Haynes' latest is an adaptation of the Brian Selznick novel telling two similar tales fifty years apart in his usual technically meticulous style. What's missing this time is the emotional connect which makes this film seem much longer than its runtime. The final section comes together well but its laborious getting there. One can't fault the film on style or its wonderful time period reconstructions. A rare miss
Glad Haynes went in a different direction here making two period pieces in one yet there are images that also hearten back to his Karen Carpenter story. This may not be his most emotionally satisfying movie but it had layers most "children's films" never even aim for.
It gives me zero satisfaction to say Haynes made his worst film, and despite his background in transgressive cinema, he's perfectly suited to a kids movie about juggled timelines, emotionally resonant artifacts, and children feeling their way towards an identity. But after a wonderful first act, it loses its way, bogged down in the slow, suspense-free linear quests that can befall kids book adaptations.
WONDERSTRUCK is a Todd Haynes film. It is a masterpiece of design. Surprised? I didn't think so. Yeas, its not only about museums, it's about "the museum." But much more: the subject (and object) of this picture is serendipity and revelation. Something this earnest and open-hearted was liable to be a bit emotionally clumsy. All the more endearing for that, say I. Clumsiness excused or not: packs an ENORMOUS payload.
WS is outsider art operating well within an accessible framework. In fact it offers such a compendium of 'wonders', designed to show how passion is instigated in the world, that I ALMOST understand finding it messy. Haynes achieves a synthesis with so many forms here (silent/70s/avant-garde) that I was floored before it even connected our love for the arts with a belief in great cosmic coincidences.
3.6, Haynes is still THE filmmaker. I don't think anyone (alive) could have made a movie this successful, out of these materials, in the 2017 filmscape. Bully for him! We lose a little transgressive fun (especially in the score, acting department), but gain a slew of careful production design, expert cinematography, and sound/silence experiments.
CINEMA, DCP _ Selznick wrote a novel for children and it looks altogether like a great Disney film (but here produced by Amazon). The dialogue between the two parts via editing is clever - and Haynes cares to produce images that discuss with other films (Far from Heaven, Mildred Pierce). All his cinema is here at work, the melodrama, the avant-garde, even the puppets. Highly personal but not always on track.