Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

I had heard references to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? for years and years, but for whatever reasons had never actually seen the film. I now have. I suggest that you see it if you have not. It has been many months since I have seen a movie that has so delighted me and held me captive. Bette Davis, we do love you. Davis does a mind-blowingly amazing job as Baby Jane. There is so much going on with this movie, so many themes, so many essays waiting to be written. Like two other films I love, Grey Gardens and Sunset Boulevard, this film is a study in fallen stars, in people who at one time were it and now live in a time where all they can do is relive those memories of being it, wondering where things went wrong. Aside from that, there is commentary on child actors, on acting in general, on fame, on sibling cruelty, on creepy father-daughter dynamics, on egos, and all of this in a riveting story. The last scene is so surreal and so spot on in its satirization of our culture's habit of making celebrities out of criminals, about the desire for attention and notice and how that is to be done in the 20th century.

It is about time that a movie excites me again.

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