Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Cate Blanchett
THE GIFT (2000). Director: Sam Raimi.

Annie Wilson (Cate Blachett) is a widow with three young sons who makes extra money doing readings for people. One of her clients is Valerie (Hilary Swank), whose husband, Donnie (Keanu Reeves), is a wife beater. Meanwhile her friend Wayne (Greg Kinnear) is dating a young woman named Jessica (Katie Holmes) who goes missing. Is Donnie responsible for her disappearance as everyone thinks, or does Annie's "gift" tell her that someone else is responsible? By the end of this mediocre film with its insufficient and sometimes obvious script I couldn't care less. This is one of those movies that purports to look into the lives of borderline Hillbilly types -- poor white trash, in other words -- but what we've really got are slick Hollywood types putting on phony Southern accents and hoping for the best. Lead Blanchett is one of the worst offenders, all actressy and unconvincing, and Hilary Swank [The Black Dahlia] isn't much better. Kinnear scores as Wayne, as do Reeves as the nasty Donnie and Gary Cole as the prosecutor on the case. I'm not certain what to make of Giovanni Ribisi [I Love Your Work] as a sad neighbor who may or may not have been molested by his father. There are moments in the movie that make no sense, and the ending is the shaggiest of shaggy dog stories. Co-written by Billy Bob Thorton, who must have dreamed this up over a sixpack. Blanchett deservedly won a Best Actress Oscar for Blue Jasmine six years later, but then she was working with Woody Allen and not Raimi of Evil Dead fame. [Raimi did knock one out of the ballpark with Spider-Man 2, however.]

Verdict: Hard to understand what anyone saw in this script. ** out of 4.


angelman66 said...

Agreed. This is not much of a movie, despite the impressive cast. All have been far better in almost any of their movies than this one! Frankly, I didn't start to warm to Blanchett until her recent Oscar role in Blue Jasmine...I like her better now than I used to, but the Elizabethan costume dramas, the Kate Hepburn impersonation and other of her stilted characterizations were kind of annoying and pretentious to me. Except for Talented Mr. Ripley - in which she played an annoying character brilliantly...

William said...

Excellent, excellent take on this actress -- I think you nailed it perfectly. [Maybe she should only do Woody Allen movies!}