What is it about epic, tragic, period romances that turn me into mush? It seems to happen a lot, and this is most assuredly not an exception.
It's, for lack of a better term, perfect. Everything in it and about it is on a level that feels odd to witness, at least for me. It's beautifully elegiac and poignant, two things I have seen in films, but never in this manner. Also, I could never understand how this was apparently automatically deemed lesser Scorsese and never talked about, and now I'm even more confused. Same thing with The Last Temptation. Just because they're different to most of the rest of his filmography, how does that make them not on the same level as them, especially when they seem to be two of his most excellent films? I don't know, maybe I'm being too naive about it, or I'm focusing on reasons that aren't the cause. But whatever those actual reasons are, they're very stupid.
The way it was made is it's shining glory, I think. The costumes, the art direction, the cinematography, the editing, the writing, the direction are ALL completely excellent. They're all looped together too, and they create a very delicate visual extravaganza, but it's never obvious enough in the ways you would expect a film described as such to be that you'd ever say it was one. But it is.
Then there are, of course, the performances. OMG?! Day-Lewis and Pfeiffer, always excellent, are EXCELLENT. And Ryder (the only person nominated for this WTF?) is, like, unimaginably subtle, and it works beautifully. That she almost won for this has always made me giggle, but DANG IT, she would've deserved it immensely. Never thought I'd say that...
In short, I loved it. A lot. So, so much. An incredible amount. I WANT TO HAVE IT'S BABIES. Srsly.
VD Grade: ★★★★★ (out of five)