Saturday, February 22, 2014

CUTIE AND THE BOXER - 1 nomination


Documentary Feature - Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher

Cutie and the Boxer asks a number of fundamental questions about marriage, art, and life and what success looks like in all three.  Is there only room for one genius in each relationship; a gardner and a flower but never two flowers?

Cutie is the artistic doppelgänger to her artist, the wife of the pair (Noriko), who tames her narcissistic, formerly alcoholic cartoon husband, Bullie (the inspiration for the character drawn from her real-life husband, Ushio) in art, if not in life.  One can see the resentment that comes after a life of giving up one's voice in order to accommodate the dreams of her partner.  But there is love there too, and respect for his talent, and we see the devastation that such narcissism and alcoholism can wreak on a family, including their now adult - and seemingly alcoholic - son.

We are at the moment in time where both artists appear to be on the brink of flourishing, and we see Noriko begin to find and embrace her own voice, both as a person and as an artist, while Ushio is fighting to save what little career he has left, reviving his unique style of "boxing art" for what is likely his final show.

I expected to like this film so much more than I did.  In places where it was trying to be methodical, it was excruciatingly slow.  In places where it was trying to be touching, it translated as ironic.  In places where we are meant to be uplifted, we are sadly, turned off.  Perhaps there is too much bitterness and not enough love left for us to care about this couple, though the filmmakers do attempt to show the brief moments of affection they have left for each other.  Unfortunately, it's just not enough to make the film great.

Haven't seen the film?
Watch the Cutie and the Boxer Movie Trailer

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