Dogfight ★★★★½

Are there films more tender-hearted than this one? It's just brimming with love, without it ever losing its edge thanks to beautifully delicate and well-balanced performances by Lili Taylor and River Phoenix. I don't think there are many other films that capture the moment just before innocence is lost, especially ones that don't make a big song and dance about it. This is 1963, there are allusions to Vietnam and JFK, of course, but it's about Rose and Eddie's lives first and foremost, and only in the third act does it sink in how different things will become.

I saw my first River Phoenix film six years after he had died - I've always know him as the actor, so full of promise, who died at 23. Of course this influenced my view of him, but I've always been staunchly against being a fan of someone because they died. When I got a Jeff Buckley poster at 14, I cut off the banner proclaiming his year of birth and year of death. I've never seen the point in reducing people to those dates. With River, he seems so bloody alive in his films, he is captivating and grows before your eyes as he goes from film to film. I relish the woodenness in some of his performances.

One of my favourite things I've ever read on the interwebs is this piece on Rookie, 'My Dead Boyfriend' by Emma Straub: "He would have made me happy by aging on screen, the two of us getting old together, separated only by space and celluloid. Instead, I keep getting older without him." And that's it.