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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Movie Review - The Congress

The Congress (2014)
Starring Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Danny Huston, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jon Hamm, and Paul Giamatti
Directed by Ari Folman
***This film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime***

Robin Wright plays a version of herself in The Congress set in an immediate future in which movie studios have perfected a method of digitizing images of stars and sending the real-life actors packing, creating new movies and media personas out of these fully lifelike computerized images.  Known for being a bit of a difficult actress (in the film, that is), Robin is also an aging woman -- something Hollywood is not overly fond of it seems.  Eager to spend a little more time at home with her two kids particularly since her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is suffering from the early onset of Usher Syndrome in which he is gradually and irrevocably losing his eyesight and hearing, Robin agrees to a contract that allows Miramount Studios to digitize her and use her image however they see fit.

I must admit that despite the somewhat slow pace, I was mildly intrigued with what The Congress was giving me during its first half with Robin Wright giving a surprisingly nuanced and understated performance as an actress struggling to have to let go of her family's source of livelihood and income.

And then the film jumps twenty years ahead and we see Robin driving down a desolate desert road only to be stopped at a checkpoint where she is given an ampule of liquid which she sniffs...and then turns into a cartoon.  Yep.  Although the animation in the film's second half is vivid, colorful, and steeped a visually impressive 1930s/40s style, the storyline of this segment of the film was much too difficult (and/or uninteresting) for me to follow.  With a whole bunch of metaphysical gobbledygook being spewed about one's real self and true being, I found myself zoning out way too many times for the film's own good.

With about thirty minutes left, I said aloud, "Why are you doing this to yourself?  Just stop watching."  And I almost gave in to that temptation, but I continued.  In the end, I'm glad I did as The Congress did become a little more comprehensible to me by the time it concluded, but it's still much too weird and dull for it to be even remotely recommendable which is a shame because the promise of the first half and the intriguing questions it raises about ageism and sexism in Hollywood are actually quite relevant.

The RyMickey Rating:  D+

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