Oscar Movies Review

By Eliza McKissick

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Oscar Winners

Best Picture: The Shape Of Water

My Final Order for “Best Picture” Films

  1. Call Me by Your Name
  2. Get Out
  3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  4. Dunkirk
  5. Phantom Thread
  6. The Post
  7. Lady Bird
  8. Darkest Hour
  9. Shape of Water

 

Lady Bird:

Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson  is a senior at a Catholic high school in Sacramento California. The film follows the outspoken Lady Bird as she navigates her way through friendships, relationships, family drama, and the pressures of being a teen.

  1. Storyline- 7
  2. Originality-2
  3. Acting- 9
  4. Realism/ accuracy- 10
  5. Resonance- 6
  6. Bonus: none

Total-  34/51… 67%

The overall plot of “Lady Bird” is far from original. There have been countless films released that touch on practically the same subject. That being said, what sets “Lady Bird” apart is the acting, and the accuracy of the relationships being portrayed. Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) and her mother (Laurie Metcalf) have a somewhat destructive relationship, something that many teenage girls, and mothers alike can relate to. Both Ronan and Metcalf do a tremendous job dedicating themselves to these characters. I definitely enjoyed the film, and I believe “Lady Bird” deserved to be nominated; however, in my opinion, the lack of originality prevents it from being a serious contender for the award.

 

Call Me by Your Name:

Set in the summer of 1983 in a small town in northern Italy, the film follows Elio Perlman as he comes to terms with his sexuality. Elio falls in love with his fathers intern, Oliver, but spends much of his summer trying to repress these feelings.

  1. Storyline- 10
  2. Originality- 9
  3. Acting- 10
  4. Realism/ accuracy- 10
  5. Resonance- 9
  6. Bonus: soundtrack-1

Total- 49/51… 96%

“Call Me by Your Name” was spectacularly done; the acting was incredible, the storyline was amazing, and the relationships portrayed were heartwarming. Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver’s (Armie Hammer) romance was beautifully captured; both actors did a tremendous job. The romance between Elio and Oliver was not the only well developed relationship: Elio and his parents shared a moving connection. Their continuous love and support for Elio added to the films overall storyline. I would label “Call Me by Your Name” as most deserving to win the award for Best Picture.

 

Darkest Hour

Based on true events, “Darkest Hour” follows Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill, through his decision of whether or not to negotiate peace deals with Nazi Germany. Churchill was forced to make this decision just days after accepting the role as Prime Minister; he had to do so while dealing with opposition from his own party, skepticism from the King, and civilians who were not yet ready to fight a war.  

  1. Storyline- 4
  2. Originality-9
  3. Acting-9
  4. Resonance- 1
  5. Realism/Accuray- 8
  6. Bonus: filming-1

Total: 32/51… 63%

Full disclosure: I am not a huge fan of war movies, so going into this, I was a bit biased. That being said, my biggest issue with “Darkest Hour” was its plot. Churchill’s (Gary Oldman) struggle over his decision to either negotiate a peace deal with Nazi Germany, or fight for Britain’s liberty, is interesting, but not enough so to stretch it out over 2 hours. I feel like I could have gotten the basic premise of the film in a 20 minute clip. However, Gary Oldman does a great job in his role, and the filming was excellent. “Darkest Hour” was docked a few points in the accuracy section because of the scene with Churchill on the train. With some quick research it became clear that that never actually happened. Overall, the film was impressive, but not my top choice.

 

Dunkirk

1940, Allied forces were trapped on Dunkirk beach by an encroaching German army. British and French civilian boats were brought to evacualte the soldiers, saving over 300,000 soldiers. The film spans between a few British soldiers fighting to get home, a boat with three British citizens sailing to Dunkirk, and a British Air Force pilot.

  1. Storyline-9
  2. Originality-9
  3. Acting-9
  4. Realism/Accuracy-10
  5. Resonance- 4
  6. Bonus: Soundtrack-1

Total: 42/51… 82%

Despite my general unenthusiastic attitude towards war movies, I genuinely enjoyed “Dunkirk”. The story is incredible, and the film does a great job capturing it. There is no real character development, but that could be a creative choice to show that in times of war one doesn’t really have the time to get to know their fellow soldiers. The soundtrack does an great job building up the suspense in a scene, and keeping the overall sense of nervousness present throughout the film. “Dunkirk” was not my favorite of the nominated movies, but it definitely deserved its nomination, and it was, altogether, an impactful film.

 

Get Out

Rose takes her boyfriend Chris upstate to meet her parents for the first time. Chris is anxious to meet them because he is black and they are white. Upon their arrival everything seems okay; Rose’s parents are doing their earnest best at welcoming Chris. Chris then begins to notice strange behavior from the families servants, who happen to be the only other black people on the farm. As the film progresses, the family’s motives appear to be more sinister than anticipated, and Chris decides it is time to “Get Out”.

  1. Storyline- 10
  2. Originality- 10
  3. Acting- 9
  4. Realism/ Accuracy- 7
  5. Resonance- 10
  6. Bonus: Content- 1

Total: 46/51… 90%

“Get Out” was spectacular. The filming was incredible, the blend of horror and political/racial satire produced a wonderfully unique film. What hurt “Get Out” in terms of my (possibly flawed) scoring system was the realism aspect. I decided to remain optimistic in my decision that the specifics of the plot would never happen. That being said, “Get Out” definitely made the audience think about racial injustice. The horror aspect of the film was not so much fear of a tangible person, but more a fear of the reality of racism, and of whites who are complicit in the exploitation of blacks. In the current political state that America lives in, this film was crucial. While “Get Out” did a tremendous job tackling major issues, I do not believe that it will win the award for best picture.

 

The Post

Katherine Graham, the first female publisher the Washington Post had seen, must decide whether or not to publish top-secret government files that expose the details of the Vietnam war, which the U.S. government’s  had previously kept secret. If the Post were to publish the leaked documents, they could be charged in federal court for Contempt. If the Post chooses not to publish they are abandoning the American ideal of “Freedom of the Press”. Graham must struggle with this decision while facing the doubt of many of her peers.

  1. Storyline-7
  2. Originality-7
  3. Acting-9
  4. Realism/Accuracy-10
  5. Resonance-3
  6. Bonus: none

Total: 36/51… 71%

The plot of “The Post” was fascinating. The film did a great job covering the events that transpired, and was definitely informative. Meryl Streep, who played Katherine Graham, did a fantastic job. However, there wasn’t anything that really set “The Post” aside from the other nominated films. I enjoyed it while I was watching, but didn’t think about the film once I had left the theatre. Overall, a decent film, but I do not believe it deserves to win the award for best picture.

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Frustrated by the lack of action in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes purchases three billboards and platers a controversial message directed towards the chief of police, William Willoughby. By doing so, Mildred Hayes is waging war on her local police force. The film focuses on the grief of a mother mourning the loss of her brutally murdered daughter.

  1. Storyline- 10
  2. Originality- 9
  3. Acting- 10
  4. Realism/ Accuracy- 8
  5. Resonance- 6
  6. Bonus: Character development-1

Total: 44/51… 86%

The acting in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was outstanding. Frances McDormand, who played Mildred Hayes, gave an incredible performance. I appreciated the character development throughout the film. The audience was able to see Mildred working through her pain, Chief Willoughby coming to terms with his personal affairs, and Willoughby’s right-hand man, Officer Dixon, turn his life around. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” did a beautiful job blending the juxtaposition between grief, redemption, and humor. This film was one of my favorites out of the nominated, and I would not be completely surprised if it won best picture.

 

The Shape of Water

Set in Baltimore during the 1960’s, the film follows Elisa, a mute woman who works as an overnight cleaner in a military lab. During her shift, Elisa discovers a new “asset” that has been brought to the lab. Elisa and this creature form an intense bond, and the film focuses on the development of their relationship.

  1. Storyline- 4
  2. Originality- 10
  3. Acting- 9
  4. Realism/Accuracy- N/A
  5. Resonance- 2
  6. Bonus: none

Total: 25/ 41… 61%

“The Shape of Water” was very visually appealing; the effects were stunning. However, the film lacked any character development. On top of that, the film was boring. The ending was predictable, and the lack of character development allowed the audience to anticipate each characters next move. The romance between Elisa and the “Asset” seemed so forced, and was a bit disturbing. Overall, I was not a fan of the film, and I do not believe it deserves to win the award of best picture.

 

Phantom Thread

Set in 1950’s London, the film follows renowned couturier, Reynolds Woodcook. Reynolds and his sister, Cyril, work together to maintain a tight regime in their shared business, The House of Woodcook. Reynolds finds inspiration in the various women who come and go from the House of Woodcook. All of this changes when Reynolds becomes fixated on Alma, a strong willed waitress who quickly becomes his muse.

  1. Storyline- 9
  2. Originality- 7
  3. Acting- 8
  4. Realism/ Accuracy- 8
  5. Resonance- 5
  6. Bonus: visuals- 1

Total: 38/51… 75%

The storyline of “Phantom Thread” was quite compelling. Daniel Day-Lewis, who played Reynolds Woodcook, did a fantastic job in his portrayal of obsession. The entire movie is composed of microaggressions between Reynolds and Alma, each trying to establish their power over the other. Unfortunately, the film gets worse as it progresses. The constant struggle in Reynold and Alma’s relationship grows old quickly. The film never reaches a true climax, and the issues plaguing Reynold and Alma’s relationship are never fully resolved. For me, this made the ending particularly unsatisfying. Overall, the film was well done, but left some to be desired.

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