The first Skylight Festival is over and I am planning to write one review a day in an attempt to catch up, starting with the most recent film I watched (very late last night).
Kathy’s flight was delayed (are there still flights that arrive on time?), so I had no choice but to go to the theatre and watch a film. The timing was right for Trainwreck, a film I thought I’d miss, as it’s not a favourite genre of mine (romantic comedy). With my low expectations, Trainwreck was, for the most part, a pleasant surprise, though there were many scenes and lines that didn’t work for me at all.
Trainwreck is a very quirky, very adult (vulgar?) and very honest romantic comedy directed by Judd Apatow and starring the writer of the film, Amy Schumer. I know nothing about Schumer and, as far as I know, have never seen her act before (TV stuff mostly). She has an endearing realness about her. Schumer plays Amy, a broken young woman whose honesty is not necessarily a positive attribute. Amy is trying to make it in New York as a writer of what looks like an awful magazine while sleeping with any men she finds interesting (her father having taught her about the evils of monogamy in one of the film’s funniest, if also depressing, scenes). Then she meets Aaron (Bill Hader), the subject of one of her articles, and, for the first time in her life, she begins contemplating the possibility of getting serious with a man.
The central romantic story of Trainwreck didn’t really work for me, especially with the sports subplot (Aaron is a sports doctor and hangs out with guys like LeBron James and Amar’e Stoudemire), but every few minutes the film would have a scene that had me at least grinning if not laughing out loud, which I did more often than in most comedies I have watched.
The highlight of the film for me was, by far, Tilda Swinton, who played Dianna, Amy’s ice cold boss. Once again Swinton pulls off playing an almost unrecognizable character (no one out there can do it better) and I loved every second of every scene she was in (which were too few in number). There was also a marvellous scene involving Matthew Broderick, Chris Evert, Marv Albert and LeBron James, all playing themselves, in which they try to do an intervention on Aaron. And then there’s the film within the film as we catch a number of short scenes of The Dogwalker, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei. Hilarious stuff. And I really appreciated the family story of Amy and her sister, Kim (Brie Larson) and their father (Colin Quinn). There’s a lot more intelligence here than in most romantic comedies.
But for every scene that worked for me, there was another that didn’t. Still, on the whole, I was quite glad that Kathy’s flight had been delayed, because Trainwreck was almost as distracting as (and better than) Rogue Nation, which I’d seen just a few minutes before with Katrina (review coming tomorrow).
As the credits rolled, I finally caught a glimpse of the rest of the audience (quite large for that hour on a Thursday) and realized that at least 95% of the audience was women. That was interesting and slightly unsettling, as if I didn’t belong there. I wonder if men are a little afraid of Trainwreck’s brutal honesty. Anyway, a very solid ***. My mug is up, but a warning is needed: this is not your average chick flick.