Friday, April 29, 2011

Jolene: Movie Review

An unforgettable journey.

"Jolene" is quite a film. It's about the journey of life for Jolene (Jessica Chastain), who is quite a character. A girl who was left to be raised by the authorities, she is itching to experience more of the world and be happy—the type of girl who could get hurt. But Jolene has an indescribable quality that makes people fall in love with her, lust after her, commit crimes for her and then go crazy, and generally in that order. Likelihood is they’ll get hurt instead of Jolene.2008 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Dan Ireland

Screenplay by: Dennis Yares
Based on the short story "Jolene: A Life" by E.L. Doctorow

Starring: Jessica Chastain

The film strikes a remarkable balance between the quirky, comedic charms of the characters and the somber and serious situations that Jolene gets herself into. Although, as a caveat, I do recognize the critics’ complaints that that balance can be quite jarring. The journey the film takes us on with this unforgettable character is a fascinating, funny and joyful one, but also at times, harrowing. Crimes of passion, crimes in the name of God, and crimes for money — all for Jolene — are all committed. No body is left unturned.

The path the film took to get to us is almost as tumultuous as that of its heroine. Tumbling through the small film festival circuit in 2008 and 2009, it didn’t get a distribution deal until 2010. And then it only opened in a handful of screens. But now with its DVD release, everybody can finally see this extraordinary film and extraordinary actress. Jessica Chastain is starring in Terrence Malick's highly-anticipated, masterpiece-to-be "The Tree of Life". It's time to meet this star-in-the-making in "Jolene".

“Jolene” captured my heart, and then attempted to stomp all over it, but the film leaves its mark, as does the character Jolene, as does Chastain. I’m still not exactly sure how to take it, but it was an amazing experience.
Best of 2011


Daydream Nation (2010) - The original directions that a teen girl can take when wanting to escape her life.

The Good Girl (2002) - The dark, funny and thoughtful directions that an affair can take.