The final day at AFI Fest gave me a chance to finish off with two more films before I made my way home to a more reasonable schedule and eating habits. Both films played before good sized crowds for a Thursday afternoon.
Claire Denis’s Bright Sunshine In (aka Let the Sunshine In) (World Cinema section) featured Juliette Binoche as a woman who thinks love may have passed her by. She has an active sex life with married lovers and her ex-husband, but she has no one to truly share her life with. Hers is an empty, sad, and at times desperate existence. A brief ray of hope comes at the end with the thought that what she is really looking for is within her.
The ice skating soap opera that played out before the 1994 Winter Olympics is visited in I, Tonya (Special Screening) from director Craig Gillespie. The dark comedy is based on interviews with Tonya Harding, her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, and Harding’s mother. As such it often gives conflicting views of what exactly happened. The film centers on Harding and those around her. It reflects the violent and abusive life that started in her childhood and continued throughout this period. This is one of those movies that may make you think, ‘why would I want to see this?’ There is amazing acting from Margot Robbie as Harding, Alison Janney as her mother, and Sebastian Stan as Gillooly. The film brings us a humorous way of seeing some very dark parts of life, especially around domestic violence. And yet the humor in no way treats it as an acceptable option.
Next up, putting together my favorites and comparing my list to the award winners.