Eh. I didn't care about these people and in the end it didn't make me care about Los Angeles. Perhaps I couldn't get past how Altman seemed to treat women in this movie. The bodily vulnerability was not equally distributed and it didn't read like a critique of the patriarchy or the male gaze to me.
Robert Altman assembled one of the greatest casts ever for this epic film. He somehow manages to take on deadly serious subject matter: life, love and death - including murder and a child being killed - and yet never have the movie feel heavy. Despite dark undercurrents, it's almost always light and entertaining: a sugar-coated pill indeed. Colour palette is vibrant, as is Jack Lemmon's monologue.
What amazes is the simplicity and ease with which this ensemble of seemingly improvised stories carries on for three whole hours, joyously interconnecting for no reason, whilst independent on the levels of a short artsy film about drunk fishermen and naked drowned girl. Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander" meets L.A. congestion.
Certainement à ce jour, un des films les plus aboutis de Robert Altman, qui maîtrise avec brio ces destins parallèles, avec une virtuosité à vous couper le souffle, à travers un montage lumineux, limpide, frisant la perfection et qui restera pour longtemps encore une puissante et magistrale leçon de cinéma... www.cinefiches.com
The tenderest scene: Stormy Weathers cutting up furniture while the carpet man shampoos the rug. This is exactly what I want out of romance: two people coexisting, each in his own world. Even when their projects are intrinsically contradictory, the non-reflexive proximity holds strong.
This film understands life. Did you even think about the medfly disaster after an hour? There's always something like that, but everyday life issues take over, always. The humor and absurdity further confirm comprehension of the nature of life, and especially the role of love and its difficulties. It has a wonderful, jazzy style, with deliberate overacting at times and much camera movement. And that beautiful intro!
At the risk of heresy, I don't think this is top-shelf Altman. The cast is an amazing who's-who of everyone in indie films circa 1990, and there's a certain pleasure to the way the plot diffuses, with loose ends splayed in all directions. But it's also stretched thin and uneven, with its characters feeling less like complete people than like actors showing off their chops.