Thursday, August 04, 2005

'The Woodsman' ...

As I wrote to L.A. Dave after seeing "The Woodsman," "There's a big frickin', heapin' helpin' of happy."

He hasn't seen it yet, but we just had a discussion about the making of this film from a business perspective. It's a film about a child molester who's recently left prison and is trying to rebuild his life. Who's the audience for this film? It's not a date movie. It's not a hangin'-with-friends-on-a-Saturday-night movie. What kind of mental state do you have to be in to pick up this film at the video store? "Hey, honey? Want to see a movie about a man who molested little girls?"

Of course, you're saying, "But Beth. You've seen this movie. Been feelin' OK lately?"

I watched it because it received critical raves. Oscar buzz for Kevin Bacon. And he's outstanding. And it's a fascinating portrait, actually, of a man whose heinous acts have rendered him the most despicable of social pariahs and his effort to rebuild his life, who wants only to know from his therapist, "When will I be normal?"

Artistically, I understand that sometimes projects aren't about the money, that actors want to challenge themselves and hone their art. This, then, is a suitable contest. Kyra Sedgwick is great. Mos Def is great. The arc of Benjamin Bratt's character is very real.

Gritty. Painful. Heartbreaking. It challenges you to consider the humanity in those who do unhuman deeds.


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