WATCHING JUDE LAW
I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU NOT — An Admirable Try That Never Quite Works
And a major reason it doesn’t is the character of Daisy as written and as played by Claire Danes. She too often misses the fey quality of the character. She is supposed to be a sprite like her grandmother; but the writing combines her feyness with her late adolescent bad manners and natural self-centeredness to make her at times almost as unlikable to us as she is to most of her classmates — a somewhat unbelievable bunch in a strange and nonexistent New York.
There is a moment in the film when Daisy describes Ethan (Jude Law) to her grandmother as perfect. And he is. This is one of Law’s early films — Wilde is another example — where he was chosen for his extraordinary youthful beauty. He looks the part. When a friend tells him that every girl on the school’s playing field is “after your jock,” he believes it — and so do we. But his acting is right up there with his looks. I recall a critic writing of Rita Hayworth in Separate Tables and remarking that it takes an actress of considerable depth to portray shallowness so well. Law perfectly captures the shallowness of his man — not mean, even having some admirable feelings and occasional good intentions, but lacking any depth of mind or heart. SPOILER ALERT: The ending which is suddenly, wrenchingly real is in part a result of Daisy’s inflexibility but also of the shallowness of Ethan, so well done by Law.
As Nana the grandmother, Jeanne Moreau, even dubbed, is radiant.
When a teacher brings to the class a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, the questions from the American students at the end of her presentation are jarringly right: “Did you ever get to meet Hitler?” “Were you sorry you weren’t a Christian?”
I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU NOT
written & directed by Billy Hopkins
NEXT FRIDAY POST JANUARY 29
See you at the movies,