I (HEART) HUCKABEES just may be the strangest film I have ever seen.
It just may be one of the strangest films ANYONE has ever seen!
I’m not sure that there is a simple–or even complex?–way of describing the film and I am not even sure if I liked or loved it….was bored or transfixed …was stimulated or depressed. Maybe all of the above? I can say for sure, though, that the film is utterly innovative in its style and subject matter and, as such, has no historical precedent.
Maybe WHAT’S UP DOC? meets HAROLD AND MAUDE meets WHAT THE BLEEP meets THE SIMPSONS????
Loosely told, the film is about two “existential” detectives (Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman–both hilarious and wonderful) who delve deeply into the psyches, souls, and very essence of their clients to help them resolve complicated life issues. Their vision of life is positive and utterly metaphysical and their mantra is literally “we are all one.” Their counterpart, played by the estimable French actress Isabelle Huppert, presents the other (dark) shadow side of life being cruel, manipulative, and deceitful. In essence, Tomlin, Hoffman, and Huppert engage in a metaphoric battle for the souls of the other characters in the film, plunging the audience into nothing less than a metaphysical comedy/drama about what is real and unreal, positive and negative.
Along the way, we meet an assortment of truly eccentric and sometimes oddball archetypes, all of whom represent various aspects of human integration and disintegration. Most notable are:
— Jude Law who plays a selfish, shallow, arrogant conniver in total denial of his disintegration. His denial is, in fact, the mechanism that keeps him in a state of ignorant bliss. When Tomlin and Hoffman start shredding that veneer, he is forced to face his “real” self and the results are anything but pretty.
—Naomi Watts plays Law’s live-in girlfriend and her performance just may be the most revelatory in that she starts off as the embodiment of the perfect face and body of American advertising. She is the television spokesperson for Law’s “Huckabeees” stores and her entire existence is built upon her physical appearance and the utterly vapid existence that she shares with Law. When the detectives “awaken” her, she demands to be seen as a real woman and the resultant chaos that her transformation creates is both hilarious and poignant.
—Mark Wahlberg plays a burned-out firefighter who is so seduced by the dark side that Huppert represents that he becomes consumed by desire for her.
Law, Watts, and Wahlberg are all pitch-perfect in their respective roles and one can sense in their utter lack of inhibition in their performances how wild the actual shooting of the film must have been.
The film is ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR EVERYONE! It’s “R” rating is well-earned—for language and some sexuality. For those of you, however, who are looking for something completely different, unsettling, entertaining, exasperating, stimulating, and challenging, give it a shot! And, without ruining the ending, the last line of dialogue in the film is so delicious and such a perfect metaphor for the way we create obstacles in our own lives that it is worth the journey of the film itself. I always remember the last line of SOME LIKE IT HOT as being the best last line ever in a movie (“Nobody’s perfect!”)—but HUCKABEES comes very close in its own way to matching that impact.
More than anything, HUCKABEES represents a bold departure for Hollywood films and that alone makes it worth supporting. When Hollywood does dip its toe into metaphysical material, it really helps for all of us to patronize those films so as to encourage the production of more such films in the future.
Stephen Simon has produced such films as Somewhere in Time and What Dreams May Come, produced and directed INDIGO, and wrote “The Force is With You: Mystical Movie Messages That Inspire Our Lives”, published by Walsch Books/Hampton Roads. He also co-founded The Spiritual Cinema Circle www.spiritualcinemacircle.com. Stephen welcomes your comments by email: Stephen@Spiritualcinemacircle.com.)
Movie Mystic Chakra Rating for I (HEART) HUCKABEES (For an explanation of THE CHAKRA RATING SYSTEM, please visit www.spiritualcinemacircle.com
Chakra: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Rating: 4 3 3 3 3 4 3