June 18th, 2012 12:01 EST
MOVIE REVIEW: Restless
MY RATING: * * * 1/2 (out of * * * *)
BRIEF SYNOPSIS (spoiler free): Girl meets boy at a funeral, where they befriend each other, forming a peculiar and enchanting bond through their experiences of death.
PROS: I suspect I`m coming dangerously close to spoiler territory, but these are important points worth noting. Enoch briefly died in the car crash that killed his parents, becoming pre-occupied with death, becoming a funeral crasher... where he meets Emma, a terminal cancer patient with three months to live. She respects life; while he disrespects death. He, though living, is focused on dying, and goes through life as if already dead-- until he meets her. She, though dying, is focused on living, and lives her life as if she isn`t soon to die. She is ok with her death, he is not. She worships Darwin, who is dead, but whose work studied life. His best friend is the ghost of a kamikaze pilot. Story and characters are endearing and charming. The many multi-meta reflections and representations of death in the face of life are imaginative and fascinating. Poetry in motion.
Henry Hopper and Mia Wasikowska are perfectly matched, with wonderful chemistry. She and he are two sides of an enigmatic coin that complement each other. Every relationship and response within is fully authentic to the characters and the story, and totally believable. Nothing gratuitous or contrived or false.
This is not just a love story, but a life story. A celebration of life in death.
CONS: Too much kissing; which is a too clichÃ© expression of affection that did not suit the innocence of their relationship, which should have their love expressed in other mote subtle and sublime ways. I would have also preferred more philosophical exploration and commentary on death and dying/ life and living.
RECOMMENDATION: See this movie! A brilliant and beautiful contemplation or meditation on death. As far as I can tell, this movie did everything narratively right. However, Restless is, for me, a kind of movie that is outstanding, and yet, despite its greatness, is not one that I feel a need to own or see again any time soon. Definitely worth seeing at least once.