Friday, May 16, 2014

Lilting (UK, 2014)

Nine Things About the Movie Lilting

1. This is a startlingly excellent examination of solitude and connection.

2. Set in England, it's about a young man, Richard, an elderly Cambodian woman, Junn, who speaks no English, and the dead man that ties them together.

3. Junn's son, Kai, recently put his mother in an assisted living home, because he could no longer care for her. Unbeknownst to her, Kai's best friend, Richard, is actually his long time boyfriend.

4. After Kai's sudden death, Richard feels obligated to help out Junn somehow, so he hires a young translator to help the blossoming relationship between Junn and another resident of the home, Allen.

5. As the four begin an awkward journey of getting to know each other, they inadvertently open hidden wounds... and pour salt in others.

6. The acting in the movie is impeccable. It's a small cast, and relatively unknown - at least here in the US. But I'd been waiting to see Ben Whishaw in something again ever since "Perfume" (no, I don't really count "Skyfall")

7. It's really hard to make a movie work when it's almost all talking around tables. The fact that half of it also needs to be verbally translated - on screen - makes it even worse. But I guess first-time director Hong Khaou didn't know this was supposed to be hard. He took this one all the way home.

8. Let's face it - this movie is going to be a hard movie to sell - "No really, it's good! It's about gays and Asians and old people talking to each other!" There's no violence or sex or scandal. There's not even an exciting soundtrack. And it's too bad that many people will miss this movie. It's one of the best depictions of the human experience that I've seen in a long time.

9. This movie is about the varying levels of isolation that people feel, and the intersections of those levels. It's a quiet, poetic, sad, masterpiece.