In the new movie, The Song of Names (based on the book of the same name by Norman Lebrecht), Martin (Tim Roth) and Dovidl (Clive Owen) were as close as brothers when they were boys. But Dovidl’s past and his secrets have torn their relationship apart.
Their first meeting comes as World War II is on the horizon. As a young boy, Dovidl (Luke Doyle) is a wunderkind on the violin. But he is a Jew living in Warsaw. His talent takes him to England and a shared bedroom with Martin (Misha Handley). After the war is over, the boys are now young men (now played by Jonah Hauer-King and Gerran Howell) and are as close as ever. But as Dovidl becomes known as a music prodigy, he must also grapple with his faith and the fate of the family he left behind in Poland.
Decades later, Martin is searching for his friend, who has all but vanished. Can he find Dovidl and discover the secrets that he carries with him?
I loved this movie. I loved it because at its heart is a story of friendship that starts during a tumultuous time in history. As the years pass and the reality of their world is exposed, both Martin and Dovidl must grapple with their experiences. I also loved the ending. It was not a happy ending as Hollywood would see fit, but it worked for the movie.
The topics of race relations and the relationships between parents and teenagers is often complicated.
In the new movie, Luce, (based on the play of the same name) Luce Edgar (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) is the perfect teenager. He is a star athlete, an A student, respectful, humble and hardworking. Born in the African country of Eritrea, Luce was adopted by Amy and Peter Edgar (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth), a middle class Caucasian couple.
Everything seems hunky dory until Amy is called by Luce’s history teacher, Harriet Wilson (Octavia Spencer). One of his papers has caught Miss Wilson’s eye and not for the right reasons. This paper opens the door to suspicion, questions about trust and who these characters really are.
Having never seen the play, I can only judge the narrative by the film.
The word I would use to describe this film is disappointing. There is so much potential in this film and yet it is wasted. The subjects spoken of in this film are so powerful and timely. Instead of using these subjects as a subtle teaching moment, the drama and the tension in the narrative is wasted. As is the the on screen talent.
As the film came to a close, the narrative threads did not come together. I don’t know if this was done on purpose or just laziness on the part of the screenwriters. If it was done intentionally, it was not done well. It was as if the individual parts of the narrative worked together on their own, but never quite gelled as they could have.
The movie, Selma, released last year, is the story of Dr. King’s campaign to secure voting rights for the African-American residents of Alabama.
Dr. King (David Oyelowo) had his allies, but he also had his adversaries. Then President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkins0n), preferred to avoid the issue. Governor George Wallace (Tim Roth) was dead set against integration and had no qualms about using any means (violent and non-violent) possible to prevent it.
I found this movie to be very powerful. As the legendary Dr. King, David Oyelowo is magnetic. His on screen struggle is a reminder of just how far we have come, but also how far we have to go. As President Johnson, Tom Wilkinson is caught between a rock and a hard place. He knows that integration and the Civil Rights movement cannot be ignored, but he also knows that that his country is going through a turbulent time. As Governor Wallace, Tim Roth is another stark reminder of the fact that it was only a few decades ago that African-Americans had to fight for the simple right to vote.