Saturday, September 5, 2020

Movie Reviews: You Should Have Left

You Should Have Left
directed by David Koepp
You Should Have Left is in some aspects a horror film but using that descriptor makes it sound as if there's going to be plenty of blood and guts, heavy special effects, overused jump cuts, sharp violins squealing just before someone gets stabbed in the neck, disgusting deeds, bouncing mammary glands, and plenty of naive people doing stupid things so that they can move the story along. 

There's none of that here. There may or may not be supernatural elements. I think that there are but different viewers may see things differently. Maybe a psychological thriller would be a better way to describe this movie. I thought the ending was predictable, but I watch a lot of these sort of films. 

For the casual thriller or horror film viewer this movie might be a breath of fresh air. And for people who refuse to watch horror or thriller films on general principle because of the violence, this film lacks explicit mayhem.

I've written before that it must take a special person to marry and to remain married to a working musician, an actor/actress, a model. First, one spouse is often away from home for months at a time, something which just by definition would appear to make staying happily married more difficult, at least in the beginning. And the artist may not want his or her spouse tagging along on tour or shoots, even if it's financially feasible. Next, actors and/or models often appear nude, semi-nude or otherwise display body parts which their wife or husband might think that only he or she should be seeing. Even for the person who claims to lack any jealousy, this might cause some occasional issues.

Hall of Fame baseball player Joe DiMaggio was disgusted, embarrassed and angered when his then wife Marilyn Monroe, filming The Seven Year Itch, stood over a subway grate to let the hot air send her dress flying skyward while everyone took pictures. What was just business and a little fun for Monroe was apparently the last straw for DiMaggio. Later on the couple fought, divorcing soon afterwards.

Theo Conway (Kevin Bacon) is no Joe DiMaggio. Not even close. But the retired Theo (he used to be a banker) is an older man married to the younger Susanna (Amanda Seyfreid), a popular actress. The two have a young daughter Ella (Avery Essex) who is wise beyond her years. When Theo tries to visit Susanna on set one day, the film crew won't let him see her. 

But Theo can hear Susanna's loud "expressions of joy" as she completes filming a take of a lovemaking scene, one in which she is nude. This bothers Theo, not only because he's not on the approved visitor list but also because Susanna never ever sounds like that when she's with him. And Theo, like most older men, isn't kicking the stall as hard as he used to kick in his younger days. Susanna claims Theo's exclusion was just a mixup with security and the producers. Theo's not so sure.

Both for vacation and to put some fire back into the marriage Theo and Susanna rent a country home in Wales. It's a strange home however. It's modern and cold. It's not exactly what either Theo or Susanna expected. They also later discover that neither of them rented it. They each thought the other did. 

The home seems larger on the inside than the outside. For some reason Susanna tells the precocious Ella a secret about Theo that Theo didn't think was Susanna's to share. It's easy to get lost in the home. And time appears to pass in different ways.

This was a decent, not great movie that relies on Bacon to do all the heavy lifting. It has some things to say about guilt, forgiveness, marriage, parenthood and manhood among other topics. I didn't think it had real scares or chills. I found it ultimately too timid. But as mentioned it might work if you're looking for light horror.
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