Friday, April 11, 2014

The Lunchbox: Made My Heart Hurt

There is something very magical about foreign films sometimes that just broadens your perspective on everything and makes you think. Really hard.

I don't know if that is what they were going for when they created The Lunchbox (original title "Dabba"), but I found myself frowning the entire walk home thinking about the themes in the movie, and the cultural differences, and the whole setup. Very well done.

The film follows two characters, mainly: Ila and Sajaan. Ila is an unhappy housewife who has been trying to get through to her husband and failing. Making him his lunch every day, she only receives lukewarm reviews from him. (When the film begins, we see her making him something extra yummy to make him notice her again.) We are simultaneously introduced to Sajaan, a grumpy older man with a chip on his shoulder and nothing happy in his life. Their paths cross when Sajaan mistakenly receives the lunchbox that she's made for her husband. After one thing leads to another, they end up having an epistolary (that means they write each other letters, kids) relationship that spans the film, making them question what they're doing with their lives, what they've done in their past, and what they're going to do about their futures.

One of the things that I loved about this movie is its total poetic quality. Each character's letters are frank, open, and honest, giving us little vignetters into the deeper details of their day-to-day. They bare their secrets to each other in short (sometimes laughably so!) letters to each other that say so much about how unhappy they are, and how much comfort they take in confiding in someone. As they open up to one another you can see a notable change in each of them, as they take more risks, and take necessary steps to better their lives.

There's something to be said, also for the letter-writing itself. Sleepless in Seattle it is not -- but I liked that about it. Neither of them knows that much about each other, which only serves to make their relationship seem more authentic. Since they share so many of the bigger details, it's funny how much they don't say, and how neither of them pries into the life of the other. Makes you think about writing letters that have a purpose, and the quality of words spoken over the quantity (in which oftentimes now, with Twitter and Facebook and texting and email, we forget to actually SAY something when we say something).

There is also a bit of subtle mysticism in this as well. And it's nice to see a film hint at fate without characters blithering on about fate (ahem, Serendipity, Sleepless in Seattle....). Near the end, you hear a dabbawalla explain somewhat helplessly to Ila that there's simply no way that they could've mixed up the addresses for the lunchboxes. And you want to believe that it happened on purpose.

It's smart, it's believable, and it was beautiful. Absolutely recommend 100%.

9.5 outa 10.

(DISCLAIMER: This film will also make you very hungry for Indian food. Ye be warned.)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


As part of my good ole buddy Forgotten Films's Big League Blogathon, I bring to you this review of Damn Yankees!

So, as a preface, I should mention that that I was a part of this musical in high school, so I knew the story going in. But for the rest of you out there, Damn Yankees! is the story of Joe, an old guy who decides that he'll sell his soul for the chance to help the Washington Senators win the World Series. Great idea, right? Yeah... Maybe not. By the time the devil rethinks the terms of this deal, Joe is rethinking trading his old age for baseball skills and missing his wife dearly. If he can't win against the damn Yankees then he'll go to hell!

Also features the song "Whatever Lola Wants" which you may
have heard a time or two...

It's always interesting to see movie adaptations of plays. You can usually tell; especially films made during this time period. Since a lot of movies in the 50's were made on sets anyway, the transition from play to movie back then could be a little smoother than today per se.

That being said, I wasn't really expecting to be too blown away by this movie. Sometimes they just don't translate very well, and especially since this movie features the original cast, my hopes really weren't very high at all. But I was pleasantly surprised.

The songs are catchy, the characters are very well acted (especially the ADORABLE Tab Hunter as Young Joe), and the dance numbers (choreographed by Bob Fosse himself) are amazing. The plot is a little simple, and moves fast, but it's sewn up nicely at the end as well.

Hi, Tab...(P.S. I love you..)

A little dated for a sports movie. (I mean really what decade but the 50's would have a perfectly decent guy leave his wife for a shot at winning his favorite team's pennant, only to return to her since he's useless without her?) But Damn Yankees delivers a sweet little sugar-coated story about the value of human relationships, the priorities in life, and the game of baseball. Pretty cute.

7 outa 10.