Boots & Sabers

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1107, 21 May 16

Sean Penn’s Movie Invites Laughter

Something about Sean Penn being laughed at brings me joy.

Sean Penn lost the audience for his newest directorial effort, The Last Face, less than a minute into its debut press screening this morning at Cannes. As the opening title cards, laid over an educational map of Africa, prepared us for action set during the second Liberian Civil War in 2003, a second set of title cards in a more lyrical italicized font flashed onscreen, comparing that crisis with the vicious tribal rebellion in South Sudan a decade later, and that conflict to “the brutality of impossible love shared by a man” — fade to black, wait for it — “… and a woman.” There was a millisecond pause for shock before much of the audience burst out laughing.


The overwrought language of Erin Dignam’s script moves right from the title cards to the opening scene, set in 2013, with Theron’s humanitarian doctor, Wren, getting ready for a big speech as her lover, Miguel (Javier Bardem), whispers reassurance that her words are “just to remind them what human nature is capable of.”


I counted at least two more times the audience broke into shocked snickers: first, when Wren jokes that she needs to “grab” someone to marry, and a fellow doctor, played by legend Jean Reno and named, really, Dr. Love, shouts back, “It is not grabbing! It is loving!” Second, when Miguel apologizes to Wren for an affair by saying, “I did tell her I loved her, but I never meant I loved her the way I love you.” There should also be a drinking game for every time Wren yells at Miguel some variant of “Love me? You don’t even know me!”

Hat tip Althouse.


1107, 21 May 2016


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