Rating: R, Time: 1hr 30min, Director: James Franco, Cast on IMDb
So what did you think of this film?
Seeing the 2 star rating, I think James Franco got robbed as a director. This is an absorbing film of a troubled young woman in very puritanical high society trying to recover from her parent's sudden death and as well from the restrictive society she lives in in 1893 Boston. The reason he was robbed, is this film has the perfect unfolding scenarios of ever troubling dimensions and as a bonus you really don't know where the film is going. I never saw the advertising or forgot about it and was just blown away in the story craft.
What are the elements that really add dimension?
Well, I don't want to really reveal spoilers, but the film has some true twists in the plot that you say to yourself, "where IS THIS film going!?" Parts of it are deeply disturbing. It has elements of Tom Cruise's Eyes Wide Shut, which put me to sleep without that level of boredom. The reason is you don't expect the film to turn in that direction in the first 1-2 acts.
The historical costumes are spot on and very believable. You don't feel any lack of incongruity, which pulls the film together. As well, the characters are all within the society norms of the day from the outside and even the crazy parts are within what made sense for the 1890s high society in America.
Why do you think it's so poorly reviewed?
I would say it likely is the ending, which closes full circle, but not in a way you might guess completely. It takes away all hope of resurrection of the main character Isabel Porter played by Allie Gallerini. People really like the Hollywood ending of one girl escaping BS even though this ending is much more realistic, probable and sinester.
What were the creepiest parts?
Definitely the credits. At the beginning they show these bizarre period photos from the 1890s, mixed in with recreations so you get this creepy sense as soon as the film begins. So the start is near perfect. Franco closes out the film with the real events and history tied to the real-life institute. Usually, this is kind of icing on the cake, but in this case you leave highly disturbed and unsettled, what DID happen? I really like that type of film, which is unafraid to buck some of the typical ending BS of thrillers or horror films.
The other really creepy part of the film is the participation of the nurses in the depravity of the Institute. They really give the illusion of semblance of a normal Institution and its rules and regulations. Definitely some of the nurses reinforce the reality of this world and the craziness at the same time.
How would you improve this film?
Basically just the title. Although it has this creepy ring about it, when you do the research on the film, you really cannot find the photos tied to the movie, other interviews, etc. There are 1000s of real medical facilities with the title in their name. So it is a real pain in the ass to research. Of course, this has little impact on the quality of the movie itself.
Would you ever consider a painting on this film?
I think this film has many characters to do as paintings. Of course, with the minimal ratings its likely people would ask where does this painting come from? Which film? Oh well.
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