Wonderstruck DVD review - Todd Haynes' temporal displacement leaves him at a loss
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Verdict: The Carol director flounders in this adaptation from the writer of Hugo. In Todd Haynes’ previous film, Carol (2015), cinematic ‘purity’ was woven into the film’s existence. Shot on film (Super 16 mm, no less), it brought about tones of both forgotten home movies and Hollywood romance, as much a love story between Haynes and cinema as it was Therese and Carol in the film. Yet, that purity is also there to reflect the hegemony of America’s nuclear family in the 1950s, which Therese and Carol directly contradict with their romance. For much of the film, because of the earnestness of the two characters trying to control their urges, their attraction to each other is unspoken – an undertone. Going back and examining Carol gives us an understanding of why Wonderstruck fails. Here, in the interwoven stories of two societally displaced children 50 years apart, its earnestness is a pitfall. Haynes equates simplicity in storytelling to a fable, and might have succeeded in doing so if he weren’t so obtuse about the details of the film’s narrative.
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