Wouldst thou like To live deliciously?’s review published on Letterboxd:
First movie I watched @ #HCAF18
Holy fucking shit! That was my first reaction when this ended and had to take a few days before writing my review thinking about and I never stopped thinking about it since it ended. I still am. Its that good.
This movie scalped me completely. Everything about it was perfect for me. I was so afraid of being disappointed after reading so much about and the different opinions from people since it screened @ Venice in September. I read the script some months ago and I knew what was gonna happen but even though I knew I was still with my mouth open when certain things happened. That opening scene alone was so fucking good and shocking. The way the credits are shown at the beginning of the movie is also brilliant.
This movie is so unique in every aspect. I cannot praise Brady enough for the bold choices he took with this movie. You can clearly see he took inspirations from the directors he worked with(Von Trier, Haneke, etc). That doesn't mean this is a copy of those just that he clearly was inspired by some of their artistic choices and made it his own. The structure of the movie with chapters worked perfectly for me. Ive seen some complaints about that from other reviews but unlike some movies. it worked here to show Celeste's changes over the years.
The movie is split in two parts. First half is about young Celeste played by Raffey Cassidy. This young version of Celeste is pure and innocent until something happens to her that transforms her life but also propels her to overnight superstardom, a record contract and the start of a new life. Cassidy is one of the most exciting young actresses. Just last year she starred in Killing of a sacred deer and now this? At 16? Cant wait to see her In more roles. She's perfect as young Celeste. Also that song she sang @ the memorial is the best song in the movie and I want it NOW. It was actually beautiful and its lyrics are about healing and we need that right now, very timely. Just this weekend there was another shooting in the US and the song talks about her trauma and her overcoming the trauma after that incident.
Fast fw to 2017 we see adult Celeste as a total opposite of the young and innocent girl she once was. Bitchy, loud, obnoxious, egocentric, needy, arrogant, cynical, vulgar, a drug and alcohol addict. That's adult Celeste for you. But she's also a survivor, a woman who has been working all her life and life hasn't been kind to her. You also feel for her despite being an unlikeable character. This is someone whose life has shaped this way and the industry has destroyed her. Portman is unlike anything she's ever done before. I hope people are not put off by the movie because as of now she's my favorite performance of the year(sorry Toni Collette). She cries, she gets fucked up, get high, she screams, she has a meltdown, she sings, she dances? Ally Maine who? jk Gaga was amazing too. She's everything in this role. This is flawless acting. She needs to be recognized.
Shout out to the supporting cast as well. Jude Law plays a sleazy but caring manager who has stuck to Celeste's side since day one. No one gets her like he does, not ever her own family. His best performance since Closer in my opinion. Stacy Martin in a very subtle and restricted performance(the way it was meant to be) as the devoted sister who has been in Celeste's shadow since day and has been a victim of Celeste's antics and mistakes. Jennifer Ehle in a small but good role as the publicist who has had Celeste's back since day one as well. A really short cameo by Chris Abbott. And back to Cassidy again as Celeste's daughter. A product of a one night stand as a teenager when she was first starting her career. A total opposite of her role as young Celeste. A weird and bold choice to have her play both characters but it pays off. Everyone brought their A game.
The cinematography, costumes, and score are top notch. This is a bold movie, a weird movie, a brave and bizarre movie that deserves to be seen. As Brady said this is a 21st century portrait. Watch it. Experience this masterpiece. WOW. I cannot wait to watch it again. Brady is a super talented director that we need to keep an eye on. And NEON coming to A24's ass as my favorite distributor.
PS: that 15 min Celeste concert? amazing. The songs are meant to be "bad". Written by Sia who is an amazing singer and songwriter but they wouldn't be out of place on radio tbh. Celeste is the popstar I didn't know I needed in my life. I want an album NOW(A star is born is shaking).