Jim Alexander reviews “Five Nights in Maine,” “The Model,” and “Indignation” for The Young Folks

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“FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE”

Having to spend Five Nights in Maine sounds like a daunting and chilling proposition. The film isn’t either of those. What it is though is a whole lot of anticipation for something to happen, that never does. The plot revolves around a man named Sherman (David Oyelowo) coping with the sudden loss of his wife Fiona (Hani Furstenberg). He goes to visit his estranged mother-in-law, Lucinda (Dianne Wiest), in Maine in an attempt to mend each others’ grief. That’s actually pretty much the entire synopsis of the movie.

There is no denying that the acting of Oyelowo and Wiest carries the movie. Top-notch performances. The movie feels more like a theatrical play, due to the heavy character focus and interaction. The issue of grief and loss is apparent in the way the characters handle themselves, but it does get boring after a while.

“THE MODEL”

Prior to seeing the movie, my initial hope was for me to be able to get through it. Not only did I get through it, but I was glad I saw it. The Model is a Danish movie, from Danish filmmaker Mads Matthiesen, starring Danish model Maria Palm. A whole lot of Danish delight. The plot revolves around a young Danish girl named Emma (Palm) that leaves her small hometown and boyfriend behind to pursue modeling fame in Paris. She’s green to the industry and becomes a prime target for all the despicable men that are engrossed in the world of high-end fashion. Notably, a famous photographer, Shane White (Ed Skrein), who gets introduced to her through the industry.

Matthiesen delivers a startling look at the inner workings of the modeling industry. It’s undoubtedly an erotic thriller, but with plenty of content worthy of a documentary. Matthiesen navigates through the dreamy and exciting parts of the industry, all the way to the dark and ugly side, all while staying course with the changing of Emma’s personality. On the surface it’s easy to point to Emma as a victim of a semi-ugly industry, but her evolution as the film progresses flips the expectations and feelings for the character. She goes from a naïve, inexperienced, pure teenager to a manipulative, lost and enraged individual. Her transformation is quite imposing.

“INDIGNATION”

Logan Lerman has come a long way since playing a descendant of a Greek god (Percy Jackson). In Indignation, Lerman plays Marcus, a working-class Jewish teenager/young adult from New Jersey. In order to avoid heading to fight the Korean War, Marcus is sent to a small Ohio college. He struggles to adjust to the new Midwestern culture and doesn’t take to the school’s expectations. Marcus’ outlook on college and life changes when he meets the troubled and lustful Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon).

Based on the Philip Roth novel, Indignation’s movie version feels like the book is playing out on-screen. Maybe that means that the story is meant to be a book only? The film takes place in 1951 and it certainly has the look and tone of that time period. The costumes and sets feel nostalgic. The appearance of the movie stands out more than the story.

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