Directed and Written by: Terrence Malick
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezk
Produced by: Sarah Green, Nicolas Gonda, Ken Kao
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Lykke Li, Val Kilmer.
Song To Song is a series of moments captured up close and pieced together to create a love story.
There’s minimal dialogue with the thread woven by the voice-overs of the main characters: BV (Ryan Gosling), Cook (Michael Fassbender), Faye (Rooney Mara) and Rhonda (Natalie Portman).
I had to find my way out of you, to life.
It wasn’t an easy film to watch as the many moments are made through different shots, angles and movement, switching perspectives to show light casting shadows, to leaves swirling in water; the affection of lovers through hands intertwined, socked feet being bitten, a smile or thoughts voiced-over a stare.
I tried to be kind. It only made me colder.
Director and writer Terrence Malick has reached for the stars with this film. Creating something aesthetically beautiful but also self-conscious.
It was like the camera was left to roll, then all the good bits taken and edited into a story that was decided later.
By making a film this way, there’s natural moments of wonder and laughter but it also felt like the actors were self-aware.
Ryan Gosling shone as BV – the warmth of this nature and ready grin making me almost jealous of Rooney Mara as Faye. I really didn’t like her character at the beginning of the film – that coy, little girl act, grating.
But as the film progressed, I was immersed into the story gaining a better understanding of the character, Faye.
They travel around (with Faye in toe, of course) to places like Mexico and many other different houses and spaces including music festivals.
There’s cameo appearances from the likes of Anthony Keidis, Iggy Pop and Pattie Smith as themselves. Yet, BV, Cook and Faye kept in character (somewhat), trying to keep that loose storyline – the narrative sacrificed to include some cool footage into the film.
I’m all for the aesthetics but it made some parts of the film unnecessary as the fluidity of the story was lost to include the beautiful and poetic.
Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman make an appearance on the fringes of the film, the story losing itself amongst other people, only to find itself again with BV and Faye, making the journey moving, annoying, boring and sometimes completely absorbing.
It’s a different kind of movie. I think the film has taken itself too seriously and yet, not seriously enough.
Malick has created a film like an art installation. Like Andy Warhol filming actresses while interviewing them as they did whatever they wanted as long as it was interesting. There’s the same feel here. But revolving around the theme of sex and love – some parts worked, some didn’t.
I appreciated the reach and push made of this stellar cast. I just wish it didn’t feel so pretentious.