Monday, March 2, 2009

Movie Journal: The Family Man

I can't believe I never really heard about this movie before. It's one of those movies whose first act is so well structured and surprising, you figure, "Well, that's just because the author focused solely on the first act, and there will be a drastic decline in quality during the grind of act two." So when the entire second act is just as brilliant as the first, you can't help but think, "Well, they'll botch the ending for sure." But then when the end comes, it works. And it works because the writer structured everything precisely, and everything leading up has been in specific preparation of the plot's climactic conclusion. That's my kind of movie.

One of the reasons the structure works so well is because the ending of the first act(or, "the inciting incident") throws us an almost completely unexpected curveball. Having said that, I had promised myself I would only disclose a very small dose of what the plot looks like in terms of details, because to properly prepare you for it would be robbery. However, I will tell you that Nicholas Cage plays a young man who moves from New York to London in pursuit of a job opportunity. His future wife, played by Tea Leoni, begs him not to leave, fearing that they may slip apart while he's away for a year. He promises that he will never stop loving her.

There. That's as far as I'm going, because the plot is simply too good to spoil. Throughout it's entirety it manages to remain facinating, vivid, and worthwhile, and I'd hate to ruin that. Just know that it is one of the very best movies I have ever seen, and the reason it's so great is because it taps into our basic emotions in an effort to cause us to consider what life is all about. And if, by the time the credits roll, it doesn't cause you to reflect on your life's priorities and values, at least a've got to be dead inside. That, or you are living the perfect life.

9 out of 10

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