A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

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MongooseCmr
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:50 pm

Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#151 Post by MongooseCmr » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:18 pm

whaleallright wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:22 pm
Which French critic was it who said something like, the only interesting films about fascism will have been made by people who felt the temptation?
Malick sets himself up for this criticism when the painter says he can’t paint Christ suffering because he hasn’t suffered. I know he intended it differently but it sums up my own problems with it too.

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HJackson
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:27 pm

Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#152 Post by HJackson » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:09 pm

I love late Malick. To the Wonder and Tree of Life were my #1 and #2 on the 2010-14 List Project and Knight of Cups and Song to Song will without question feature on my full decade list when that comes around. But this movie was by far the worst thing he’s ever made, one of the worst things I’ve ever subjected myself to in a cinema, and an utterly irredeemable waste of three hours of my time. The last few minutes were quite beautiful but I wish I’d done like mfunk and just walked out.

It’s beyond belief that this thing is sitting on 83% on Rotten Tomatoes while his last three are all languishing in the 40s. For years he’s been mocked for being indulgent, pretentious, making glorified perfume commercials etc - and then he turns around, keeps the exact same “perfume commercial” style while stripping out all the mystery, poetry, and the underlying dramatic ebb and flow of the human relationships depicted in favour of a totally, unrelentingly one-note “meditation” on how much this guy hated Hitler (ie Trump) - one that grinds on and on for THREE FRIGGIN HOURS - and the critics, insofar as it was covered, seem to be lapping it up.

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JamesF
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:36 pm

Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#153 Post by JamesF » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:05 am

I found Song to Song pretty insufferable, so was relieved to find this... sufferable? A step back in the right direction for Malick, anyway.

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furbicide
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:52 am

Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#154 Post by furbicide » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:33 pm

HJackson wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:09 pm
I love late Malick. To the Wonder and Tree of Life were my #1 and #2 on the 2010-14 List Project and Knight of Cups and Song to Song will without question feature on my full decade list when that comes around. But this movie was by far the worst thing he’s ever made, one of the worst things I’ve ever subjected myself to in a cinema, and an utterly irredeemable waste of three hours of my time. The last few minutes were quite beautiful but I wish I’d done like mfunk and just walked out.

It’s beyond belief that this thing is sitting on 83% on Rotten Tomatoes while his last three are all languishing in the 40s. For years he’s been mocked for being indulgent, pretentious, making glorified perfume commercials etc - and then he turns around, keeps the exact same “perfume commercial” style while stripping out all the mystery, poetry, and the underlying dramatic ebb and flow of the human relationships depicted in favour of a totally, unrelentingly one-note “meditation” on how much this guy hated Hitler (ie Trump) - one that grinds on and on for THREE FRIGGIN HOURS - and the critics, insofar as it was covered, seem to be lapping it up.
I'm fascinated by how even a director as divisive as Malick manages to divide his own fans with his films. Personally, I feel like I should hold my tongue as my only exposure to Malick has been Badlands, The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life, all of which I kind of liked in parts, but, like many, by the end of the last of these I was feeling a bit done with his schtick (and I think that's what's kept me away from his successively more poorly received follow-ups). But maybe, based on this, I should take my chances with To the Wonder or Knight of Cups? Certainly, I'm more drawn to them than this new one, which really does look insufferable.

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Drucker
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#155 Post by Drucker » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:26 pm

Furbicide, I caught a double feature of Badlands and Days Of Heaven in 35 last month. These were the first times I watched since viewing both on home video. I found the former a bit dull and not that special, but the latter one of the most engrossing and spiritually beautiful films I've ever seen. I really thought it perfectly accomplished everything he tries to do in his films. Don't sleep on it!

nitin
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:49 am

Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#156 Post by nitin » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:36 am

Yeah I mean even if you want to write off Malick, at least do it after watching Days of Heaven.

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aox
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#157 Post by aox » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:32 pm

furbicide wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:33 pm


I'm fascinated by how even a director as divisive as Malick manages to divide his own fans with his films. Personally, I feel like I should hold my tongue as my only exposure to Malick has been Badlands, The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life, all of which I kind of liked in parts, but, like many, by the end of the last of these I was feeling a bit done with his schtick (and I think that's what's kept me away from his successively more poorly received follow-ups). But maybe, based on this, I should take my chances with To the Wonder or Knight of Cups? Certainly, I'm more drawn to them than this new one, which really does look insufferable.
Agreed. I don't think I have observed it with any other directors. Maybe Godard, but I think any comparative argument I would make would be flimsy at best.

I own and adore Days of Heaven and To the Wonder. The former is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen.

I absolutely loath everything else he has done from Badlands up through Knight of Cups. Didn't see Song to Song because I felt completely done after KoC, but I'm curious about this one.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#158 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:40 pm

Count me among the crowd that thinks this is Malick’s weakest film. To furbicide’s point on Malick dividing his own fan base, it’s something I’ve struggled to pinpoint myself. Because his late-career works are so stylistically similar, for me it comes down to how my own subjective relationship to the images, music, voiceover provoke a completely personal experience. I think this happens with Malick in ways different than many other films because the impact is geared at the spiritual so when it fails it’s like deflating a balloon - the rest of the pieces crumble, but when it succeeds it’s like no other film could do this. That’s not to say that there’s no middle ground but there’s conflict in that because at least in my experience there’s a recognition more of how the film fails to me rather than its own specific flaws, and then becomes a reflection on myself and only myself. Also since these kinds of reactions are based on transient moods based on time and place, every time I see one of his films I’m risking that film wildly changing in my esteem. For example, I’ve gone from thinking Tree of Life and The Thin Red Line are the worst to best to good to meh to great but not the greatest, etc on every viewing. At times I just want to leave them be but I keep pulling out the goods in the hope that one day they will become my favorite films and I can leave it there, which of course I won’t because I haven’t when they did reside in those top spots.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#159 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:02 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:40 pm
Because his late-career works are so stylistically similar, for me it comes down to how my own subjective relationship to the images, music, voiceover provoke a completely personal experience. I think this happens with Malick in ways different than many other films because the impact is geared at the spiritual so when it fails it’s like deflating a balloon - the rest of the pieces crumble, but when it succeeds it’s like no other film could do this. That’s not to say that there’s no middle ground but there’s conflict in that because at least in my experience there’s a recognition more of how the film fails to me rather than its own specific flaws, and then becomes a reflection on myself and only myself. Also since these kinds of reactions are based on transient moods based on time and place, every time I see one of his films I’m risking that film wildly changing in my esteem.
I tried to get at the extremely personal and idiosyncratic nature of reactions to Malick's work as well in my thoughts on this film, and this wild variability in responses even among fans of his (to say nothing of those experiencing one when unfamiliar with his style) is why — despite wildly disagreeing with about 90% of the responses in this thread — I haven't tried to respond or refute any of it. His work is more dependent than most on what you bring to it and what you're vulnerable to, and if a particular piece of the score or a particular image or a brief piece of dialogue or voiceover — whether individually or in combination with each other — does or doesn't melt you to your core, what is anyone else going to say to convince you otherwise?

I will say, I've found that I'm somewhat rare in that I think every single one of his films are at least very good, and at least four of them are among my all-time favorites, from his divisive late period (this and To The Wonder) to his more widely accepted classics (The Thin Red Line, Days of Heaven).

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therewillbeblus
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#160 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:09 pm

I’ve found merit in everything he’s done, even if this one didn’t work for me I trust that I very well could on a rewatch down the road. Other than this and Knight of Cups, which I had an incongruous experience with for whatever reason, I agree that everything he’s done is very good to great. Though if I had never seen a Malick film and my expectations weren’t set, maybe I would have been blown away by this one instead of numbed to his methods and getting hung up on the lack of personal access in what I was looking for from his brand of lyrical potential?

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tenia
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#161 Post by tenia » Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:41 am

DarkImbecile wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:02 pm
therewillbeblus wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:40 pm
Because his late-career works are so stylistically similar, for me it comes down to how my own subjective relationship to the images, music, voiceover provoke a completely personal experience. I think this happens with Malick in ways different than many other films because the impact is geared at the spiritual so when it fails it’s like deflating a balloon - the rest of the pieces crumble, but when it succeeds it’s like no other film could do this. That’s not to say that there’s no middle ground but there’s conflict in that because at least in my experience there’s a recognition more of how the film fails to me rather than its own specific flaws, and then becomes a reflection on myself and only myself. Also since these kinds of reactions are based on transient moods based on time and place, every time I see one of his films I’m risking that film wildly changing in my esteem.
I tried to get at the extremely personal and idiosyncratic nature of reactions to Malick's work as well in my thoughts on this film, and this wild variability in responses even among fans of his (to say nothing of those experiencing one when unfamiliar with his style) is why — despite wildly disagreeing with about 90% of the responses in this thread — I haven't tried to respond or refute any of it. His work is more dependent than most on what you bring to it and what you're vulnerable to, and if a particular piece of the score or a particular image or a brief piece of dialogue or voiceover — whether individually or in combination with each other — does or doesn't melt you to your core, what is anyone else going to say to convince you otherwise?
I strongly believe it simply, indeed, has to do with these movies needing to find something in each viewer that resonates - and if it doesn't, you might quickly feel left out of it.
I absolutely love The New World and The Tree of Life, because I feel they bring me something very deep, they resonate in me, and often soothe me (something only a handful of artworks do), but it isn't the case with some of his latest works, but also some of his earlier works. I never really liked Days of Heaven, and The Thin Red Line leaves me pretty cold (though I find it very good). And while I quite liked Song to Song, I strongly disliked Knights of Cups, because I couldn't relate to it at all and quickly felt unconcerned and uninterested by what was happening to the characters. As for To The Wonder, I love the first half, but don't care much for the second half, because these characters and stories don't resonate in me while the first half one's do.

That's just how it is, and it's sometimes, IMO, that simple. I like his poetic style, but there is, for me, a need for something there to exacerbate and that resonates in me. Otherwise, it just falls flat.

A Hidden Life fell, to me, somewhere in between : it certainly isn't bad, but it felt overlong and kind of empty for what it tried to achieve and narrate, and I certainly understood, after watching it, the concerns voiced here. It felt heavily superfluously repetitive at times.

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