Monday, January 2, 2012

A Robert Pattinson Movie That I Actually Want to See!

Two days, two miracles! We're only two days into 2012, and already this feels like another one, a second unexpected miracle. As you might recall from my previous post (and if not, you can read it here), my first one was waking up solo on New Year's Day.

Now, for the first time ever, I actually want to see a movie starring Robert Pattinson. I'm one of the lucky few who has never seen a Twilight film, and I have no desire to ever do so. Despite a short-lived passing interest in True Blood about a year ago, I hate pretty much everything with vampires, and I'm no teenage girl.

Don't go getting the wrong idea. My interest in Bel Ami has nothing to do with Robert Pattinson nor its source material, the 1885 Guy de Maupassant novel that chronicles a handsome devil's morality-challenged ascent up the slippery slope to financial success in 19th-century Paris. (Shh! I've never read it.) My burning desire to see the film as close as possible to opening day has everything to do with Pattinson's three leading ladies: Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci.

I saw Life As a House on TV a few months ago, and watching the luminous (yes, luminous!) Scott Thomas's soulful performance as the mother of Hayden Christensen, the Star Wars prequels star who was sort of the Pattinson of 10 years ago, I wondered why she never managed to work that Oscar nomination for The English Patient more to her professional advantage in English-language films. (Her mini-career triumphs in recent years have mostly been in French cinema.)

As for Thurman, she has been struggling for several years now, and I live to root for an underdog. And at 31, Christina Ricci, who never really won me over completely until she held Charlize Theron's murderous hand in Monster, has finally grown into her looks. She's never been lovelier than she is in the newish Bel Ami trailer.

Ah, yes, the trailer. It makes the film, in theaters March 2 (exactly one year from my last day in Buenos Aires, which must be significant in some way that I'll have to try to figure out later), look like Tom Jones and Alfie's Room at the Top with a View. That would be cross between Tom Jones, Alfie and Room at the Top with Merchant-Ivory decor.

My expectations, however, are firmly in check. Pattinson is no Albert Finney, or Michael Caine, or Laurence Harvey, and luminous (yes, luminous!) as his three leading ladies are, they are no match for Simone Signoret, so heartbreaking being taken in by Harvey's heartbreaker in Room at the Top that she won the Best Actress Oscar for her pain.

But cinematic success isn't only measured by Oscars (and Tom Jones, for the record, won four, including Best Picture). If Bel Ami is successful enough to bring about Scott Thomas and Thurman career revivals, and if it gets Pattinson away from Twilight once and for all, its work here will be done.

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