A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

“A Life Less Ordinary” (1997)

IMDb

expectations

This is not a good film. It’s enjoyable according to a number of things you can get from many other films. Conventional comedy values built around romantic stories. Escapism in recognizable form for anyone vaguely used to Hollywood.

But this is a little bit more than that. It’s part of a trilogy of films featuring a trilogy of interesting artists: Boyle/Hodge/McGregor. This set of films was important for it established the basis of 2 interesting and important careers (Hodge in the meanwhile seems to have deviated from interesting stuff, let’s hope he comes back). What they did was what one might call experimentalism, or even theoretical experiments leaked onto practical products. Of the 3 films, this is probably the less interesting. It’s not especially entertaining, and even as an experiment it’s not especially interesting. The point was to pick up a specific genre, romantic comedy in this case, and twist it or at least give it a new edge. The result falls a lot behind what, say, the Coens did in Intolerable Cruelty.

Still, McGregor would become a powerful actor, one of the best, and Boyle is always worthwhile no matter what he does, and he’s done some impressive stuff since. So, this film becomes a sort of an historical artifact if you want to do archaeological research of their careers.

What you learn here is that from the beginning Boyle trusts his intuition, and that vein prevails over how he rationalizes his film conceptions. Those intuitions may be really powerful or come to nothing (like here), but he’s always willing to take the chance, and i appreciate him for that, i’ll want to see anything from him. And you learn that McGregor, already back here was self-conscious as an actor. He knows he’s acting, so the question is not so much to be “real” (as an obscene amount of actors always try to) but to deliver the acting while acknowledging it. That’s probably the more fundamental theme of the art in the last century. As far as cinema acting goes, Ewan McGregor may be its state of art.

But this film, unless you place it in the perspective of their makers future, is pretty much useless.

My opinion: 2/5

This comment on IMDb

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