One of the many things I enjoy about this time of year is that, in order to better appeal to Academy voters who will soon be picking the Oscar nominees, Hollywood dumps all its “quality” films in December. Whereas a few months ago, there were only a handful of movies I really wanted to see, now there are at least a dozen. This past weekend, I saw one of those on my list, The Painted Veil, where once again Edward Norton distinguishes himself in a period piece. (He was quite good in The Illusionist as well.)
What distinguishes a movie like The Painted Veil (to me at least) is that the story resonates days after I saw it. One line of the Mother Superior (played so well by Diana Rigg) still rings in my ears as it kind of serves to summarize the flick: “When love and duty are one, then grace is within you.”
A movie, however, doesn’t have to resonate to entertain us. After dinner one night during the Thanksgiving break, my step-brother and I were channel surfing and we chanced upon the beginning of one of my favorite Bond films, Goldfinger, the third film in the franchise. I had expected to watch the film only until my favorite exchange:
James Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Auric Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.
But, so much did I enjoy the flick that I suffered through the commercials and watched the whole thing.
Such is a good movie — one which you continue to watch even when you had intended to do something else.
There are a number of good movies out there this season, some I expect will be like The Painted Veil which will entertain us while we watch them and remain with us after we’ve seen then, nourishing stories which help us better fathom the complexities of our lives. Most will be more like Goldfinger which engage us when we watch them, but, despite a few select lines and images, quickly fade from our consciousness, stimulating neither thought nor reflection. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)