It is official. My heart is made of stone.
Shannon Plumb, wife of director Derek Cianfrance, wrote that the reason this film was not well received at the Venice Film Festival is because most film critics at the screenings were men. She wrote:
Women who see the film love it. When they did the weekend Cinemascore survey of the audience, they found that 72 percent of the audience was female – and gave the film an A- score. 28 percent was male and gave it a B+ score.
I would say B+ was still an indication of liking the film, and so I’m not quite sure I understand the logic. Also, I am a woman and I did not love the film.
In the same way in which I completely understood my Mum’s adoration of Paul Newman but couldn’t share it, I can see why people do love this film. The majority of the audience who shared the screening I attended appeared to have thoroughly enjoyed their time in the cinema, if the sniffles and eye-wiping were anything to go by.
So it probably says more about me and my expectations that I was not won over. Not even by the considerable talents of Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz, and the direction of Derek Cianfrance, whose previous films Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines I did like very much.
I felt that the idea of the narrative was interesting – the choices we make and their repercussions down the line – but that it all felt a bit too obvious, and the script was a little mawkish. More interesting would have been heavier weighting on Fassbender’s survivor guilt which he subdues throughout and which inevitably has a bearing on his choices.
So I have to admit I was untouched by this, and accept that (as others may already have concluded) my heart truly is made of stone.