Two movies: One with a strange ending, the other a romantic chick flick
On 15 July, two movies premiered online: Amazon Original’s Don’t Make Me Go and Netflix Original’s Persuasion.
Here’s my verdict.
Don’t Make Me Go opens with a female voiceover: “You’re not gonna like the way this story ends, but I think you’re gonna like this story.”
She’s right, you won’t like its ending because it’s bizarre. Spoiler alert: She dies in the end. But she continues to narrate the story. Her voiceover weirdly babbles through her funeral and the succeeding events. It’s the strangest movie experience ever, because this is not even a fantasy film.
The girl who dies is Wally (Mia Isaac), the teenage daughter of Max (John Cho). This father-daughter road trip movie, directed by Hannah Marks, from a flat screenplay by Vera Herbert, is desperate to make you cry but miserably fails.
The tale splits between single-dad Max, who finds out he’s dying from a brain tumor, and his daughter Wally, who acts sassy but has no personality.
Max decides to keep his terminal illness a secret from Wally and takes her on a trip to meet her estranged mother for the first time. The movie wants us to be terrified of the prospect of Wally being left alone in the world — if and when Max dies.
However, it is hard to care about Wally since she’s too normal — if not irritating. She’s neither dependent on her father (therefore, we are not worried at all that she will be lost without a parent), nor is she too wild and reckless (therefore we do not fear for her safety without the guidance of Max). She›s somewhere in the mediocre middle.
On any road trip, it is the journey that counts, not the destination. And what an awfully dull journey this duo takes. The scenes are too self-aware and calculated, and bereft of humor and soul.
Don’t Make Me Go is a cold and stodgy story with the most unpleasantly strange ending. Not recommended.
0 out of 5 stars Amazon Prime
Cutest chick flick
Persuasion is, by far, this year’s cutest chick flick.
Serious Jane Austen fans might not appreciate the almost superficial and Gen Z tweak to this 2022 adaptation.
But the movie opens with a clear intention: You’re in for a light and easy watch. A modernized Georgian-era tale about “the one that got away.”
Dakota Johnson plays the ultra-pretty Anne Elliot, who, after dumping her great love Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis) eight years ago, is still unable to move on. She was, and still is, very much in love with the naval officer and painfully regrets being persuaded to dump him because he was not wealthy back then.
Director Carrie Cracknell delivers a sweet, engaging, and charmingly contemporary take on this Regency-era romantic comedy without overdoing it. The movie diversifies the characters a la Bridgerton, and it’s fine. It’s Anne and her heartbreak that take center stage after all.
Ironically, this rom-com is not romantic at all, since Johnson and Jarvis have zero chemistry.
But it’s funny. The relaxed humor, the glorious visuals, and the witty wordplay in Austen’s exploration of women and marriage make Persuasion an engaging watch.
The breaking-the-fourth-wall technique is a little corny, and there’s a laziness to the storytelling. But it is redeemed by Johnson’s sprightly performance, backed by a dynamic supporting cast and an unpretentious script.
If you enjoyed the other Jane Austen adaptation Emma (2020) starring Anya Taylor-Joy, which is also streaming on Netflix, then you’ll be delighted with Persuasion.
3 out of 5 stars Netflix
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