Since my TV has been broken for the past week (repaired and returned today!) I have been making trips to the theater more often than usual. Here are some quick reactions to two 2009 Golden Globe-nominated films.
Invictus dir. Clint Eastwood
Has the visual flair and mastery of narrative expected from Eastwood, but with the inspiration dial at 11. Though it doesn't completely go Disney, it dances dangerously close at points -- especially with one terrible song choice in which the word "colorblind" is used. Strong performances from Freeman and Damon (both nominated for Globes, though Damon will probably be dropped from consideration for the Oscars), but nothing revelatory. It's a feel-good film if you let it be, especially when considering the actual Mandela and his history.
An Education dir. Lone Scherfig
A completely pleasant surprise. A very pretty and well-directed film penned by Nick Hornby. The story pulls you along in familiar narrative avenues and then makes quick detours that complicate and enliven what could otherwise be a very typical teen drama. Carey Mulligan is a great discovery, and I look forward to seeing more of her. Alfred Molina also does an exceptional job. Peter Sarasgaard is at his charming best (except when his shirt is off), along with his Wildesque dandy best friend. Also a great discovery is director Lone Scherfig, whose choices I felt were unusual and compelling, particularly in choosing not to show what would normally be climactic scenes, favoring the reactions to them instead.