All those things "Lady Bird" is getting lauded for... well, I would say they're done better here. The homage to a city, the coming-of-age conflicts, the mother/daughter relationship... "Columbus" taps all areas beautifully, in an understated and intimate way, with the theme of architecture linking all these characters and scenes together. Haley Lu Richardson... wow!
A delicate film that showcases the beautiful architecture sprouting out of this quirky community in southern Indiana. The town of Columbus should have been given top billing during the credits. Kogonada is clearly a master of composition and mood, and I found the film’s symmetry quite mesmerizing. Some of the dialogue is annoying, but the film in general is rather rewarding.
2.5 stars. John Cho rarely gets good roles to sink his teeth into. Unfortunately, the staid performances dictated by the director are frustratingly devoid of much warmth (though Haley Jo Richardson transcends this parameter at times). The plot needs more: twists/turns to enliven the otherwise simple story of children caring for their parents. The cold modern architecture of Columbus only adds to the disaffection.
Kogonada's cinephilia is front and center, evoking the likes of Rohmer and Tati. While the film is not perfect (I personally wish there were less of a plot), it is one of the most mature first films I have seen in years and shows a natural transition from video essays to full on filmmaking.
On paper this should have been clichéd and creepy but instead you get to dive gently into an enlightening tone poem both peaceful and exhilarating. Not a word is wasted, not an edit is rushed or leaves you hanging for the sake of it. It has the kind of gentle and thoughtful melancholia without a hint of melodrama that I so crave for. I need more.