02 July 2012

The Good Heart (Dagur Kári)

I made my way to The Good Heart via Dagur Kári, being a fan of his 2003 movie Nói. He wrote and directed that one and wrote and directed this one. My reasons for watching the movie are similar to my reasons for watching Roadie, which I watched because I was a fan of Michael Cuesta's 2001 movie L.I.E. And, isn't the world tiny, The Good Heart reteams the duo of Paul Dano and Brian Cox, the dramatic center of L.I.E.

The man in the middle is the great-great(-great?) grandson of Jules Verne, he's trying to be a writer as well but it's a a hard shadow to stand in
The Good Heart creates a microcosm of special feelings from a NYC bar at the universe's center. Most dramatic action begins or ends here. I felt during this movie how I felt when I visited my grandparents when I was younger, that all answers and everything else were somewhere within the walls, and the antique feeling of the bar coupled with the desaturated colors enhanced this feeling.

I allowed the movie reality to replace my assumed reality. The movie rewarded me for this by behaving like a fantasy; it's the most romantic portrait of a bar I can think of, almost certainly the dreamiest depiction of small-business drudgery yet committed to cinema.

Um, that's a duck -- he's chasing after the duck, they're friends :)
The emotions come in swelling undulations. As Boudu Saved from Drowning demonstrated so long ago, the homeless make for terrific stories. In this movie Lucas (Paul Dano) is homeless when bar owner Jacques (Brian Cox) meets him in the hospital. Jacques has been hospitalized owing to his fourth or so heart-attack, and Lucas attempted suicide by wrist slashing. Funky couple? You bet.

The story from there is what you'd expect.

Warm and gooey tragedy, almost candlelit. In addition to the great-great(-great?) grandson of Jules Verne, other lively bar regulars (Jacques business wisdom: no walk-ins allowed, and having more than 13 people in the bar is discouraged) include a chimney sweep, a garbage man, a male flower shop clerk, and others, all of them charming.

The movie's title refers to a 'good' heart and a good heart, the figurative and the literal. Like having heart by being a good person, and having a heart in your chest that literally goes thump-thump-thump. When you get it you got it.

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