Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Corner of the Universe

Author(s): Evan D.
Location: NY

"A Corner Of The Universe"

Fox Searchlight
Directed By: Jay Russell
Written By: Anne M. Martin and Anthony Minghella
Score: Andrew Hollander
Cinematography: Eric Steelberg

Main Cast

Hattie – Anna Sophia Robb
Adam – Ryan Gosling
Liz- Dakota Blue Richards
Angel – Rachel McAdams
Dan (Hattie’s Dad) – Greg Kinnear
Laura (Hattie’s Mom) – Keri Russell

Tagline: "In the ever expanding universe, your corner of it will always remain the same, unless you choose to change it"

Synopsis: It’s 1960, and 12-year-old Hattie Owen expects her summer to be as normal, comfortable, and uneventful as all the others. She's looking forward to helping her mother run their boarding house with it's many interesting tenants, painting alongside her artist father, and reading her many books. Hattie loves to read. Every time she can, she picks up a book and tries to escape to another world. Then 21-year-old Uncle Adam, whom Hattie never knew existed, comes to stay with the Owens because his "school" has closed down. It soon becomes apparent that he has mental disabilities: he is a rapidly babbling, Lucille Ball-quoting, calendar-savant and emotionally immature child in a man's body. To Hattie, Adam is more like the younger brother she never had than he is an Uncle. He is pure fun, utterly innocent, very spontaneous and always, by her standards, in need of a helping hand. Adam also added another dimension to Hattie's life; he brought her a new awareness of her family and her town. Hattie's old standards of fairness, tolerance and understanding were severely challenged by Adam's reception into her town; the children of the community consider him a “freak,” and to the adults he is an oddity and a sometimes nuisance. And even to his own parents, Adam is clearly an unwelcome visitor that has to be tolerated. Hattie responds to these attitudes by making it her self-appointed task to guide Adam through his temporary life in Millerton. Adam had been sent off to “school” when she was only 2 years old. However, Hattie quickly finds a kindred spirit in her uncle, as they make friends with a young girl named Liz who is the daughter of the ring leader of a visiting circus. The three embark on a summer during which Hattie will find adventure, tragedy and enlightenment as she "lifts the corners of her universe" in order to better understand those around her, and to learn to heal and communicate. But, from the moment Adam laid eyes on Angel, Hattie’s parent’s newest, and youngest, boarder, he began to fantasize that there might be a relationship between them. His attraction to Angel is obvious to Hattie but Angel is oblivious; if she noticed Adam's romantic notions at all, she completely misinterpreted them as just another eccentricity of his eccentric self. Angel's indifference to that relationship brought Adam to realize that normality and acceptance were well beyond his grasp. At the end of the film, Adam becomes extremely scared when a Ferris wheel brakes when he, Hattie, and Liz are at the top of it. He has always been frightened of heights, and he doesn’t think they will ever get out of it. That everyone will leave him up in space because he’s different. After this severe breakdown, and the rejection he receives after Angel left the boarding house without saying goodbye, Adam hangs himself in the back shed of his parent’s house. He was never able to understand why his misadventures were so much more frowned upon than other, more normal peoples mistakes.

What the Press would say:

Based off of the New York Times Bestseller of the same name, Anne M. Martin (The Author) and Anthony Minghella bring this perennial book to the screen in the most positive way. The first shot in the film is a shot of a turning Ferris wheel, which will soon become a major part of the story. Director Jay Russell turns inanimate objects and such into key players in this pastel colored picture. Annasophia Robb (Because Of Winne Dixie) is perfectly cast as Hattie, the young girl who finds an unexpected friend in her mentally ill uncle. Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) gives his best performance yet, captivating, rather than annoying the audience with his quirky smile and childlike movements. The odd, colorful, and stylized 60’s costumes makes this film look like a cross between “The Diving Bell And The Butterfly” and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.” The sweeping cinematography creates a wider scope, and perspective, so the audience really sees how the things that happen are much bigger than they may seem to the characters. With a touching and lyrical score by Andrew Hollander (“Waitress”), the magic really shines through in every little segment of the story. This movie is coupled with a new song, written for the film by the acclaimed Canadian singer, Feist. The single is called “Changes In Me,” and is a catchy and well written song about how anyone, and any moment, can change your life. This movie is about acceptance, and how some people, because of fate, aren’t able to live the lives they want to live. “A Corner Of the Universe” shows us all that a heart of gold can exist in anyone, no mater the exterior. “A Corner Of The Universe” is a beautiful film, and possibly the best of the year. Unlike other book to film translations, like “Memoirs Of A Geisha”, “Running With Scissors”, and “Cold Mountain” which failed miserably come award season, this film is likely to captivate the hearts of everyone, and anyone, who has ever felt like an oddity.

Best Picture

Best Director - Jay Russell
Best Actor – Ryan Gosling
Best Actress – Anna Sophia Robb
Best Supporting Actor – Greg Kinnear
Best Supporting Actress – Keri Russell
Best Supporting Actress – Rachel McAdams
Best Supporting Actress – Dakota Blue Richards
Best Adapted Screenplay - Anne M. Martin and Anthony Minghella
Best Cinematography
Best Sound Editing
Best Art Direction
Best Sound Editing
Best Editing
Best Costume Design
Best Original Score
Best Song “Changes In Me” – Feist

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