A double feature a couple of Saturdays ago.
First up was L'CHAIM (AUF DES LEBENS) a German film about Ruth, an aging retired cabaret singer who is forced out of her apartment and moved into a place she hates. Young Jonas, one of the movers who helped her, reminds her of an old love, one that we find had a tragic outcome way back in the post-WWII days. After Jonas saves her from a suicide attempt, in a pretty harrowing scene (I admit, I hate the old slitting-the-wrists-in-the-bathtub scene, it always freaks me out) they form a bit of a friendship, and we learn things about Jonas, too. Like that he's running away from his lover for some mysterious reason (which is revealed in the end.) So much of the movie relies on the big reveals at the end that it's hard to give it a fair review without spoilers. But I'll say that the acting is great, the characters compelling, and the reveals at the end more than satisfying. A good story about...well, life.
And then FRANK VS. GOD, a comedy that seems inspired by a play on the phrase "to serve God." David Frank is having a bad life. His wife died in a car crash and he has never gotten over it. He quit his lucrative lawyer career and the only thing keeping him going is his loyal dog and his niece who adores him. Oh yeah, and she's dying of cancer. And when he's away visiting her, a hurricane hits town and destroys his house with his dog inside it. And to top it all off, his insurance company won't give him a dime, calling it an "act of God." So he decides to sue God. A judge with political aspirations allows it so he can be the courageous judge who protected God (wouldn't throwing the case out as laughable be a better way to do that? I guess then it wouldn't even get in the news.) Well, it turns out Frank is a hell of a litigator (no pun intended) and he gives--well, if not God, at least his earthly defenders--quite a fight. Lest you think this is a gleefully wicked movie for angry-at-God atheists, it's not. There's good laughs in it, but it's ultimately a sort of comic romp through comparative religions, and a romantic comedy (that would break all ethics rules about socializing with the opposition) with a bit of a deus ex machina ending, which seems kind of appropriate.
Total Running Time: 186 minutes
My Total Minutes: 407,197