Movie Review – Adopt a Sailor (2008)
Catharsis is defined in the Random House Dictionary as “the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, esp. through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.” And in the spirit of eating Chanukah dinner tonight, this movie is the quest of epiphany after cathartic meal-time sharing. Adopt a Sailor, a refreshingly pointed film, full on theatrics displaying and the strength of a young, charming, savant sailor who catalyzes exploring the anti-intimacy of a long-married couple. Chaos crying, and even joy ensue. The husband, an unemployed ex-film professor, bursts into constant philosophical angst and his “us vs. them” disposition clashes with his successful art-dealing wife, who has a savvy sense of place, but only through talking with the sailor is she able to truly reconnect with her emotions, long repressed under resentment for her husband’s progressively more esoteric ranting.
Ok, so that’s a mouthful, but so is this movie. It’s all dialogue—and all written wonderfully. The movie is basically a play with the advantage of camera direction. It knows exactly what it wants to be: a classic exploration of the distance people put between them. I was enamored with the couple’s neurosis and by contrast, how the sailor’s simple world-view provides them the grounding they need to salvage their relationship. Oh, and in revealing his own most impressive life stories, gives the couple the context that reality has to simply be attended to.
What does this all mean? See it. Bebe Neuwerth steals the show, proving a triangle doesn’t have to be equilateral to make theatrical sense.
Happy first night of the festival of lights!