A wonderfully acted, thought-provoking movie, Barry Levinson’s 1982 Diner delves into the minds of young people and focus on the apparent dichotomy between the natural inclination towards rebellion and the necessity of conforming to a life of acceptance and responsibility.
The young characters in Levinson’s Diner are at the threshold of modern times. As the end of the 50s signals the twilight of innocence, the friends at the centre of this coming-of-age tale begin contemplating changes which will affect their lives in unparalleled ways. More remarkable still is the fact that not only those people and their world were at the cusp of a profoundly shift in contemporary mores, but the actors involved in the film were also at the dawn of their stardom. Continue reading →
Awkwardly funny for some but definitively uncomfortable viewing for most, Todd Solondz’s 1998 Happiness – this haunting Freudian movie – deals with difficult subjects such as masturbation and paedophilia by cracking open American suburban angst in a non-judgemental way.
The themes explored in Solondz’s Happiness are so extremely hard to swallow that these might distract viewers from an obvious thread permeating the entire movie: those seeking happiness will forget about living and thus end up miserable. All the main characters in the film seem to be going through emotional rollercoasters; all of them, deeply unhappy, even the ones faking some sort of normality. It is inevitable that at the core of these characters’ problems sits your typical family, for as Philip Larkin knew well, ‘they fuck you up, your mum and dad.’