Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Jan 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Movie With Might

Jolie shines in ‘A Mighty Heart’

mightyWatching a woman wail for her just-pronounced dead husband gets to you. How could it not? And when the woman in question has just undergone a five-week ordeal, trying to find her kidnapped husband, you can’t help but get emotional when watching her breakdown. This pivotal scene happens at the end of A Mighty Heart, which opens at the Nick and stars Angelina Jolie in an understated, spellbinding performance as Mariane Pearl, the woman whose husband is killed in the film.

OK, so you know how it ends—it was in the papers a few years ago, and the real-life Mariane wrote a book about the tragedy. But that doesn’t take away from experiencing the movie in all of its depth and haunting twists and turns.

Knowing that Jolie is a “movie star” might make it seem impossible to move beyond her visage, and allow her to become someone else. But that doesn’t happen here. In A Mighty Heart, Jolie shows off what a profoundly talented actor she is—one at the height of her game.

The mother to four children takes on a heavy French/Cuban accent, dons brown contacts, puts on a wig and embodies the actions, voice, behaviors and resilience of the true Mariane. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jolie starts to get some Oscar buzz.

While we know the ultimate direction the movie must take, the path there is tense and chaotic, and director Michael Winterbottom walks us through it in such a manner that you feel like you’re stuck in a taxi in the heart of Pakistan, where the film takes place.

It’s there that the Pearls are sent as journalists. Daniel (Dan Futterman) is working for the Wall Street Journal. He “finds” a lead on a story about Richard Reid, the notorious shoe bomber. But things quickly go awry, and by the next morning, he hasn’t returned home. He continues to go missing and Mariane rallies her colleagues, the local police and others, to investigate his whereabouts and attempt to find his captors.

The movie jumps right into the story, on the day when Daniel goes to meet his sketchy source for a story. From there, we watch as Mariane and the others gather research to find her husband.

Things move fast, the editing is choppy and raw, giving us a docudrama sense of actually being in Pakistan, watching it all go down. We see the reporters outside, hoping for a picture of Mariane. We watch the news reports announcing that Daniel is missing. The news has traveled fast, but the ongoing search for Daniel remains slow. Eventually, the police get some reliable direction and discover who may be responsible for his capture.

Toward the end of the film, things take the inevitable tragic turn that we know is coming: A videotape is handed over, revealing Daniel’s death by beheading. And then Mariane must be told. Pure heartbreak.

The movie, reportedly, was a huge undertaking for its star, Jolie, who had befriended Mariane and her son, Adam. Jolie has acknowledged in interviews that it was of the utmost importance for her to portray Mariane and the story correctly. It appears that she did just that.

A Mighty Heart has a vulnerable, raw feel to it. Much like Babel, which came out last year, it  offers political messages, told by way of the human spirit. In Babel, a fictional tale, an American woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In A Mighty Heart, Daniel is most likely targeted because he’s an American Jew, and his captors think he may be connected to the CIA. Both are tragic stories. Ultimately, at the heart of both films, is the love between a husband and wife.

A MIGHTY HEART
***1/2  (out of four)
With Angelina Jolie and Dan Futterman. Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Rated R. 100 minutes.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots