Features
Reviews
Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Archives
Bargain Basement
Downloads
Music DVD
Upstart
Pipsqueaks
 
 
 
Features
Reviews
Archives
Send Us Mail
Contact Us
 
 

Blue Car (R)
Miramax
Official Site
Director: Karen Moncrieff
Producers: Peer J. Oppenheimer, Amy Sommer, David Waters (IV)
Written by: Karen Moncrieff
Cast: David Strathairn, Agnes Bruckner, Margaret Colin, Regan Arnold, Frances Fisher

Rating: out of 5


Over the years, many movies have been made about writing, and even more have been made about messed up families. Blue Car is about both those subjects, as well as a story of a girl’s journey from innocence to experience. The result is a depressing tale about an unhappy high school girl that starts off well enough, but tries to deal with too many issues to find a strong and clear focus.

Megan Denning (Bruckner) is the troubled 18-year-old protagonist. Her mother Diane (Colin) overworks herself trying to make ends meet, and barely has any energy left to take care of herself, much less her two daughters. Meg’s younger sister Lily (Arnold) feels lost and alone, and rebels in her own way by refusing to eat. Everything in Meg’s life is wrong, a downward spiral that began when her father left the three of them.

Enter Mr. Auster (Strathairn), Meg’s English teacher, who sees something (talent? something more?) in Meg, and encourages her to express herself in poetry. She writes about the most vivid event in her life so far, her father driving away in a blue car, and wins the school poetry contest along with a chance to compete in Florida.

The upcoming trip to Florida consumes Meg, as she sees a way of escaping her unhappy life at home. Meanwhile, she begins to spend more and more time with Mr. Auster, who goes beyond the role of an educator and takes up duties as Meg’s friend as well as proverbial knight in shining armor. When Meg’s life goes awry, she clings to Mr. Auster more tightly, and their relationship undergoes a transformation through the course of the movie.

One thing I’ve noticed in movies with literary themes is the abundance of inspirational quips and pep talks, usually given by a mentor to a mentee. In Dead Poet’s Society, another movie about writing poems, John Keating (Robin Williams) advises his students that, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” Blue Car is no different, with Mr. Auster telling Meg, “Make yourself proud, and fame and fortune will follow.” But inspirational words are out of place and unnecessary in this movie, where the characters need more hope than inspiration.

No one is happy in this movie, and everyone harbors internal problems that manifest themselves in grim faces. A lot of yelling and crying occurs, but none of it is very poignant. It’s implied in the movie that writing is a form of release and expression, but there is surprisingly little writing involved. Meg’s main work is her poem “Blue Car,” and she doesn’t write much else. The subject of writing is used more as a device to move the plot along than an in-depth exploration of how writing could influence lives.

Maybe I’m getting it all wrong and this movie isn’t supposed to be an inspirational movie, but a realistic portrayal of a girl who must deal with the obstacles of life. The movie works better in this perspective, and we get an unfiltered glimpse into the life and mind of a teenager. However, as authentic as the characters might be (the tension between mother and daughter is notable), the situation of a poetry contest, or even the existence of such a big redeeming event, is unique. Since most of Meg’s actions revolve around the contest, the story is necessarily specific and not universal.

Other movies have explored the same themes as Blue Car in the past, and have done it with more finesse.

—Kelly Hsu

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



Pink Floyd

-------


South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

AWOLNation
Rachel Fredrickson

Kanrocksas
Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo


Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Epilogues
Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Sebadoh
Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Thrice
Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

MuteMath
Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Thrice
Lawrence, KS


 
hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.