Mutual Appreciation Screen 8 articles

Mutual Appreciation

2005

Mutual Appreciation Poster
  • Youth-film protagonists typically act as if they're living in a movie. Bujalski's appear to be trapped between parentheses. More fascinating than his borderline tiresome characters is Bujalski's knack for constructing narrative and characterization out of a smartly edited array of seemingly improvised performances and an apparently aimless succession of uninflected moments.

  • Solipsistic as it (and its future-forestalling trio) may occasionally be, Bujalski's sharp sophomore effort—courtesy of its perceptive, heartfelt humanism—ultimately makes such self-infatuation more infectious than off-putting.

  • Bujalski’s aesthetic of faux-improvised dialog, utilizing all the awkward pauses, faltering lack of eloquence, and stream of consciousness that gives the impression everyone is speaking their mind, in the moment, when coupled with the sheer banality of the Brooklyn locations exudes an observational simplicity that belays the sharp, structured script at the film’s heart.

  • It’s the sort of unassuming discovery that could get lost in a crowd or suffer from too much big love, and while it won’t save or change your life, it may make your heart swell. Its aim is modest and true... If Mr. Bujalski has learned anything from Cassavetes, it’s that films should be about life, not death, fashion or virtuosity, and that there are few more meaningful subjects for art and for personal expression than other people.

  • One of Bujalski's gifts is his ability to give every part, no matter how big or small, a sense of intelligence and life that extends beyond the frame and running time, and in this his work recalls the best of both Mike Leigh and Richard Linklater.

  • ``Funny Ha Ha" was about a stalled 20-something and her romantic entanglements. (The woman who played her, Kate Dollenmayer, has a too-small part here.) ``Mutual Appreciation" is the second chapter in what seems like Bujalski's statement about people trying to find the right words as they move toward adulthood and negotiating their fears of commitment of any kind -- to a job, a person, or a complete thought.

  • While Cassavetes is the most obvious influence, one might also regard Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciationas Rohmer without subtitles. Both films are “moral tales” whose characters leap to language as offense and defense... The unvarnished actors, including Bujalski as the pal who’s unsure of whether he's being betrayed or not, could not be better.

  • A cast gifted at offhand delivery and squirmingly funny body language brings Bujalski’s smart script vividly to life. Good with women, as always, Bujalski puts his most insightful and forthright character Ellie, the center of a tentative romantic triangle, at the center of the movie as well. The dialogue sounds improvised, thanks to Bujalski’s deftness at capturing that millennial way of talking that manages to be both self-effacingly diffident and disarmingly direct.

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