I’m way behind in blogging, so to catch up a little I thought I would review three movies that PJ and I watched over the last week: Wendy and Lucy, The Examined Life, and Holding Trevor.

This past week was the Athens Film Festival. I only made it to two films, the first of which was Wendy and Lucy. Here’s the trailer:

This movie stars Michelle Williams as Wendy, a woman driving from Indiana to Alaska to find work in a cannery. Her companion on the trip is Lucy, her dog. Wendy and Lucy is a quiet little film that follows Wendy as she deals with a series of setbacks over a few days. The film is ultimately heartbreaking, not because anything overly dramatic happens (it doesn’t) but because we see the difficulty with which Wendy much make some very responsible choices. It’s a beautiful film, and Williams’ performance is great — she dissolves into this character — but I was left feeling a little too manipulated by the film’s plot. I found it hard to sympathize with the choices Wendy confronts, but I don’t want to go into any more detail than that. It’s a good film but not one I’d want to see over and over again.

The second film we saw at the film festival was The Examined Life, which I absolutely loved. I suppose this movie would be classified as a documentary. The filmmaker, Astra Taylor, interviews eight of today’s leading intellectuals, mostly allowing them to just talk about the issues they find most relevant to today. Here’s the trailer:

I thought this film was amazing. It’s like sitting in these people’s classes and just listening to them talk about ethics, justice, materialism, revolution, and the body. These thinkers–Cornel West, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Kwarne Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Slavoj Zizek, and Judith Butler (who carries on a dialogue with the filmmaker’s sister, Sunaura Taylor)–have a lot to say about philosophy and today’s world. We ended up seeing friends at the movie and then going to Casa Nueva for drinks afterwards and discussing the film. It was a great experience. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes to think.

Last night, PJ and I watched a third film at home (via Netfix): Holding Trevor. I’ve been wanting to see a new, good gay movie for a while now, so I was eagerly looking forward to watching this one. Here’s the trailer:

I’m not sure this is the movie I’ve been wanting to see, but I did like it overall. Brent Gorski wrote and stars in the movie as Trevor, a gay man dealing with his best friend’s/ex-boyfriend’s drug addiction while embarking on a new relationship with Ephraim, played by the very sexy Eli Kranski. Trevor also has deal with his two friends Andie, played by Melissa Searling, and Jake, played by Jay Brannan.

I really liked this movie until the final 5 minutes. Gorski is good in the lead role. He keeps Trevor endearing, which is important for the protagonist of a movie like this. Brannan gets to play the slutty, bitchy queen, and he does a great job at it. On the whole it’s well directed and well written. My issue with the ending is that Gorski clearly chooses his ending for some narrative effect rather than as the logical conclusion for this particular set of characters. His Trevor makes a choice that seems to come out of nowhere. It felt designed just to frustrate the audience’s anticipation rather than to create a truly satisfying ending. I think the final set up could have been written much more convincingly. But I enjoyed the movie and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a small, independent gay film.

All three of these movie were definitely worth watching. The Examined Life was clearly my favorite, but the other two were also good.