Sunday, October 19, 2008

What Do You Really Want? Good Dick and Issues of Authenticity

I would like, firstly, to say that I commend this film for showing a couple we don’t usually see in films; the two actors comprising it were both equally fascinating. But I would like to say that I do think that this type of couple is just as much an "ideal"* as any other couple we see in the usual romantic comedies that star Colin Firth or Sandra Bullock.

On the film's website the director, writer and one of the main protagonist’s of the film, Marianna Palka, explains why she made the film and what she wanted to achieve. She says: “I wanted to reintroduce…the romance of a film about real people whose sexiness abounds because of their authenticity.” Now as glorious as that sounds just because they’re unconventional characters doesn’t make them "authentic". I think their emotions and sentiments are genuine and that is what makes the film so lovely and human. But I don’t want to call them authentic because I think that the characters, specifically, Jason Ritter’s character, is still a form of ideal and still unrealistic.

Now despite all this I did really enjoy the film. I enjoy the idealistic quality of the relationship we see, I am sucker for stuff like that. But as I said, I think the characters have genuine emotions and sentiments and it makes for a marvelous human quality to the film, but it's still a form of ideal and not as authentic as the author might have wanted. And I do agree with the artist when she says that: “definitions of masculinity often tend to be deformed in our culture.” It was nice to see a different projection of masculinity in this film, as Jason Ritter is a revelation in that department. The female, Palka’s character, is lovely and the first moment you see her you know she is just screaming from the inside without saying very much.

It’s hard to describe, but these characters brought something out in each other that allows them to be much more human on their own, but it was when they were together that I had a hard time keeping hold of this authenticity issue. Maybe it was the thought of them as a couple? They were fascinating, yes, and it was nice to see the risk that was taken in how the two shared their relationship, but I found it hard to believe. I don’t want to say that it shouldn’t have had a happy ending and then maybe it would have had more resonance, because I am not sure if that would be true. But it does bring up a good question about whether or not the characters would be more “authentic” if the film didn’t have a “happy” ending.

Maybe I am a bit of a cynic, but I suggest you take a look at the movie and make up your own mind. Like I said the emotions and sentiments that allow for a lovely human quality to this film abound. And it was refreshing to see this set of unique characters dealing with the questions of love and happiness. But I think the there is still a sense of ideal in the film despite its unique and unconventional qualities.

*insofar as what is unrealistic.

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