman, what can I say, the critics that focused on her "sex" appeal were wrong, there is nothing sexy or steamy here, Nicole is not attractive in this film, her character Charlotte is a broken and damaged shell of a human being that loathes every fiber of her existence. Nicole gives us a complete physical and emotional transformation, from the unflattering makeup caked face, the long lashes, the roasted visage, the wig she's hiding behind, I've never seen Nicole so beaten down, haggard and emotionally exhausted before. By the time we see what's become of her in the end one might look at it as tragic but I thought it was a kindness and a mercy for her self-destructive character.Nicole and John are also involved in some of the more disturbing scenes in the film, such as the prison masturbation ranking up there with the Monica Bellucii's rape in "irreversible" except it's not as graphic, the Hillary rape scene is also very difficult to sit through a couple of people actually left the theater in disgust after hogs were spliced into the rape.I could go on blabbing, but just like the film its best to cut it off here. In short "the Paperboy" is one paradox of a film that's hard to comprehend but captivates ones attention. If you want an epic story then this film is not for you, but If you're interested in exploring flawed, self destructive, naive and fascinating characters then you're in for a ride.
A quick dip in the Louisiana swamps (by socrates99)
First off, I'd heard of Zac Efron, somewhere, I thought he was some teeny bopper's fantasy. But this kid is no lightweight. He's quite good here in an ultra adult film, as is everyone else, all playing against type: Kidman as a slut, McConaughey as a sexually troubled man, John Cusack as a backwoods maniac, and Macy Gray as a lovable servant.My wife hated the movie but couldn't take her eyes off of it. And by its end, we were both thinking that was quite a ride. What more do we want from our movies? Everyone here, maybe a little less so with Efron who's the novice, <more>
abandons themselves to their parts. I didn't even catch Gray in a misstep though she's a novice too. They all channel their people quite successfully in a well-directed though not for the kids, movie that manages to shine a light on a south that actually was and for all I know still is in places.
With The Paperboy, we have the arrival of a major new cinematic talent - Lee Daniels. Though his first two films the bizarre Shadowboxer and the extremely well-acted Precious had their merits, only with The Paperboy do we finally see the maturation of his craft, the arrival of a distinct new voice. It is a hypnotically bold, daringly original, and utterly fearless film that seemingly effortlessly dances between drama and comedy, tenderness and tension, completely unafraid to go to shocking, dangerous places. It feels totally unpredictable, and nothing about it feels safe, which is something <more>
far too many movies are these days. The Paperboy hearkens back to the audacious spirit of American cinema in the 1970s, when filmmakers weren't afraid to make outrageous works like Deliverance and Prime Cut. In this film's world, nothing is sacred, and because Daniels is so assured with this approach, so completely in control of every moment, watching it is an enthralling, absorbing, exhilarating experience.Rarely am I so entertained and captivated by a film, and even more rarely am I so blown away by a film's originality and daring. With The Paperboy, Lee Daniels created a world I didn't want to leave and a film I didn't want to end. I can't wait to see where he goes from here.
Lee Daniels is a great director, in firm control of conveying dark and powerful forces. He is not afraid to handle very controversial material, and he can go back and forth between simple but effective scenes and other moments where what you are seeing is on the screen is unbelievable, devastating, overwhelming.Pretty much, like "Precious" but with very little of the fantasy moments that brought a little relief to the existence of that movie's heroine, "The Paperboy" offers no break to the audience. Each one of its characters is fully exposed, at times, literally, and <more>
we might have a hard time handling the movie, but it's still remarkable because it's an honest story of souls that inhabit a very ugly world, and in the words of one of them: Things might be even worse if we saw their darker sides.Kidman, as usual fully fleshes out the character of the deluded and hungry lonely soul who falls for a convicted killer. She is outstanding, showing an intense physical side we have never seen before. It's a raw portrayal of a sad but somehow pragmatic character who makes bad choices. Equally amazing is McCounaghey who has made it tough for Academy members when they choose his best role this year. He is a man who walks the tightrope between love and self-hate. When he is around his younger brother, we can see his demonstrations of affection, and it's obvious he's hiding something, and we'll be in shock when we see what lies behind his tortured facade.There are the other players doing great work. Macy Gray plays the resilient and obedient servant who is much wiser than most people believe. She is the narrator of the Greek tragedy that happens in the '60's Florida. It's a mystery with corrosive details, a tail that scars many who lived through it, and will probably shock more than a few in the audience. Zac Efron takes plenty of chances baring more than his soul here as the conflicted and impulsive young man who must learn to grow up pretty fast and lives in a world that is changing by the minute. Things might be a bit too much for him to handle.The most incredible transformation is that of John Cusack, an intelligent but reserved performer who has managed to avoid the spotlight in spite of the powerful forces he seems to be capable of portraying. He is unleashed here as the accused killer, and he, like Charlize Theron is almost unrecognizable as the shameless and depraved product of an unforgiving area of our country. He is ruthless and scary. At first, we think it's all madness, but there is a driving force here, and it's evil. Cusack shows a dark side movies rarely achieve. It's truly a frightening acting tour-De-force.So, the question is can we handle and believe what is shown here? It's up to the audience to decide because we usually read about this, but here is like in "Precious" a film that pushes the boundaries of what contemporary cinema passes as drama. It's not gratuitous; it's daring and powerful movie-making.
After watching the movie I was asking myself what the heck did I just watch, but whatever it was I liked it....Now first off this movies is not for everyone, it's extremely sexual, violent, and at times confusing, but it is never dull or plotting. The story is captivating and the actor/actresses pull you in right from the start and never let go until the ending credits roll. The storyline is unique and original with it's crazy cast of characters. Don't try and out think this one, go with the flow and let this backwoods swamp tale take you on an mesmerizing journey into a world <more>
you'll be glad you were able to glimpse.I'm going to say a few things about some of the actors/actresses as they truly do make this a must see movie. First Matthew McConaughey, if he's starting to get type-cast so what, he is absolutely wonderful in this role...bravo. Nicole Kidman is sensational, once again proving no matter what the role she excels and is without a doubt one of the very finest actresses of our time. John Cusack takes on a very different type of character than what you've seen of him the past and really shines and delivers a riveting memorable performance. The entire cast of this movie deserves credit for bring life to this Lee Daniels film. I've noticed that some reviewers are giving this a less than glowing review, but in my humble but accurate opinion, this is an excellent piece of film making and should be given it's rightful praise for what it is....OUTSTANDING!!
A meander through murky swamps & society's red-necked underbelly. (by TheSquiss)
The Paperboy is one of those films that has a fine cast, a director with a track record Lee Daniels, Oscar nominated for Precious and an interesting plot, but will be rarely seen and largely forgotten by year's end. Sometimes there is no justice in the film world; just ask Ben Affleck about being overlooked by AMPAS as Best Director this year for Argo.It's well performed, directed with few flaws and the cinematography hits the spot perfectly, but the trouble is, in terms of ratings, that it isn't easy to sell. Essentially, The Paperboy is a dialogue-driven film about an <more>
idealistic reporter, Ward Jansen Mathew McConaughey , who returns to his hometown in the backwaters of the red-necked American south to investigate the conviction of a man on death row convicted of murdering a sheriff. When Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman , the infatuated pen-friend of Hillary Van Wetter John Cusack , the murderer in question, approaches Ward for help, he recruits his bother Jack Zac Efron and colleague Yardley David Oyelowo and sets about investigating ineptitude and corruption surrounding the case.It isn't a pretty story, it doesn't race along at breakneck speed and it isn't a film that haunts the viewer long after the credits have rolled. It is, however, a thoroughly enjoyable tale that meanders through some murky and terrible swamps, both literal and metaphorical, and will satisfy those with a penchant for the underbelly of society.Based on a true story and one from the official selection for Cannes 2012, The Paperboy is a dark story that at times is very unpleasant. It goes to places you almost certainly want to avoid in your life. There are no sweet and lovely two-dimensional characters here but 'regular Joes' with twists in their psyches and the relationships between the principal four keeps us on our toes. Each has secrets or sides to their characters they try to hide and each is capable of damaging another willfully and yielding or ignoring their conscience after the event in their own self-harming manner.Efron shows signs of shaking off his teenybopper roots and it is encouraging to see him take a long and effective step away from such pulp as last year's predictable The Lucky One. At last we see something of a character developing from him, and Jack's relationship with the maid, Anita Macy Gray , who also narrates much of the story, gives a hint of warmth to an otherwise cold and twisted collection of characters.Both McConaughey and Kidman stepped away from the 'beautiful' roles sometime ago, though there is still a feeling of them playing 'against type' here, which isn't fair as both are very fine actors with some startling performances in recent years. Here they allow themselves to be engulfed by the perversions of their roles and are eminently watchable though you wouldn't much 'alone time' with either of them. Gray is overlooked largely and, though her Anita is supposed to be the all-seeing character that fills in the gaps for us, she feel inconsequential much of the time.It is Cusack that startles most of all here. He often frustrates as a fine actor in turkeys Hot Tub Time Machine, The Raven and then blindsides us with another performance we've been desperately hoping for. As Hilary he initially causes reserved sympathy from us as he stumbles into the scene disheveled and emotionally crushed. We can almost smell the grease in his hair and his fetid breath and recoil at the thought of Charlotte sharing anything more than a letter with him. But he evolves and repulses as The Paperboy unfolds in a performance every bit the antitheses of his signature role, Martin Q. Blank, but equally memorable. Whilst an unpleasant character with whom to share time, the performance is absorbing. Just please don't let this be the last time we enjoy Cusack for another five years.Daniels has crafted a film of relationships with confused issues. Life isn't always clear-cut and often it is just plain dirty. Though less successful, financially, than Precious, The Paperboy is a far more mature film with a great deal more flare. Although Daniels hasn't had the courage to shoot it entirely in the style of the period, there are enough references to the late sixties and seventies with split screens and flares to transport us back the era of segregation and Tarantino's favourite word.It won't last long at the box office, but The Paperboy is a DVD treat for an evening that calls for something more than schmaltz or easy laughs and requires some emotional investment.For more reviews from The Squiss, subscribe to my blog and like the Facebook page.
In southern Florida where a racial murder case turns into a coming-of-age character study (by napierslogs)
"The Paperboy" has received some harsh criticism, not just divisive but mostly negative reviews. I'm happy to provide an opposite perspective but it is worth mentioning that most critiques seem to come from a superficial point-of-view. Anita Macy Gray as the narrator takes us down to small town life in Florida in the late 1960s where she worked as a maid for the white, upper class Jansen family. Nothing is as it seems.The youngest brother, Jack Jansen Zac Efron , has just returned home after a short stint as a star swimmer at university. He's lost with no purpose and no <more>
real desire. The elder brother, Ward Jansen Matthew McConaughey , is a reporter at the Miami Times and has just returned home to investigate a racial murder case. To help him, he has brought home his newspaper partner and friend Yardley Acheman David Oyelowo . Yardley comes from an upper class, African American family from London.The film has found a place in time where racism was rampant in some parts of the world and barely an issue in other parts of the world. It was definitely an issue for Hillary Van Wetter John Cusack who apparently committed murder due to race, but he could also have been unjustly imprisoned due to race. At this point in the film, most viewers are still reeling from the introduction of all the actors. Cusack is playing a Southern white trash, murderous hick and Nicole Kidman is playing his white trash fiancée, Charlotte Bless, who likes chasing after imprisoned criminals. Viewers remain in a state of shock when Hillary and Charlotte decide to pleasure themselves upon first meeting, with all other paper players present. Contrary to popular belief, that scene was not just for pure shock value, it was also used to help establish who the innocent characters are and who deserves our sympathies.The most intuitive and considerate character, Ward, has also returned home to look after his little brother. Their mother died when they were young and with a stubborn and distant father and scheming step-mother- to-be, Jack is prone to misunderstood loneliness, and Ward hires him as a driver for their newspaper article on Hillary's case. Jack is more innocent and sheltered than his age suggests. He's never been in love and he doesn't even know how to find love. So when Charlotte shows up with bleach-blonde hair and a skin-tight, shorter-than-appropriate hooker dress, he's in love. Or infatuation, but he doesn't know the difference, and then the film starts exploring that.But after all, Jack Efron is the title character of "The Paperboy". This film is about him. It also happens to be about love, sex, race, murder and acceptance. It is extreme, chaotic and tragic, but it's not terrible. It's actually a very intelligent film.