Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Difference Between Best and Favorite: Slumdog Millionaire

Never before have I been so emotionally affected by a film.

By the end of this heart-warming, fresh, under-dog fantasy tale I wanted nothing more than to get back in line, purchase another ticket, and experience it again. And I indeed would have, had I not had to work an hour after the film got out.

I spoke to my girlfriend on the phone shortly after ranting and raving about the film.

"But was it better than 'Benjamin Button'?" she asked.

My reply went along the lines of something like this. That I didn't even think of the film as better or worse. I simply loved it and was filled to the brim with joy for having seen it. I told her that it may be my favorite film I have ever seen.

I've always loved to make that kind of distinction. the difference between your favorite film and what you think is the best film. For instance I would love to watch "Slumdog Millionaire" over and over again because of how it affected me and how it made me feel. "The Godfather", which indeed is one of my favorites as well as what I consider one of the best films ever made, could not stand up to this test. It's simply too exhausting. I have seen "The Godfather" countless times and know just about every word to the three hour long epic. However the reasons I would watch "The Godfather" are a bit different than what I would watch "Slumdog Millionaire" for. I would watch "Slumdog Millionaire" simply to make me happy.

Now this does not mean that "Slumdog" is not a technical masterpiece. In my eyes it is. The bright, beautiful cinematography is matched with hip, frenetic editing. The shots are all from exciting, interesting angles, that never cease to make this film a wonder to look at. And the music. My God the music pulses with life that keeps you entranced with everything that is going on in the screen.

All of this fantastic technical work would all go to waste if the film had lost grip on the one thing that gives it its heart.

Its story.

The story is a fantasy tale with a romance wrapped in that gave me a yearning feeling in my heart throughout its entire duration. The actors embrace who they are with such heart that to not be able to feel for them is almost impossible. The story, to put it simply, made me look at everything with more love and more empathy. This film made me want to get out of my seat and cheer on a number of occasions.

One reviewer hit the nail on the head when he called the film a "buoyant hymn to life". Never have I heard a reviewer perfectly describe the movie in such few words. However to understand what these four words mean you must see this film.

You must see this film!

"Slumdog Millionaire" deserves every award that it is nominated for. But if it doesn't win, I won't mind. The film has already done it's job to me and so many other viewers. I couldn't see anyone asking for more.