Spilling the Beans and the Plight of a Seagull in #TheLighthouse

*Potential Spoilers Ahead*

When Robert Pattinson’s character finally “spills the beans” to Willem Dafoe’s character in Robert Egger’s grim, grimy and sea-battered The Lighthouse, he claims to be a former timber worker who killed his boss, wrestling now with his guilt at the remote coastal outpost of the film’s title. I thought, however, that he was more likely the soul of one of those dead sailors Dafoe claimed are living inside seagulls. A particular seagull, with one eye, is one of the key antagonists (along with Dafoe), but all three characters (young man, old man, and gull) might very well be one in the same in this Persona-like decent into male madness.

There are elements of The Lighthouse I admired: Dafoe’s over-the-top salty seadog ranting, the claustrophobic aspect ratio, the Nova Scotia setting, the bleak black-and-white cinematography, the seagull, and the surreal visions (a harpy of a mermaid, a slithering Neptune).

There are elements of The Lighthouse I could’ve done without: the focus on bodily functions, the insular white male insanity, the fate of the seagull, the seagull’s ultimate revenge.

There’s nothing that was particularly scary, but certain scenes and images were fittingly disturbing. Some parts were played so absurdly straight (a seemingly endless fall down twisting stairs) as to elicit laughter.

I could’ve used more story…more characters…more of the sea.

Much like Eggers’ first film, the equally grim The Witch, I can’t say I liked the film, nor would I recommend it to anyone. But I know there are many out there who would watch this and relish every stinking bit of it. So if you’re one them, enjoy.

Written by D. H. Schleicher

Favorite Films about Yo Momma

Let’s face it, it’s still a man’s world, especially in Hollywood.  Sure, Kathryn Bigelow became the first female director to take home that little gold statue this year, but it was for directing a war film about men.  I had a sudden notion, in honor of Mother’s Day, to invite everyone to share their lists of their favorite films about mothers.  There’s no shortage of father-and-son films — hell, you could make an argument 90% of all films made are in some way thematically tied to the bond or lack thereof between fathers and sons either symbolically or literally — but I’ve been wracking my brain to name even just ten films about mothers or Mother and Child— hey, there’s a plug for that new Naomi Watts/Annette Bening film that just opened in limited release this weekend to good reviews.

Sam Jackson asks Naomi, "Hey, girl, when you gonna lemme take you for a spin down m***** f****** Mulholland Drive?"

So what did I think of?

  • The film that sunk Faye Dunaway’s career and made her a camp queen, Mommie Dearest
  • Albert Brooks’ sardonic Mother Continue reading