December 31, 2013.

This blog is now closed. After three years and 311 posts, I have decided to end this blog. I have enjoyed watching the films, reviewing them, and interacting with global readers.

If you are interested in contacting me, you can do so by commenting on any of the posts. The blog will remain live on the web.
Thank you to all the readers for your comments, ideas, and thoughts. They were helpful, stimulating, and enriching. This is Alene, signing off.

November 2, 2013

Admission (2013)

When it’s over, Admission is a good film, but it is not great. It's greatest fault is its indecision on what genre it falls into. Is it a drama, a comedy, a romance, or all three? There are elements of all three, but most of it leans toward drama. There are the occasional slapstick scenes by comedian Tina Fey, which shifts the film into comedy-mode, and this is distracting as it changes the mood of the entire film. There is a budding love story, and for the most part, it works well. Portia (Fey) is an admissions officer for Princeton University, who falls for the teacher (Paul Rudd) of a gifted student (Nat Wolff) whose application she is reviewing. To complicate matters, the student may be the son she secretly gave up for adoption years ago. This knowledge has Portia bending rules and taking risks she never thought she would. There are a lot of themes addressed in the film relating to family, betrayal, equality, and taking a leap of faith - all of which can succeed as a comedy, but definitely would work better as a stand-alone dramatic piece, which would mean changing the lead casts. Fey and Rudd are decent together, but do not expect fireworks. They are awkward and sweet, in their clumsy way, and help to move the relationship along. But, it is not the relationships between the characters that I remember most about the film. It is the setting and the concept of due process of acceptance (or not) into a prestigious university that keeps my attention. There is something interesting (most likely exaggerated by the filmmakers) about what happens to student applications as they are passed from hand to hand, as they are scrutinized in detail, and as they compete for the coveted acceptance letter from the office of admissions.

My rating: 3 out of 5

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