Connect with us
Lost Transmissions Review Lost Transmissions Review

Tribeca

Tribeca Film Festival 2019: ‘Lost Transmissions’ Portrays a Bold, Realistic Take on Mental Health

Published

on

Lost Transmissions is a low-key odyssey that explores the messy reality of caring for someone with a mental illness. Hannah (Juno Temple) is a fledging singer taken under the wing of Theo (Simon Pegg), a charismatic music producer she meets through mutual friends. In their first meeting, he asks her about the scars on her body, and she reveals that she’s on medication for depression after driving into a tree. Theo suggests she go off the prescription to access her creativity and passion, proclaiming he doesn’t believe in pharmaceuticals for mental health. Hannah asserts that she’s keeping herself safe by taking them. Taken by her talent, Theo decides to help her launch a music career; charmed by his wild, charismatic energy, Hannah finds the lively friend and mentor she’s been looking for. After a few magical months of recording an album and connecting Hannah with a major record label, Theo begins acting odd. He descends into a full psychotic break. Hannah gets an education in how poorly her friends deal with mental illness when they finally get around to revealing the truth to her after he’s gone off his meds.

Based on a true story, Lost Transmissions is aptly named. Shot mostly hand-held, it’s a no-frills immersion into the complicated world of mental health. A Hollywood version of this story would have its characters diligently researching how to help a friend through a psychotic break, having long-educated discussions on how to safely help their friend who’s gone off his meds, and knowing exactly how to deal with someone who has paranoid schizophrenia after in-depth Google searches, support meetings, and listening to enlightening podcasts about mental illness. Lost Transmissions chooses instead to show what actually happens most of the time. No one does any research, everyone thinks they know how to handle it without any real education on mental illness, and frankly, everyone is just too busy with their own lives to deal with it. Often the person most invested in care has her own mental health struggles, which can be either helpful, disastrous, or both. It also neither deifies or villanizes Theo. He’s brilliant, caring, and kind, and also knows exactly what to say to not get himself committed, even when he’s having a total breakdown that leaves his friends to desperately chase him around LA some more. This happens in the real world all the time, and is rarely put on film in such a balanced way.

Lost Transmissions is bold in its avoidance of polishing itself up to be more entertaining. Though it’s painful and infuriating to watch how poorly people deal with Theo, it’s also accurate. For instance, Theo’s friends send him home with Hannah to live alone with her, a woman half his age, while he’s off his meds, making him violent and unpredictable (they actually forget there’s a restraining order against Theo), because no one else wants to deal with him. There’s another scene where Theo is upset about going to the psychiatric hospital and pins the arms of his friend driving him, and nearly crashes the car, despite a pregnant woman in the back seat with him. All the driver does is shame Theo, as if he’s just being an unreasonable, mean child who can control himself but refuses to. That few people know how to safely deal with a friend having a psychotic break and never do any research about it is common, and it’s great that someone made a movie about it.

Simon Pegg and Juno Temple are both excellent as two oddly-matched friends battling mental health issues. Pegg has earned himself a place of royalty in sci-fi franchise and genre franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek, the super nerd whose wildest dreams came true (not to mention being Tom Cruise’s sidekick in Mission Impossible films). While his deep geeky knowledge has contributed to beloved franchise films being better, it’s great to see him step into a meaty, serious role where his talent as an actor gives Theo real substance. It’s also interesting to see him play a man who believes he’s lost in a sci-fi plot, because Pegg’s career is based on his passion for sci-fi culture. It brings complexity to the character that another actor likely couldn’t get to. Juno Temple also gives it her all as Hannah in a bold, passionate performance.

The film does get wobbly towards the end, and veers into neatly tied, unrealistic conclusions. Theo’s choices in London, to suddenly choose positive self-care out of nowhere by himself, is confusing and out of sync. There is also a scene where Hannah guilts a woman for not having adequate compassion for a much older, violent man who’s stalking her. “He is suffering and you can help him,” she weeps, making the other woman feel like a jerk for having the nerve to put her personal safety above a person who won’t take responsibility for his serious mental health issues. That this dangerous, ill-advised strategy seems to magically be the only thing that works, impresses the idea that young women should just love the dangerous men who harass them more.

This film could have also used a little more work. Often the dialogue is wooden and unrealistic; there are very few conversations that feel like anything people would actually say. This is especially disorienting with the film’s naturalistic, hand-held cinematography. A great editor could have vastly improved the tightness of the movie.

However, Lost Transmissions still has a lot of refreshing things to say about the realistic state of mental health issues. It’s assertion that not doing anything to educate oneself about a loved one’s suffering, although common, can cause more harm than good. It can be an uncomfortable watch, mainly because most people are guilty of telling a mentally ill person the completely wrong thing. And while things are vastly better than they were even twenty years ago, a lot of important information is still getting lost. (Ivy Lofberg)

The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 24 to May 5. Visit the official website for more details.

Tribeca

Tribeca Film Festival 2019: ‘Maiden’ is as Inspirational as it Gets

Published

on

Maiden Film Review

The Whitbread Round the World sailing race was strictly a men’s sport — not because there were any rules against women racing, but because it was just assumed that they weren’t capable of doing it. The longest open-sea yachting race in the world, involving months on the ocean with an experienced crew, just wasn’t a place for women. That is, until Tracy Edwards came along. Maiden documents the 1990 race that made history, with the first all-female crew to participate. As riveting as any thriller, the story is cinematic gold; it has all the sheer excitement of big-budget Hollywood movie, but retains its grounded warmth via interviews with the crew interspersed throughout.

A twenty-four year-old cook in charter boats, Tracy Edwards knew she had to race in Whitbread the moment she heard about it. She was begrudgingly accepted onto one boat as the cook, but was rarely allowed to leave her station, and was reminded throughout the long journey that the actual racing part wasn’t for women. Tracy got the message — if she were to race, she would have to put her own all-female crew together. Maiden tells the story of the inception of this crew, as well as their unbelievable sea voyage across the world. From having to buy a second-hand boat then rebuild it, to knowing bets were being waged on how quickly they would fail, this adventure story is a crowd-pleasing gem.

It’s a blessing that Maiden is a documentary instead of a feature film, as the story of these extraordinary women is epic enough as it is, and a narrative film might have lost the poignancy of what these women were actually doing. To hear their actual voices describe the magnitude of what they had undertaken, set against the unfolding of the events that took place, gives the film the emotional weight it deserves. It also lets Edwards be human rather than a wooden caricature of stoic strength and perfect leadership, She struggles with the enormity of the risk, and isn’t always cool or nice or easy to be around. By letting Tracy be a real person, the film presents an inspiring message to women everywhere that it’s better to go ahead and do something than sit idly by, even if it’s terrifying and overwhelming most of the time — and especially if you aren’t always likable.

Maiden is a nimble documentary, and nothing feels heavy or dragged on; the story unfolds with all the adventure naturally built-in. The women faced not only severe stigma, but also the reality of possible death at sea, and this documentary captures that brilliantly. The ending is so Hollywood that even Hollywood wouldn’t be able to pull it off. That it’s the documented reality makes Maiden a story that was made to tell on film.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 24 to May 5. Visit the official website for more details.

Continue Reading

Tribeca

Tribeca Film Festival 2019: ‘Ask Dr. Ruth’ is a Beautifully Crafted Love Letter to a Historical Figure

Published

on

Ask Dr. Ruth Review

The moment anyone begins to educate about the mechanics of sex in a thick German accent, there’s only one person they could be imitating: Dr. Ruth Westheimer; few voices are more iconic. Director Ryan White (Serena, Good Ol’ Freda) is given unprecedented access into the personal life of the legendary sex therapist, artfully blending the biography of her astounding private and professional life.

Though she’s one of the most famous therapists in the world, few know her life story. Born in 1928 in Germany, as the only child of an Orthodox Jewish family, she spent the majority of her childhood in an orphanage in Switzerland — a choice that would make her the only surviving member of her family from the Holocaust. Lyrical, sweet animations illustrate this past, and I was struck by what a great idea that was; telling the story of a person whose love for sexuality started in childhood isn’t an easy task. It does great justice to Dr. Ruth’s impassioned, lifelong message that human sexuality is natural, innate, and wholesome. Her life is actually even more provocative than the boldness of her teaching style. She was a sniper, almost lost both her feet from a bombing, and learned English from reading romance novels. Her journey to becoming famous for talking about sex is genuinely extraordinary, and at ninety years old, she’s still busier than most people.

Ask Doctor Ruth

She is also fully aware that her adorable, grandmotherly appearance gives her the power to say things most people wouldn’t, and she has used that power to revolutionize how sexuality gets talked about. The film gives obligatory nods to Dr. Ruth’s critics, but thankfully chooses to focus primarily on the woman herself, as well as the positive impact she’s made on the lives of millions. In her revolutionary approach to view political issues from a doctor’s clinical perspective, she naturally became a seminal figure in women’s reproductive rights, AIDS education, and LGBTQ rights. Sexually Speaking, the radio show that changed everything and the immediate fame that followed, reminds us that there was a time when no one talked about what went on in the bedroom in an educational way. And there’s still no one like Dr. Ruth. With the dizzying abundance of sex tips available now, she’s still the grandmother no one knew they needed.

This is a delightful, feel-good (I couldn’t resist) movie. With more historical women getting their due with quality documentaries, thank goodness this one happened while Dr. Ruth is still alive (my favorite scenes are the outtakes during the credits where she’s constantly trying to feed White while he’s filming). To watch her ferociously generous, joyous spirit is an uplifting good time at the movies.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 24 to May 5. Visit the official website for more details.

Continue Reading

Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Georgetown’ shines as Christoph Waltz’s Directorial Debut

Published

on

It’s little surprise that the directorial debut of Christoph Waltz, star of films like Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, would center around the story of a masterful and complicated psychopath. Georgetown tells the story of the marriage between Ulrich Mott (Waltz) and Elise Brecht (Vanessa Redgrave), based on the 2012 New York Times article “The Worst Marriage in Georgetown.”

Ulrich is a skilled, eccentric social climber who woos a successful journalist named Elise, forty years his senior, into marriage shortly after the death of her husband. Amanda (Annette Benning) is the only one in Elise’s circle immune to Mott’s charm, but this is not much good to her against a player as masterful as Ulrich. Complicating matters is Elise herself, who quickly proves her proclamation to Amanda that she wasn’t born yesterday. Seeing thru Ulrich’s calculated usefulness, she decides to put him to use for her own gains in acts of political genius; he is her shameless, enthusiastic pawn. What follows is a marriage of two formidable players — immigrants who understand a thing or two about survival — bound together through the complications of having to remake themselves in a new country.

However, one underestimates the lengths the other will go to avoid being called an idiot. Both legendary actors, Waltz and Redgrave make a very terrible marriage wildly entertaining to watch, without sacrificing the depth of danger they are both in. Annette Benning is excellent as a gravitational force that pierces each scene with the sobriety of impending, unavoidable tragedy.

Georgetown Movie

Waltz has the rare ability to defy type-casting while deeply exploring a similar kind of guy: the wolf in sheep’s clothing — or said another way, the man who believes in the right to his own lies. Like his scene-stealing characters, the director seduces the audience into a dazzling, dizzying world that makes it easy to see why his psychopaths are so successful. This movie is a lot of fun, unapologetically very smart, and very dark. The wolfish, gleeful fun Waltz brings to his performances is put to excellent use behind the camera; Waltz knows how to entertain. On full display here is his ability to reveal with frightening precision how dangerous leaders come into power. He embodies Mott with an almost supernatural seductive power in one scene, and reveals the small frightened vulnerability that drives him in the next. He reminds us that monsters are often metaphors for real people; Mott could easily sport a set of fangs while remaining all too tragically human. Waltz delivers an impressive debut and marks himself as a director to watch. (Ivy Lofberg)

The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 24 to May 5. Visit the official website for more details.

Continue Reading

Film

Tribeca Film Festival 2018: ‘Time for Ilhan’ Highlights American Politics at its Best

Published

on

Time for Ilhan

History was made in the 2016 U.S. elections when Ilhan Omar was elected as the first Somali-American Muslim legislator, taking a seat as a Minnesota State Representative. That she’s a woman and an immigrant is especially powerful given the current political climate. In Time for Ilhan, Director Norah Shapiro follows Omar from the beginning of her campaign to its celebratory conclusion.

Time for Ilhan intimately documents the journey of her political campaign, highlighting the unwavering dedication and devoted team necessary to stay afloat. Recognized as a leader in her community and eager to participate in the demographic opportunities of the US, Omar made the bold move to be a first in many categories of government legislator.

Knowing the outcome of her story didn’t detract from enjoying a front row seat to what it took to get there. The lush, funky soundtrack announces that Time for Ilhan isn’t going to be a dull, stodgy history lesson; these are people on the move. Ilhan radiates a serenity, confidence, kindness, and necessary good-humor that remains during even the ugliest moments of battle. Her story unfolds as the election progresses: her mother was a trailblazer in Somalia, dying from prolonged illness when Ilhan was a child. Her family spent years in a refugee camp and took an opportunity to move to America, choosing Minnesota because it’s known as a welcoming state for refugees. Omar runs against Phyllis Kahn, who has held the seat for over 40 years, and is seen by the rising immigrant population as out of touch with the changing needs of the community. Ilhan’s husband takes a leave of absence from work to care for their children, and a passionate, experienced political team rallies behind her, solidifying that this is her moment to own her capacity as a leader. Her historical journey redefines what a politician looks like on every level.

This was the best film I saw at the Tribeca Film Festival this year. It goes beyond political parties to reinvigorate a love for what American politics can do at it’s very best. It’s an important film. It simply tells the story of a woman with a dream who took it all the way to a House Seat with a clean, inspiring campaign. Time for Ilhan is a documentary not to be missed.

 

Continue Reading

Film

Tribeca Film Festival 2018: ‘Blue Night’ Celebrates the Relationship Between an Artist and Her City

Published

on

Blue Night Movie

The morning before a major performance at New York’s legendary Birdland Jazz Club, Vivienne (Sarah Jessica Parker) receives a devastating medical diagnosis. She struggles to process the news that day as she attends rehearsal, plans a tour with her manager (Common), gives an interview, handles a visit from her mother (Jacqueline Bisset), and visits her ex-husband and child. Her only true comfort is found in New York City as she reflects on her past and present life there.

With Blue Night, director Fabien Constant (Mademoiselle C) creates an intimate portrait that celebrates what film can do best: tell an entire life story through the lens of a single day. Sarah Jessica Parker, in her first film in three years, gives a revelatory performance. Her ability to express comfort with all the modern complications of love and relationships allows Vivienne to be completely and satisfyingly known in just a single day spent with her.

Manhattan is also a main character in Blue Night, showing off the city in ways that are fresh and elegant (I was dying to know where these scenes were shot!). As Executive Producer, Parker’s influence in presenting the Big Apple as a central character is beautifully realized. Vivienne’s relationship to NYC in her darkest hour is so relatable; it’s not just the people in her life that provide the greatest comfort; its her city that truly loves her back. To be able to translate this ephemeral truth onto film is no small task, but Blue Night wisely does so by scaling its story down to the pivotal day in Vivienne’s life where the things that provide the deepest comfort will be non-negotiable.

The best thing about Blue Night is its focus on the life of a woman as an Artist. In choosing only one scene where actually Vivenne performs, the film asserts it isn’t really about touting Parker’s talent as a singer — she really could have been a successful artist in anything and it would have been the same film. The jazz soundtrack brings her passion fully to life, where she often escapes the chaos by folding herself into music. Blue Night is a quietly bold film, painting an honest, touching portrait of a woman who made the choices that were most authentic for her happiness.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 18 to April 29. Visit the official Tribeca Film Festival website for more info.

Continue Reading
Freelance Film Writers

Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Film, TV, Anime and Comic writers.

Contact us: Editor@GoombaStomp.com

Advertisement

Trending

Share
Tweet
Reddit
Pin