Friday, November 11, 2005

Bee Season

I saw a screening of Bee Season Thursday night and it’s as dark as Myla Goldberg’s book. I would give the movie a solid “B.” The acting is good and the movie does an admirable job of recreating the novel's mysticism (the protagonist is a specialist in Kabbalah), but there are so many plot lines they jumble around themselves. Also, the family is supposed to be Jewish and as much as Richard Gere waves his arms around and hugs everybody, he just does not come across as a member of the tribe.

However, the movie is worth seeing just for its footage of the East Bay. The cast and crew spent months in Oakland in 2004 (my family and I spied on Juliette Binoche at the pool at the Claremont Hotel one day) and the movie is full of great shots of Berkeley streets, Oakland’s Lake Merritt, UC Berkeley, and the San Francisco skyline. The opening scene of a helicopter carrying a massive letter “A” across the bay is magnificent.

The Bay Area has never looked better.


ed said...

But what of Richard Gere? That's the obstacle. Did you read Anthony Lane's review?

"I was happy to salute him as a robotic fornicator in 'American Gigolo,' but, given that his sole means of signalling brain activity is to go very still and shut his eyes, the world of academia may not be his patch."

Frances said...

I was politely trying to suggest that he didn't quite carry off the role. In contrast, Juliet Binoche's face in one scene is so expressive, just by shifting her eyes. She's just suffered a trauma and is trying to explain her feelings to her husband, Gere. She realizes he is not listening and weariness and sadness permeate her soul, all with a sigh.

adrienne said...

I saw the movie today, and I think the problem with the film is simply that Richard Gere doesn't fully embody the character he portrays. His facial expressions and body language are inconsistent throughout the film, and so I don't think we ever feel satisfied that we understand his motivations or his rapport with the other characters. I was so disappointed!

Patry Francis said...

When a book is as good and as character driven as The Bee Season, I always feel some trepidation at seeing the movie. I like to let the characters I've so fully imagined live on. Haven't seen this one yet, and am not sure I will.

In any case, thanks for visitng my site, and for your wise and kind words. I will return.