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Oregon, a small town near the sea, around 1870. Henry, a grieving man who aspires to preach as a way to overcome his unfortunate past, reunites with eccentric pioneer Samuel Alabaster, who has hired him to officiate at his marriage to the precious Penelope. What Henry ignores is that both must embark on a dangerous journey through the inhospitable wilderness to meet her.
You are watching: Damsel
Highly Overrated But Still Good
Although it has its amusing moments, in eneral the plot does not convince.
what a terribly boring film. I'm sorry but this is absolutely not deserving of best picture and will be forgotten quickly. Entertaining and engaging cinema? No. Nothing performances with flat faces and mistaking silence for subtlety.
A terrific literary drama and character piece that shows how the process of creating art can be seen differently by those doing it and those looking at it from the outside.
I went into the theater having not even watched a trailer, so I didn't know what to expect. One of the first scenes showed two men waiting for stage coaches going in opposite directions in a landscape that was hot, dry, and windless (although there was wind whistling in the background). Perhaps that wind noise should have been a hint to me that the movie was supposed to be a farce.The movie fails as a western. Unfortunately, it also fails as a farce. A farce is supposed to have humor. I didn't laugh or even smile once during the movie. I didn't hear anyone else in the theater laughing either.Were there any redeeming qualities to the movie? Sure: picturesque cinematography and a nice dance scene.Don't read further if you intend to see the movie. What follows is spoilers of some of the intended farcical elements. In my opinion, they all fell flat.Were there farcical moments? Yes: the saloon pianist is Landon Weeks (watch some youtube videos of him for better entertainment), the miniature horse carried a load: a bird cage containing a chicken, a laughing man dressed in a barrel hanged on the gallows (still in his barrel), a man shot from behind in the head while urinating continues urinating after falling backward, bent double-barreled shotgun effectively used as a threat, Bible pages being used for hygiene, man shot through chest with arrow falls on dynamite plunger thus exploding himself....I found none of these funny or amusing. This movie was easily the worst movie of the year so far for me.
This is not your grandfather's western. For those who have seen the Zellner's "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter" you will recognize their unique sensibility but find even that won't prepare you for the monumental turnaround taken in this strange, absurdist, feminist comedy/drama. Avoid spoilers at all cost, just go in with whatever expectation you may have and allow the Zellners to take you on a wild ride that, along the way, has a lot of slapstick but also some very substantial ideas on the relationship between the sexes - reality vs illusion, etc. The acting is topnotch. Robert Pattinson acquits himself wonderfully in this farcical frontier - he has a real comedic sense that is tapped in his loony over-the-top Romantic character. Mia Wasikowska is a total powerhouse as Penelope, expressing so much with her face and body - she takes the movie by the throat and rides it off into the surreal sunset. Wasikowska is the beating heart of a movie that has both zany episodes and surprising pathos. The more distance I get from "Damsel" the more I think about it and the more I realize there is a definite method to the Zellner's madness. This is a bold film that takes great risks - we need more movies like this that don't settle for playing it safe.
I'm well into my 70's and it seemed as though half the movies of my youth were westerns. So i'm tired of the typical approach. Who has something new for me?Well, the Zellers deliver a comedic western that kept me involved the whole way through. Starting with an unusual looking character arriving in a rowboat with a crate holding a miniature palomino horse. He shows up in a town full of characters that make him seem almost normal. It turns out he's there to meet a "preacher" and to find and marry the girl of his dreams. In the film intro we see him dancing with this girl. Well, it's been a couple years since his contact with her and his focus is such that he hasn't considered the girl might not be of like mind. When that turns out to be the case, it turns out he's become so obsessed with this marriage he's become downright delusional. Things, to put it mildly, don't go his way.The Zellers seem to have a deft touch with delusional characters. In Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, Kumiko is beautifully portrayed with great empathy. Here, our "hero" is shown to be equally possessed, and while both characters meet their demise, I felt great empathy for both. Unlike Kumiko, our "hero" finds out what he wants will not be his. Even though he had no reasonable expectation of success, I still felt empathy for him. The "Damsel" was played straight by Mia Wasikowska with no humor coming directly from her, and you can't blame her. I was reminded of the Coen Brothers True Grit and the way Hailee Steinfeld played Mattie Ross -- all business (even though her wicked sarcasm did elicit a few laughs). It created a great contrast to the rest of the not-so-usual characters. I saw this film at The Baltimore Film Festival and can't wait to see it again. I know there were a number of funny spots and sight gags I missed the first time through. I also appreciated it for the Zellers' breaking of traditional western genre molds. While not as high on my list as the Coen's True Grit or Fred Schepisi's Barbarosa, Damsel is a worth addition to my "oddball western" list. It's also a worthy follower to the wonderful Kumiko. I'm going to keep my eye on the Zellers and can't wait for their next film!
This is the only film we walked out on at SXSW. There is nothing funny in this film. Someone told me it was supposed be a feminist version of a western. If true, all women should be insulted by it.