Out of the Past vs. Lady Bird

I have been thinking about the choices a director makes when making a film. What does a well-made film look like? I watched two films back-to-back on the plane to Italy, Lady Bird written and directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan, and Out of the Past directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum and the femme fatale played by Jane Greer.

I recognize it’s unfair to compare these two disparate films as one was a coming-of-age story, the other a film noir. One was made just this past year while the other sixty years ago. One was the directoral debut by a female while the other by an established male director. There is nothing similar about these two films.

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Unless you consider the quality of each film as an artistic offering. While Lady Bird was nominated for the top writing and directing awards of 2017, I could not help but scratch my head as to why this was so other than it was a political move on behalf of the Academy of Motion Pictures. I just didn’t think it was an interesting story or directed well. The scenes seemed desultory like mud thrown on a wall with little thought. I wouldn’t have noticed as much if I had not just seen Out of the Past. Wow! What a film. Tourneur took his time to frame each scene. He blocked his characters to take advantage of the space. There was movement. There were silhouettes. The staging was aesthetically balanced. Even the costumes played a visual role–don’t you love how Kathie Moffat (Jane Greer) started the film wearing white, but as her devious nature became more apparent, her wardrobe darkened? The characters were interesting–Kirk Douglas was an affable villain. Robert Mitchum as Jeff Bailey was the anti-hero, private detective who you couldn’t help but root for since he tried to leave his notorious past behind and make an honest attempt as a working man and who fell for the girl-next-door. His relationship with the deaf and mute boy (Dickie Moore) revealed Bailey’s goodness in spite of his tough-guy bravado. Every character was interesting and added to the plot purposefully. It was a beautiful film to watch.

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Then there’s Gerwig’s effort. This, a Best Picture contender? It was not structurally interesting. The choppy editing to elicit the passage of time killed whatever emotional investment I had in Lady Bird’s friendships. The only aspect that was quasi-interesting was Laurie Metcalf’s performance as the overpowering mother. The brother and father were a wimpy, wasted pair in a lame plot. I genuinely like Saoirse Ronan as an actress, but her character here in this film was downright boring.

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Out of the Past in 1947 was not nominated for an award but was superbly constructed compared to Lady Bird. Maybe if I had not seen both back-to-back it would not have been so glaringly obvious. If you haven’t seen Out of the Past, I highly recommend it. Watch it for the plot. For what a well-made film should look like. For pure entertainment. For the record, I’m all for women directors. Jane Campion and Julie Taymor know what they’re doing. I just wish they’d pass along some tips to Greta Gerwig.

61 thoughts on “Out of the Past vs. Lady Bird

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  1. Interesting comparison Cindy. While i have not seen Out of the Past, I will come to the defence of Lady Bird. All film commentary exists through the prism of life experience, and as I watch my wife and 21 year old daughter interact I’m struck by how well Lady Bird captures their relationship. I agree the narrative is ordinary, but the characterisation and low-key dialogue is richly realistic and contemporary. Thats what makes it a great film.

    1. Hi Richard. There are two parts to the question. The writing and the directing. I understand fans enjoyed the mother-daughter relationship. I did like ending. I have struggling with my 29 year old daughter and connect with a mom trying to “bring out the best version” of the daughter. My biggest complaint was that as a Best Picture contender, it should be the best artistic offering of the year.
      Oh please, watch “Out of the Past”. It is an artistic masterpiece worthy of a title such as Best Picture.

  2. I love Out of the Past, but I do think that comparing and contrasting this with Lady Bird is pretty ridiculous. Nevertheless, you open your post implying this. I hope my criticism here on that point is fair and balanced and not extreme. I think a better film to compare and contrast this with would be Otto Preminger’s 1952 film noir Angel Face. Interestingly enough, Robert Mitchum stars in that one too. I do not know If you saw that one, but please check it out and I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed by it. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    1. Hi John. There is feeling for me behind this post that, generally speaking, films from the past were made better than films of today. As compositions. Like albums from the past with their covers as artwork as opposed to today.
      It would be easier to stick with genres. I believe the Best Picture award should represent the finest artistic choice of the year. That was my problem with Lady Bird. Always happy for your comments, John.

  3. A new channel has started up on satellite over here. It’s called “Talking Pictures” and it broadcasts 1950s British b’w films where plot and acting were supremely important because there was no money for special effects or big stars. And some of the films I’ve never heard of, but they are often superb…just like the Jacques Tourneur film.

  4. I think Cindy, writing and directing is same thing. The only difference is, the direction leads into more visual and writing does into imaginary scenes. Both convey the same meaning.

  5. They are showing Film Noir on aircraft now? I might start flying again… 🙂

    ‘Out Of the Past’ is great, and deserves every bit of your high praise. I have little interest in seeing ‘Ladybird’, but I do think Laurie Metcalfe is a fine actress, deserving of better roles. I also get your ‘comparison’, in that it is not comparing the two films in any conventional sense, but in a feeling of being entertained, and also admiring directorial and cinematic input, as opposed to a ‘woman’s film’, (supposedly) mirroring social issues with yet another interminable ‘coming of age’ tale.

    On your side this time, Cindy, all the way.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Pete, you summed up my intentions and point perfectly. There is a trend these days in pictures for women to be strong which is fine, but men are wimpy, weak, and drag women down. It is a new stereotype, and I don’t approve. Lady Bird is an example. In real life, men and women are weak and strong. Depicting either one way is to lessen the complexity of the character.

  6. I always liked Laurie Metcalf, but never saw this film and if Mitchum was in a movie – I didn’t care what the plot was. (still, my favorite was ‘The Night is a Hunter’)

    1. Mitch was 26 in this role. It was his breakout tole. (TCM says). I am not surprised to hear you admire him, GP. He was 12 during the depression and left home criss-cross ing the country as a hobo. He was a true Tom Sawyer. A survivalist.

  7. Hi Cindy,
    I don’t think we’re in the Golden Age of Film Making. Yes, there is some good stuff – mainly by certain individuals, but I guess there was always commercial crap. The craftsmanship of the Studio systems is missed.
    You say “a political move on behalf of the Academy of Motion Pictures’. It always annoys me how much politics plays into Award winning. And I wouldn’t watch a lot of those movies twice. I don’t see everything of course. I’m pretty picky. So my opinions are not informed as someone who covers the field. But that’s why I’ll never be a Critic – I just couldn’t stomach watching most of what’s out there. But I’ll never stop watching.

    1. You and I think alike. I don’t see a lot of films precisely because I don’t think they are worth the price of admission. I’ll wait and rent for free. There was crap back in the “golden days” of Hollywood, for sure. And it’s easy to reminisce and be nostalgic for favorites from the past. Today’s films will be the so-called masterpieces of our grandchildren, after all. BUT I try to be objective and take out my emotions, and I still think there’s something missing in today’s films. Oh, what an old woman I sound like. 😉

  8. Hey Cindy after reading this post again, I now have to say that it is a great post 🙂 Of course, I still would have chosen Angel Face to compare it to, but I loved what you said about how Lady BIrd’s biggest flaw is that it depicts the brother and the father like wimps. I hate that stereotype as well. As you said both men and women are weak and strong and I love that last paragraph you wrote. Greta Gerwig needs to do better. Not only do I think that Gerwig needs tips from Jane Campion and Julie Taymor, but I also believe that both Campion and Taymor make Gerwig look like a lightweight. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    1. Thanks, John. It’s hard to express oneself to show how one is thinking. I’m glad you saw where I was coming from, although it’s not necessary to agree with me, I’m glad you saw my points. There’s a trend right now to bash the white man for all the evils of the world but it’s a copout to sell out one gender for the sake of raising the other. I think Atticus Finch is the perfect male and Mary Bailey is the perfect woman. From there, we all fail in comparison. But the archetypes balance the world and make sense to me biologically and socially. Who wouldn’t want them to be our parents? Wouldn’t the world be a much better place? Our androgynous world makes me sad. This makes me very old-fashioned. 😉

  9. I will definitely now be seeing Out of the Past. It sounds exciting and I love film noir. Though I applaud the performances in Lady Bird, I also agree that the film is not as good as people believed. Perhaps, one of the reasons they considered Lady Bird so good is precisely because it was so low-key in plot construction and relatively ordinary re the characters. It was also definitely a political move at the Oscars just like Get Out was.

    1. Oh, please let me know if you agree with me about Out of the Past! I read that they redid the film in the 80s–Against All Odds. I liked Jeff Bridges in it, but it pales to the original.

      1. Remaking a film noir seems to me a little bit of a contradiction in terms. Any film noir was half great just because of the particular time it was made, a particular old style cinematography, atmosphere, and also concepts included. I don’t know what Against All Odds is all about, but it does not surprise me at all that it was not as successful critically as the original.

        I will definitely let you know my thoughts on Out of the Past. I put it very high on my next-to-watch films list. Thanks again.

    1. I wish it were not so. I am disenchanted with the whole system. The SAG seems more honorable. Collegues voting for each other. They would know, right? Which film or performance is best? I D K.

  10. Out of the Past is a fantastic film. I first watched it as part of a box set I had that included Murder, My Sweet, Gun Crazy, The Asphalt Jungle, and The Set-Up, I think. Sadly I lost the discs during a house move, so it’s lucky Out of the Past has popped up on British television several times recently, under the title Build my Gallows High.
    I haven’t seen Lady Bird so I can’t offer any insight. Tired of being disappointed over and over again, I watch very few new movies now. Two or three, in the past couple of years. I am still discovering older films, on disc and on television,, whatever their age, they’re new to me and more than fulfill my requirements. So it isn’t that I’m not open to new movies. With such a rich store, I find I just don’t need them.

    1. Well said, Paul. I remember when I started this blog, I wanted to review films primarily, but found as time wore on, it was a waste of time since too many weren’t worth the time to review. I still watch films but I’m not a dedicated follower. I prefer to wait and rent it if I feel inspired. Like you, I’m having more fun exploring older films. Out of the Past was such a fun surprise and the film noirs I have seen have been exciting and fun to watch. I like the list from your set. There are other Mitchum films and noirs I’d like to see. Thanks, Paul, for your comment.

  11. I guess I think we have times in our lives reminiscing and nostalgia overtakes us. I love seeing old style phones , predictable plots and the way women wore gowns instead of jeans was thrilling. The conversation sounds canned, although to tell you the truth, my nearly 90 year old Mom thinks the accurate word is “campy.” She does not prefer the 50’s or earlier films. She likes strong women and agreeable men.
    We watched “The Equalizer” and she spoke highly of Denzel Washington helping a young street prostitute and a home repair store security guard.
    I guess being a high school teacher who used “Malcolm X” as one of her Black Lit books, she has always wished for us to “move forward.” She is a supporter of all people, refugees and recently the Dreamers.
    I like fun movies like Sabrina and The Maltese Falcon but don’t ever feel they are “real.” Just thinking it is nice to have “Lady Bird” to replace “Juno” in it’s direction of youth. I wasn’t keen on the newest version of “The Seagull;” although much more palatable than the play versions I have seen over the years of Anton Chekhov’s story. Sioarse Ronin is so much more interesting in her current portrayal (“Lady Bird”) than the naieve innocent woman falling for the published author in the antique Chekov movie. Smiles, Robin

    1. Robin! Wow, thanks for your thoughtful input. I had forgotten to watch ‘The Seagull’ since I like Benning, Ronin, and Checkhov. I wonder if I can rent it? Campy is a great word–your mother sounds like a lovely lady. I like women strong and men agreeable, too. That’s a word not used much anymore, either. Stay cool on the East coast! It was 107 here in my neighborhood but no humidity like what you all are experiencing. Cheers, Cindy

      1. Hi Cindy!
        Hope your 4th was fantastic! 🎆🎇
        We saw The Seagull at an artsy theatre called the Cedar Lee. I’m not sure of the age or date of it. Jon Tenney was good, too.
        Thanks for your pleasant response! 💐

  12. ignorance of film history is a major setback in the critical thinking of todays movie buffs. simply because they like a movie, they believe it was well directed. out of the past is a very good movie, and Cindy notes its many qualities. but most of those qualities are shared by comparable noirs of the period. there is nothing here that makes it suprior to, say, siodmak’s phantom lady. to discern the qualities of a hollywood’s studio director, it is first important to be familiar with the different ways films are made in each particular studio. out of the past is a 1947 RKO picture. If we look at some other RKO noirs from that year, Crossfire, The Devil thumbs a Ride, and Crossfire, for , we can see the element that all four films have in common. We can dismiss these elements as part of the studio style, and not attribute them to the particular director. then we can look at the comparable work of the actors in other movies of that general period. Mitchum in RKOs The Locket from the previous year, and the aforementioned Crossfire. Douglas in Paramounts I Walk Alone and the Strange Loves of Martha Ivers. From this you can see if Tourneur brings out anything in the actors that other directors had not already exploited. I could go on forever, but it is essential to know the work of the art director. Albert dAgostino was the central art director at RKO during this period, so check out some other RKO picture and you will see what is the art directors contribution and what can be attributed to the director. Unlike the wildcat years that folllowed the collapse of the stufio system, the job of the director was well defined at this time. He chose the camera placements and the movement of the actor within the frame. he also worked with the other people on the picture to the degree to which it would not impinge on their territory. now i have no argument with cindys appraisal of the film, and i am in hearty agreement with her on its superiority in every way to lady bird, out of the past was adapted from a marvelous novel, build my gallows high. lady bird was a bland and random series of events from the youth of the gerwig, a nondescript geek who finally succeeded at something the poor actress who had to play this character had been excellent in her previous roles, but was stuffed into the directors personality and it didnt fit her. tourneur is a skilled studio director , but is not in the pantheon of auteurs. his moves range from excellent to average, depending upon he script, the budget, and the cast. but even an average studio director is miles above the incompetent amateurs who pretend to be directors in current times. indy has made an excellent point here. but the real problem is that movie buffs dont go to the movies because they want to experience the artistry of a genius director. they go to the movies in the same way we used to watch television programs. to pass the time in the familiar comfort of generic stories and identifiable characters. in other words, glorified versions of themselves. now put that in your pipe and smoke it, if you are not already fuming,

    1. Hi there, Bill! Thanks for your 2 cents — it’s worth a quarter to me.
      I was looking at Tourneur and noticed his film credits looked like B films which makes sense now that you have explained RKO and the studio process in general. I have been looking at classic films the wrong way forgetting the importance of the studio and I am unaware the role played by the art director back then. This was the term given to what we would now call Production Design (team)? How did they interact with the director? That is, they create the set but don’t step away? It was the director who answered to the art director? Your expertise here would help me to understand.
      I was listening to NPR yesterday and there was a film historian explaining that today’s filmgoers go to the movies these days to see themselves on the screen, not for escape. That they go to escape and pass the time in the familiar comfort of generic stories and identifiable characters. She didn’t use your exact words but they fit perfectly. Interesting.
      I want art. I don’t want to see familiar characters and I’m so bored with generic stories. I suspect this is common to older viewers.
      I’m glad you understood where I was coming from with the post. And it’s nice when we agree.
      It’s interesting to think about the actors under the thumb of the studios. The stress is the studio and not the director for getting something out of the actors. I should investigate RKO films rather than directors from the time period. And the art director.
      What I really need to do is think about Auteur Theory and familiarize myself with Auteur directors and how they broke away from studio influence to become artistic authors of their films.

      1. there are no auteur directors. the theory was developed by french film critics who didnt see enough films to support their theory. plus, their pantheon was filed with directors who were rich in subjective qualitiea such as personality and energy, europe had plenty of auteurs, but hollywood films were never the work of an indivudual artist, but ream efforts led by a producer in which the director was the man in charge of the set. many directors surpassed the qualifications for their job and turned in superior work, many even were worthy of being called artists, but first and foremost, their responsibility was in delivering qualitiy daileys so the producer that followed the script and the producers notes. th the 60s and 70s, the main value of the auteur theory was to creat a pantheonn of the best directors fro the hundreds of journeymen, so these directors provided a good inteoductio to fil study, and since hollywood genre films were generic, the contribution of the director was often one of the primary things that distinguished the best of them. because of the generic quality of the product, the superior films were easy to spot. but since the french saw so few films, they missed a lot of excellent drectors who, because of this, are underestimated at best and dismissed as hacks at worst. ive discovered many superior films with no name directors and found that they were as good as they were because of the writers and the art directors. many studios maintain a team in this department that includes the art director, production designer, set designer, etc. and sometimes they overlap. universal in the 50s and 89s s a perfect example. i used to think douglas sirk was the greatest director in hhollywood until i discovered that russell metty was a frequent cinematographr at universal, russell gausman the house set designer, and Alexander Glotzem the art director. Looking tat the contributions of these three men to other films at Unversal, we can see clearly hw uch of the sirk films are theirs, not Sirks, This in no was diminishes Sirks status as a director, it only makes it more clear to us exactly what work he is doing on the films. And he is no auteur..as the auteur theory boldly asserts that the director is the sole author of the film. Russell Metty is in fact ore of an auteur than sirk, because regardless of who he is working for, be it Wellman on the story of GI Joe, Kubrick on spartacus, or huston on the misfits, his work is always identifiable. and a russell gausman interior is no less beautiful on a fil directed by Richard Carlson or Jack arnold than the many he did for Sirk. so much for the auteur theory, This does not negate the artistry of the director, simply rejects the theory that he is the sole artist on the set. of course, this changed with the collapse of the studio system, which at first resulted in an explosion of individualist genius,,but by now has degenerated to the point where an ntalented and unskilled person such as gerwig is seen as a top notch drector.

        1. A lot to think about. It helps!
          I love learning and consider you an expert.
          Russell Metty. Russell Gausman. Alexander Glotzem. These are three names I want to investigate. Also, with a director like Hitchcock, who I would guess would be an example of the auteur director, how did he handle working with the art director on Notorious? Is there no contemporary director (s) that meet with your approval?

  13. The director works for the producer. Everyone else works for the director. Most seasoned directors have little or no problems with their crews. I cant imagine Hitchcock having an altercation with a crew member, not on the set at least. Eventually h may have a feud with someone concerning who did what on a particular scene. As with Saul Bassm who claims directorial credit for the shower scene in psycho, for the most part, Hitchock has his whol movie planed out in advance, so he is pretty well protected from producer interference, Spielberg was hated by his crew on his first film because he was an amateurish incompetent whp endangered the lives of men with his preposterously dangerous set ups and stunts. Welles was another amateur who didn’t know what he was doing, but he had a preotector angerl in cinematographer Gregg Toland, who was responsible for creating much of what Welles had been credited for. Welles could never have made Kne, Ambersons, Tuch of Evil, or Lady from /shanghai outside of the studio system, and he was one of the whiniest self styled auteurs who complain about studio interference. The interfered with Ambersons because Welles was not doing a proper job. Ant to those who claim it would have been a better film hd it been made ourside the studio syste. Take a look at an old 35 print at chines of \midnight not the resotred bluray that looks and sounds nothing like the movie did in its theatrical run. Watch the theatrical print and you will see how incompetent Welles was. And that goes for nearly all his post studio work. But back to your question about Hitchcock. His only real problem was with selzick, a producer who made each film his own, and he wasn’t giving in to the ego of some director. Now just because I don’t believe in the auteur theory doesn’t mean I don’t believe in the genius of some directors coherently their own, or the amazing professionalism of the average studio director. And there are a few giants, true auteurs whose body of work is coherently their own, and standing above them all,,,,,JOHN FORD

    1. Interesting you aren’t a fan of Welles. I’m still fascinated with the idea of the auteur director and want to think about that. I like the phrase “the amazing professionalism of the average studio director” and John Ford I’ve heard you rave about him before. I still haven’t seen “The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance”.
      One question you haven’t answered yet–how about contemporary directors? Other than Clint Eastwood, no love for the Coen Brothers? Roman Polanski? Ang Lee? Aronofsky? Michael Haneke? Woody Allen?

      1. clint easwood was a disciple of don siegel, one of the great hollywood directors, and is the only old time hollywod director still working. he embodies all the qualities of the american film and i love him. i have enjoyed most of the coen brothers films but they are counterfeiters and i would never watch one of their movies twice. polanski was the best of the new polish film makers and made two of hollywoods best latter day genre fims..chinatown and rosemarys baby. i also like his earlier work, repuslson and d cul de sac.

        1. Polanski. I really loved “The Pianist”–I’ve seen it twenty times (I show it to my Holocaust studies students) and it never gets old. I feel like when he’s directing, you are in good hands. Macbeth is my favorite Shakespeare play, and Polanski’s 1971 version of it still is the best film adaptation, in my opinion. If I could be a director, (minus the personal scandals) I would be Roman. He’s solid.

      2. athis best, woody allen is the american chekhov, at his worse, he is simply woody allen, cranking out his annual film, usually over written and under directed, he has no great skill as a director, but has amassed an impressive body of work with his imprint on each one. thus, he is something of an auteur, ang lee is best when he is not making faux asian films. both ride with the devil and the ice storm are excellent films. i dislike aronofsky and haneke.. remember that the auteur theory insiss that the director is the SOLE author of the film.

        1. Okay. That is quite limiting, this auteur theory. When I investigate for a definition, sites claim the director has a “major influence” over a film and makes a personal stamp. That’s a little easier to swallow than “sole author”.
          David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, and Terry Gilliam seem to me to have made that heavy personal stamp. You see their films and you know instantly it was they who made the film, for better or worse.
          To me, Hitchcock would be an auteur director. Charlie Chaplin would be another. Akira Kurosawa was one. Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman (not much acquainted). I am ignorant of French directors other than seeing a couple of Federico Fellini films. I’ve never seen a Truffaut or Jean Luc-Godard film. But they seem to be cast into the auteur theory pot. Do you think I’m off the mark, here? What about John Huston? Do you admire him as much as John Ford? Surely Vincente Minnelli is in the auteur soup pot?

          1. yes. i think you are way off the mark, auteur is french for author. those who expounded the theory insist th auteur is the sole author of the flm. they do nnot take any of the other elements into account. and it is all about the personnality of the artist. it is french bullshit, as most of their philosophies are. there is no middle ground. those who have watered down the theory have done so only so movies cand be sold by using brand name directors. all the directors you mentioned are beand name directors. some of them have distinnct styles because they are mentally ill. i do not like decadent art. lynch, tarantino, gillian, are all mental cases with strong personalities. now, a great many of the modern european directors are genuine auteurs…..and after the collapse of the studio system, american auteurs such as cassavettes emerged. and there were several auteurs in the silent ers, as they were inventing the medium. hitchcock is one of the strongest, most inventive directors, he has good ideas for nearly every scene. he is close to being an auteur but i think only the birds and marnie are true auteur films. the rest are simply brilliantly directed. simply having a style such as burton or anderson is not sufficient. that kind of stylistic continuity ss no more than self cannibalism. Hyston> he is something of a hack, but a very good one, and has directed several of my favorite films..but that doesnt make him a great director. what i admired most about the hustn films i loved is not the direction, which is competent but not distinctive. minnelli , like siegel, hitchcock, wellman, and sirk, is a brilliant director, but no auteur. it is the way hollywood films are made that prevent them from being the work of an auteur. they are products manufactured in factories…the best movie in the world, but not the work of solo artists, as many european films are. antonioni, pasolini, fellini, bergman, godard, bresson, ,,these are auteurs…..

  14. According to you, unless I disregard the Italians, I think I should disregard the heavy-laden, controversial term “auteurs”. Directors have styles and stamps that attract and repel. That seems more accurate. I enjoy picking out the good films whether they would be ranked good or bad, I find there’s something good to be found. Gillim for 12 Monkeys. Tarantino for Pulp Fiction. Scorsese for Taxi Driver. Ron Howard for Cinderella Man, etc. Even if you revile the career of the director (I know you hate Spielberg) surely you can appreciate Close Counters of the Third Kind? No? I prefer to see the good in their films rather than brandish their entire careers.

  15. Excellent post Cindy, I look forward to seeing the Mitchum film. I was disappointed in Lady Bird, I rated it highly but didn’t necessarily have it as one of my favourite films. You will notice it didn’t make it into my list for 2018. The things I don’t like about it, the narrative structure and the dislikable aspects of the characters are some of the things other people love and I can at least see a lot of thought and craft went making this so by Gerwig. Nothing happens by chance I don’t think. There are hints at larger things going on and the scope of Metcalf’s character I enjoyed. I didn’t see the father or brothers as wimps. Just men standing by the women who support them. The father is depressed and unemployed, he’s brave to get up every day let alone engage in the world. Driving home I talked to my wife about how I thought he would have at some point forced a reconciliation before Ladybird left for college. That even with peacemakers and introverts there is a cracking point where they put their foot down but who’s to say?…. So I kind of get where you’re coming from and felt the same way but still couldn’t help but admire the film. I enjoyed Frances Ha more but even that annoyed me with some of the decisions some of the central characters made.

    1. Hi Lloyd. It’s a film you want to like but fell flat for me. I did like the nod to Sacramento with its familiar haunts (filming on location–good!) and I’m very happy with the ending. Her looking away in NYC as a final shot was perfect. I would have been mad if there had been a reconciliation. Ha!

  16. Thoughtful, post Cindy. I haven’t seen Lady Bird, I’ve intended to but another movie always hijacked those intentions. It just doesn’t seem to be my kind of movie, although I liked “Lucky” and Lady Bird may be a similar, slice of life/watching the paint dry kind of film. Funny that those films are the most demanding and hardest to get right.
    On the other hand Out of the Past has a lot going for it. It’s a noir so it has an immediate benefit of standout, identifiable style. Tourneur was a master at style e.g., Cat People. Then there’s the very handsome, charismatic and interesting Robert Mitchum. I’d rather watch Mitchum angst than teenage angst any day of the week, but that’s just me.

    1. Hi Pam, I was hoping you’d stop by knowing your love for noirs. Out of the Past blew me away. Always been a fan of his films and his voice. Any favorite scene? I liked the seduction scenes in Mexico with Jeff and Kathie before the talons came out. 😉

      1. Yes, I like those scenes too. She’s trying to convince him, she’s even scared and he knows she’s lying but he doesn’t care. He tells her so. He’s like a moth drawn to the flame. Classic noir, but Mitchum makes me believe him.

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