Friday, June 03, 2005

Spanglish is Magnifico!

(:)(:)(:)(:) for Spanglish just reviewed on DVD. It's been a helluva month and I haven't prioritized the blog lately, but let me say I had NO idea how good a movie this was. I just thought it'd be decent hollywood fluff. Wrong. This movie is beautifully acted and written.

I don't have time to do it justice right now, but a few thoughts. The highlights: Adam Sandler and his character are magnificient. Who knew that Adam Sandler could act? Certainly not I. That is one of the best-written most complex characters I've ever seen for a man--3 dimensions is not enough to cover it. Tea Leoni is always good, but she's spectacular in this especially as she takes a character that could have been simply despicable and makes her 3-dimensional human, draws us in compassionately to her world. Cloris Leachman as her mother is also marvelous.

My only beef with this film, and it's a biggie, is that while the anglo family is marvelous, the Mexican mother and daughter are considerably less fully drawn characters--you get some of their complexity but it's very much from the anglo gaze in. Glenn Backes points out to me that the poster for the film does the same thing--you see the anglos in full form, the maid and her daughter hazy. Maybe it's a sophisticated statement of some kind by the filmmaker/screen writer, but I doubt it. Probably the limitations of their viewpoint coupled with laziness.

2 comments:

Vince Marchand said...

We also really enjoyed Spanglish. Hope you played around with the extra features on the dvd -- watching the deleted scenes with the commentary on was great -- they deleted some very good scenes with Tea Leoni. If I had time, I would've liked to watch the entire movie again with the commentary on.

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend Punch Drunk Love as another excellent Adam Sandler movie. Lighter fare, but still enjoyable Adam Sandler flicks, are Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates, but both co-star Drew Barrymore, which is an understandable dealbreaker for some people...

-- Vince

Anonymous said...

Punch Drunk Love is a fabulous movie--way better than Spanglish, and Adam Sandler is, oh how shall I say. . . a revelation.

Re: Spanglish--check out lengthy NYT article about tension between Tea Leoni and James Brooks during the making of the movie. The article's point is that her character was written as a complete demon, that she valiantly struggled to humanize her, that Brooks gave her a very difficult time--and the theory is that it is because he was going through (or had just gone through) a horrible divorce.