Charlotte Sometimes

Synopsis: Sometimes the truth is in the lie

Nominated for two 2003 Independent Spirit Awards and hailed by Roger Ebert as a breakthrough for Asian American Filmmakers, Charlotte Sometimes is a mysterious and erotic romance exploring the kinds of love for which there are no names or clear arrangements. Michael Idemoto (Sunsets) stars as Michael, reclusive auto mechanic captivated by a mysterious drifter (Jacqueline Kim, 2003 nominee for Best Supporting Actress). Eugenia Yuan (2003 Hong Kong Academy Award winner for Three) co-stars as Michael’s tenant and best friend who, despite her live-in boyfriend, may hold the key to Michael’s heart. When the women in Michael’s life meet face-to-face, Michael is forced to choose between a daring tryst with an alluring stranger, and the habitual comfort of his bittersweet obsession.

Charlotte Sometimes 7.75

You know, I really enjoyed watching ‘Charlotte Sometimes’. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

Quick question: Have you ever had one of those experiences that you’re clearly enjoying, but you can’t really find the words to express the hows or whys?

Well, this is one of those experiences for me. I can’t explain why I’m at a loss for words, but I am (which is, not only out of character, but also, it must be said, not at all indicative of the quality of this film winking0002 Free Emoticons   Winking).

Years ago, when I first saw ‘Charlotte Sometimes’, I gave it an 8.0; I liked it enough that I went out and bought it. jumping0050 Free Emoticons   Jumping

I still found it thoroughly enjoyable this time around, but I can’t say that I’m raving about it. I still like the story (and its unexpected twists!), much of the script, the acting had its finer moments, the soundtrack was what you’d expect from an indie film of its ilk, the direction was unobtrusive, …etc. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

Maybe my brain is set on “stun” this week, but that’s it. That’s all I’ve got. All I can tell you beyond this is that two of the actors/characters appealed to me quite a bit:

  • Jacqueline Kim (Darcy): Even though her character is a total @$$hole, I quite liked Kim’s performance – she gave the character an intoxicating spunk that made her leap off the screen. happy0021 Free Emoticons   Happy
  • Michael Idemoto (Michael): Despite the fact that his character is stoic and reserved, he’s not actually insensitive. In fact, we do get a sense of what’s going on with him during his lengthy silences. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

The other two main actors/characters were alright. Yuan plays her character buoyant but oblivious, which is probably right for the part. However, I either didn’t like the role or her acting – not sure which (I may have been distracted by her deliciousness winking0002 Free Emoticons   Winking). As for Westmore, who plays her boyfriend? He gets by… but almost anyone could have done equally well. indifferent0004 Free Emoticons   Indifferent

The film revolves around the friendship between Michael and his tenant. There is an unaddressed longing on his part while she is filling the void of her emotionally unsatisfying relationship with his presence. It makes for some nice tension, and it got especially dynamic when her boyfriend was thrown into the mix, as well as Darcy, whom Michael suddenly had his eye on. winking0002 Free Emoticons   Winking

While I disagreed with his way of being in the world, I totally understood Michael’s feelings and motives: a lot of it was rooted in a sense of obligation and responsibility (he is always trying to do the right thing, to be a nice guy). I’d say this performance is the anchor of the film; if Idemoto had not been as capable at conveying so much with so little, I’m sure the film wouldn’t be as successful. So kudos to him for that. happy0021 Free Emoticons   Happy

Bottom line, ‘Charlotte Sometimes’ is a very well-made drama about relationships with family members, friends and lovers. It’s not likely to blow one away (although Roger Ebert was apparently very keen on it winking0002 Free Emoticons   Winking), but it’s a fine piece that is at least worth a rental, if not some actual shelf space.

I would easily watch it again, and I recommend it to anyone in the mood for a true-to-life drama. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

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