April 1, 2005 - by callmeishmael
Ok, I'll repost here what I wrote in the San Francisco screening (March 29th) thread.
I hope it will be of some use to other skeptics like I am - or, better, "was"
I was really afraid that I would be disappointed, because I usually don't like cheesy or sappy movies. I feared that HoD might belong to that category... It doesn't!
It's a great little movie. I found it so European in taste that I was pleasantly surprised. Actually, it's like watching the New York version of "Cinema Paradiso" by Giuseppe Tornatore, one of the best Italian movies ever made.
If you liked that movie, you'll adore this one too. They are so similar in their approach to the transition passage between childhood and adulthood. The characters and the stories are different, bet the interaction dynamics are almost identical.
DD has a great narrative talent, he's a great storyteller and he was finally given the chance to display it at his best. Also excellent was his use of visual imagery: very symbolic but very accessible to any kind of public, not only consumed indie movie-goer.
In conclusion, it's a highly enjoyable movie. Not a masterpiece, IMHO, but still a great little movie that showed us (and the critics, I hope) that DD has a huge potential as a writer and director.
To be very honest, I was amazed at how Tea Leoni portrayed her character. Dramatic, but not too over the lines. She was simply perfect, and I said that in all earnest. I've never been a big fan of her. I liked her in Hollywood Endings and People I Know, but she's never been one my fave actresses. In HoD she was stunning. Her performance was so powerful. Just like the one by Erykah Badu.
Robin Williams was his usual histrionic self: wherever you cast him, he is in the part.
As for Anton Yelchin, well, I guess he doesn't really need my comment. DD said it all in his last blog entry.
What else can I add? Go and see the movie and judge for yourself.