The Invisible Circus (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|I've written so much about the
60's in the past that I'm sick of thinking about them.
Like one of the characters in this film, I'd rather turn
my back and leave them behind, but Hollywood doesn't seem
to want me to do that.
Here's the quick facts. What we think of as the 60's - the hippie times, the anti-war movement, the peace and love and brotherhood slogans, the psychedelic clothing, the acid rock, the new sexual freedom. the whole counter-cultural revolution - it really began in the summer of 1967 and ended in the summer of 1974 when Nixon handed in his resignation. To tell you the truth, the real fire had burned out even sooner. The McGovern campaign was probably the dying gasp of the movement.
But the next half-generation, our younger brothers and sisters, the high school kids we taught when we became young teachers, they seemed to hold the entire era in awe and treat it with a symbolic reverence that it didn't really deserve. This movie is about both perspectives. The older sister who lived the sixties, and the younger sister who tried to understand why it all led to her sister's suicide.
|The "present' of the film is 1976, and the younger sister (Jordana Brewster) takes off to Europe, to re-trace the route that led her beloved older sister (Cameron Diaz) to change somehow from the smiling and loving free spirit she knew, to someone capable of suicide. She tracks down the older sister's boyfriend (Christopher Eccleston), and enlists his aid in the recreation of big sister's journey into the sixties. The movie is basically his narrative as he recalls the saga of the older sister for the benefit of the younger sister, and himself.||
|It seems that way back in 1967-69,
everything just happened so fast. First Cameron was
entranced by street magicians in her house, and her
awareness that the world around her was changing. Then
what seemed like a week later, Cam and Eccleston were in
Amsterdam getting their politics radicalized, and a few
months after that, Cam was enlisted into Euroterrorism
groups, in which she was packin' a 38, robbin' banks, and
blowin' up embassies. Finally, Cam had a great revelation
- "hey, killing innocent people to protest the US
government's killing of innocent people may not make a
lot of sense. In fact, it actually shows that we believe
killing innocent people is OK, as long as we are the ones
to decide which innocent people." When Cam realized
how she had lost her moral compass, she went back to
Eccleston, they went on one more trip together, and a
guilt-ridden Cam ultimately jumped off a cliff in
If they had stuck with Cam's tale, the movie might have been a lot better. But here's where it got artificial - Eccleston only revealed the story in bits and pieces (presumably because he still couldn't deal with it), so Eccleston and the younger sister ended up tracing Cam's footsteps all the way to that cliff in Portugal, and only then did Eccleston reveal the dramatic secret even though, of course, he knew it all along.
If he had just told her the full story back in Amsterdam, there wouldn't have been any movie. More important, Eccleston and the younger sister wouldn't have had a chance to form the beast with two backs, and we couldn't have seen a bunch of phony-baloney redemptive love, and that kind of Hollywood stuff. Brewster and Eccleston do finally pair up and make nice-nice, Brewster finds out that her sister killed herself because she couldn't handle the guilt of her own involvement in terrorist acts, and everyone grows just a little bit, gosh darn it.
So if you were born after 1956, and thus missed all the good stuff in the 60's, don't be tempted to trace your older sister's footsteps and try to understand the period. Here it is in a nutshell. Uncle Scoopy's Cliff's Notes on the 60's.
|The movie was raped by
the critics, and lasted about 14 minutes at the box
office, despite beautiful locations and four capable
stars (the fourth is Blythe Danner as the mother of the
That probably tells you what you need to know about the script, if you hadn't already figured it out.
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