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“Split” and “Mother!” – Two of my favorite films this past year. James McAvoy, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Anya Taylor-Joy.

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Two of my favorite films this year were, “Split” and “Mother!” I’ve always been drawn to darker material that the general public has a harder time digesting. You could never accuse me of following the herd. That would require submitting to a victimized position, which isn’t alluring to me. What these two films have in common is they don’t withhold. They’re both dark, radical, psychological, complicated, deep and intense in its ambiance and messages. All of which are the skin I’m most comfortable in.

Split” does a terrific job at focusing on someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder. It takes that to the extreme and ultimately the supernatural answering the question to, “What if?” James McAvoy, who should be nominated, brilliantly plays 9 of the 23 split personalities his character Kevin has due to massive child abuse that caused his main identity to splinter and dissociate. One of his identities that has taken over Kevin is Dennis. Dennis kidnaps three teenage girls from a party with the intention that they will be served as sacred food to one of Kevin’s more monstrous identities yet to emerge.

Anya Taylor-Joy plays Carrey, the outcast teen who had been invited to the teen party out of pity. She’s the heroine that befriends some of the identities that assumes Kevin’s body with the hopes of being let go, while the other superficial two teens cower weakly in the corner of the cellar dungeon their captive holds them in.

In a heart pounding chase scene, the monstrous identity in Kevin corners Carrey intending to sacrifice her. He notices the cut marks all over her body realizing that she is like him and was subjected to heinous child abuse herself, which we see through flashbacks. Seeing that she is not like the others, he releases her from his prison seeing her as authentic and pure. Both James and Anya just wrapped filming an exciting sequel to this called, “Glass”, which will also stars Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson.

Mother!’ was one of the most claustrophobic films this year causing enormous backlash and praise dividing film goers from those who loved it and those that hated it. “Mother!” is an allegory intended to reveal the violent destruction that is humanity and what humankind has and is perpetually doing to its home planet.

Javier Bardem symbollically plays, “God”, Jennifer Lawrence is “Mother Earth”, and Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are “Adam and Eve”. This angry, chaotic, dark film is an assault to all the senses that it requires more than one viewing.

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The Story of Us with Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer explores long term relationships

The Story of Us (1999)

I loved this movie because it didn’t sugar coat anything. It wasn’t this sloppy romantic comedy that we are often force fed with cupcakes. The movie is about a couple who has been together for 15 years and is considering calling it quits. They have the house, the kids and the great jobs, but they simply don’t feel connected to one another. No one cheated and there were no addictions that took hold of them. It’s simply the wear and tear of a relationship over time. It was simply the day to day life of living together and going through the mundane motions from morning till night until you end up in the bed together facing forward instead of each other.

I can understand how some might be disappointed in this movie having to watch an unhappy love story, but there are uplifting moments as the couple remembers how they once were and what drew them together to begin with. It’s not a full on intense drama, but more of a Dramedy with some cliche moments sprinkled throughout to keep it light. Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis are the couple and I’ve never seen them look so sexy on screen. This helps elevate the mood of the movie because they have charismatic charm and make a hot couple. Unfortunately, they are at a crossroads in their relationship in the story and are considering splitting.

I won’t tell you what happens except that you may be pleased by the outcome if you’re on the fence of sitting through an entire film about a couple wondering if they should split or not. This is reality and although some want to avoid it, anyone that has been in a real long term relationship know about the grind and that this how it’s going to be for the rest of our lives. Can you live with that? It won’t be any different if you got involved with someone else. You’d eventually reach that point with them as well. Do you start over with that someone else? These are some of the questions addressed in this film.

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