Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lovely, Still (Rhoades)

“Lovely, Still”Is Still Lovely
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Although Thanksgiving is yet to come, I was in the mood for a sweet Christmas movie. “Lovely, Still” is that, a quiet holiday romance that plays well to older folks. But it’s more than that too.

Academy Award-winner Martin Landau (“Ed Wood,” “North By Northwest”) portrays a lonely guy named Robert Malone who encounters love for the first time in the form of Academy Award-winner Ellen Burstyn (“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” “Requiem for a Dream”).

Backup for the aging pair comes from Adam Scott (“Art School Confidential”) and Elizabeth Banks (“W.”).

However, this story is not so straightforward as it seems. There’s a twist that has been likened to M. Night Shyamalan.

First-time director Nicholas Fackler denies any influence. “I had some clues and ideas that might seem weird – something like a detective story with a twist, but also romantic which has never done before.”

Nik’s script was a “beautiful stew” that simmered up from his teenage years.

“In Omaha, my parents have this 50’s diner and when I would wait tables, it was my opportunity to do character study,” he explains. “And I met this old man once who had never fallen in love and at the time I was seventeen and falling in love and also wanted know how it would feel if my heart were broken. This old man had never been married, and was always alone his whole life and never had extreme happiness or extreme sadness so I was captivated by this man and had to write about him and that was the start of the character Robert Malone.”

Filmed on location in Omaha, the 6-week shoot took from November to Christmas Eve. Cinematographer Sean Kirby – with the help of twinkling holiday lights – captured an “old Hollywood look” for the film.

“All the background people and the community were happy to help,” Nik Fackler says of his tight-budget indie film. “Even the confetti was free.”

The 21-year-old director loved sharing his hometown with the 82-year-old actor. “Martin loved being on location there,” he recounts. “He stayed in Omaha for Thanksgiving and we had a big feast.”

“Lovely, Still” offers the illusion of Christmas fairytale, but about an hour into the film, there’s a seismic shift.

“The interesting thing about both my character and Ellen’s is that if you see it a second time, you see a different film,” says Martin Landau. “It’s not unlike ‘The Sixth Sense,’ in that you’ll see things and hear things that you missed. The trick, really, is not to give any of that away, and Ellen and I were basically acting on two levels at once.”

Although the story involves a form of memory loss, that’s not really the point. “I never wanted this film to be about sickness or disease. It is a love story,” insists the director.
[from Solares Hill]

No comments: