Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000) playing the Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ butthurt son Commodus, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. What’s memorable about his performance? His portrayal of a character who is, aside from his thirst for power, desperate for love and admiration, but is, unfortunately so, downright unlovable. AM I NOT MERCIFUL?!! 

Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000) playing the Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ butthurt son Commodus, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. What’s memorable about his performance? His portrayal of a character who is, aside from his thirst for power, desperate for love and admiration, but is, unfortunately so, downright unlovable. AM I NOT MERCIFUL?!! 

We go to the movies to enter a new, fascinating world, to inhabit vicariously another human being who at first seems so unlike us and yet at heart IS like us, to live in a fictional reality that illuminates our daily reality. We do not wish to escape life but to find life, to use our minds in fresh, experimental ways, to flex our emotions, to enjoy, to learn, to add depth to our days.
Robert McKee in Story - Substance, structure, style, and principles of screenwriting.
brightwalldarkroom
Every time I cried, or almost-cried, was a little different, though each contained a similar parfait of feelings: a layer of sadness (for the unreal character); a layer of hope (for the unreal character); a layer of skepticism (what does it mean to feel sadness or hope for an unreal character?); a layer of curiosity, both emotional and artistic (how have I come to feel this sadness/hope for an unreal character?); a layer of pride (I feel things so deeply I can even feel sadness/hope for an unreal character); a layer of shame (I feel more for this unreal character than I did for the homeless man I just passed in the street); another layer of shame, this one more specifically inflected by my role as a consumer (how have my emotional responses been so easily manipulated?) but also — it cannot be denied — a layer of consumer satisfaction: I am having a powerful experience, which is part of the implicit contract made between a film and its watchers. We give our time, and maybe our money, and in return we are given an experience that will somehow make us different than we were before we had it.
Leslie Jamison, "On Short Term 12 and crying at the movies” (The Los Angeles Review of Books)

This.

Absolute Beauty.

The Painted Veil (2006). Screenplay by Ron Nyswaner based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham. Directed by John Curran. This hauntingly beautiful soundtrack was composed by the wonderful Alexandre Desplat. I love this piece in particular because it captures so perfectly that deep and narcotic kind of grief that only the death of a beloved person/animal can unleash. Among the many things that make this movie worth watching are the stellar performances by both Edward Norton and Naomi Watts and the MAGICAL CINEMATOGRAPHY by Stuart Dryburgh, who paints rapturously beautiful images of 1920 rural China in lush greens and blues and soothing browns that will haunt you forever. I promise.

This movie - forever.