Today I watched Fanny and Alexander, directed by Ingmar Bergman in 1982. It's really long, like 3 hours and 8 minutes long. I worked late today, so I didn't really get an early start on this movie. I sort of liked it - there were parts I was so into, but I just couldn't get myself focused on it and I know I need to watch it again sometime to give it a fair chance.
I hope you don't mind my summary from IMDB - I want to get to bed early so my body can heal and I can blog more awesomely for you guys! "The title characters are children in the exuberant and colorful Ekdahl household in a Swedish town early in the twentieth century. Their parents, Oscar and Emilie, are the director and the leading lady of the local theatre company. Oscar's mother and brother are its chief patrons. After Oscar's early death, his widow marries the bishop and moves with her children to his austere and forbidding chancery. The children are immediately miserable. The film dramatizes and resolves those conflicts. A sub-plot features Isak, a local Jewish merchant who is the grandmother's lover and whose odd household becomes the children's refuge," If it's not clear from the summary, most of the film is seen through the eyes of the two children, Fanny and Alexander.
I really liked that aspect of the film. Seeing the events from the eyes of the two kids was unique, and it made the events that happen really fascinating. There are some magical, mystical elements, and it's so much easier to believe because of the point of view. I guess I felt like kids sometimes see things as very magical, even if they aren't. It was like - maybe things are happening this way, or maybe it's the character's imagination. Either way, they're seeing it as magical, and it was just easier for me to think, "Well, even if it isn't happening, that's how they see it, so, it's basically happening that way," if that makes any sense.
Ebert says that the film makes him feel like he is watching another reality, and I agree. I think everything was just so richly constructed and filmed that it just felt like a whole different world. The house was strange and mysterious, magical events happen, and everything is really lavish and different looking to me. Even the first scene at Christmas seemed sort of other - I couldn't believe what a big celebration they were having, nor the huge spread of food. It was just really fascinating.
(There are a few other things I wanted to write about, things that I thought were awesome about the film, but I don't know if my blog is really the best place to bring up those topics. I'm too tired to really debate if I should do it or not, so I'm going to skip it for now, but I will amend my blog if you guys really want. It was one of those, "Maybe writing that I liked this secretly reveals more about me than probably my readers (and family) will ever want to know" so I just, uh, yeah, skipped over it. )
I wrote a lot about why I liked the movie, but overall, I wasn't really a fan - and it is 100% because of my mood. I didn't give the film a fair chance. I spent time looking up side effects to my medication and fretting. I couldn't focus as well as I normally could because I felt so off. It's really just a movie that I need to watch again, when I'm feeling better, so I can give it a fair chance. I just felt like it couldn't hold my attention very well, but keep in mind that nothing could hold my attention very well today. I don't want to just apologize for myself, but I know that I didn't really go into this movie with an open mind, you know? It just didn't really do anything for me today, probably because I was so stressed.
Have any thoughts about Fanny and Alexander? Share them in the comments!
Ebert's Great Movie Essay on Fanny and Alexander
Buy it on Amazon