I must confess to feeling a tinge of pride after reading all the glowing reviews in praise of Kristen Stewart’s performance here. As loyal readers know, I have been calling her one of the greatest actresses of her generation for many years now.
It’s joyful to see her talent appreciated by so many others now.
“Nothing means anything when you’re sure you’re really in love”, says Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg), the main protagonist of the keenly melancholy Cafe Society, when asked his opinion on a man walking out on his wife of a quarter century to marry somebody else.
Later on another character will exclaim that no force on Earth can explain love, which is why it is called “falling” in love, since there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it.
But even before such lines are uttered somebody mentions, during the first twenty minutes of this marvelous film, that unrequited love kills more people across the globe each year than tuberculosis, a claim Bobby does not object to, judging by all the pictures and the songs that romanticize and ennoble love that has been left adrift.
One of the many sad ironies is that by the end of the movie Bobby will have been marked by death by unrequited love. Death not of the body, like what his brother experienced, but a more profound and mournful type.
I am talking of course about the agony found in Bobby’s eyes since the day Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) destroyed his heart and quenched the flames that livened his spirit. I am talking about the absolute meaninglessness of anything when he feels he has nothing as Vonnie was his everything. I am talking about the way he roams through country clubs and parties and the birth of his child as if he just returned from a trip to paradise, and finds proceedings here back on Earth terribly dull.
“I pray and I pray and I pray, but there is no answer”, Bobby’s dad says near the end of the movie.
Vonnie was an answer to Bobby’s prayer. “She is a dream, an angel sent from above” says a character in describing Vonnie.
As a new year begins but Bobby’s disappointments remain the same, he looks at the bright lights up in the sky, dreamy eyes and beaten heart, convinced that the answer to his prayers has been no, and that his angel will never again appear to him.
The most cathartic moment in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar takes place during its final thirty seconds. Brand (Anne Hathaway) stares at the wreckage of Wolf Edmunds space ship, seconds before removing her helmet and placing it on the ground. The effect of this brief scene is so tremendous once examined under one that took place halfway through the movie. In it, Brand tries to convince Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) of love’s supernatural abilities. As it is not a human invention, love can transcend time and space and travel across dimensions. Love has the faculty to withstand and endure things no other emotion can; it can guide us, direct us, give us hope. Nay, love is hope itself.
I bring this up not because Equals is on par with Nolan’s masterpiece, although Kristen Stewart’s performance, as is always the case, easily matches anything McConaughey and Hathaway have to offer. I bring this up because the closing shot of the movie shows that, against all odds, love prevails. It appears that no matter how people try to quench it, in the end love will find a way.
It’s extremely dull, the way this picture reaches that conclusion, but I believe it’s worth noting.
Jesse Eisenberg reminds me of Kristen Stewart. None of the characters he plays are boring, and the way he embodies them suggest a sad backstory to each and every one. Even in blockbuster fare, Eisenberg infuses the performance with egotism that is only outweighed by the vulnerability he expresses with his body language and the manic desperation he drives himself.
That is why American Ultra was so thoroughly disappointing. And that is why I have such high hopes for the new movie him and Kristen Stewart will star in later this year.
Kristen Stewart was born to be an actress. Every movie she is in, no matter how mediocre or pointless, acquires gravitas the moment she appears on screen. It might be in the eyes. In every character she embodies, they suggest woe, making each and every one of them absorbing. Stewart looks at the camera and breaks your heart. I recall no other living actor that possesses such unnatural gift.