Watching brief
Peter Calder at the New Zealand International Film Festival in Auckland

Gentleman Jim

Add a comment
Jim Carrey (right) with Ewan McGregor in  I Love You Phillip Morris . Photo / Supplied
Jim Carrey (right) with Ewan McGregor in I Love You Phillip Morris . Photo / Supplied

Three in a row yesterday including a bravura performance from Jim Carrey as gay conman Steve Russell in I Love You, Phillip Morris. The title might have suggested a film about the tobacco industry, but this was a based-on-fact story about a real man, adopted at birth by conservative Southern Baptists and, after he came out, embarked on a career of fraud that was probably less hilarious than it seemed on film.

It's tempting to regard Carrey's decision to take this role as brave, though I rather think that he is in a position to do what he wants now. His multiplex constituency will never see it - it hasn't screened outside festivals in the US yet and when it does release in October it will be in art houses in the big three cities; I'd be surprised if it's seen here again.

With this film, Carrey joins a select group of big stars - Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston are others who spring to mind - whose extraordinary acting skills have been hidden by the fact that they quickly became a brand, subsumed into a industry much larger than their skill. Paired with the equally unlikely blond Ewan McGregor as his lifelong love, Carrey turned in a funny, edgy and tender performance in a film as funny as it was intensely moving.

I was a bit puzzled by Certified Copy, the new film by Iranian maestro Abbas Kiarostami, which seemed to me an uneasy collision between European and Eastern sensibility, reality and fantasy with a script that seemed to have been written by Google Translate. But I Travel Because I Have to, I Come Back Because I Love You was a most unusual and rewarding film, a sort of video diary by a depressive geologist scouting a canal route in northeast Brazil; apart from the fact that it took me back to a part of the world where I spent some happy months in the 1970s, it was a film which understood the essential truth that true travel - as distinct from tourism - is a constant process of fending off melancholy.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 24 May 2017 18:18:28 Processing Time: 401ms