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Something to watch tonight: Thursday 31 August
Let Them All Talk (Soderbergh, 2020) is a digital rental at AroVision
It’s hard to believe that only two years ago this week we were back in Alert Level 4 lockdown and I was producing At the Movies for RNZ from my home studio with only downloads and streams for subject matter.
In Steven Soderbergh’s chamber comedy Let Them All Talk, Meryl Streep plays a successful author who, for medical reasons, takes a cruise across the Atlantic rather than fly in order to pick up a prestigious literary award. To keep her company – and to help her deal with an enormous case of writer’s block – she brings her oldest friends along, played deliciously by Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest.
From my At the Movies review:
Coincidentally, another well-known author is on the trip – who knew that New York to Southampton by ship was still so popular? He’s suave thriller writer Kelvin Krantz whose books outsell Anne’s by a significant factor and who clearly doesn’t have a problem with writer’s block.
Let Them All Talk is a film about friendship and what happens when you don’t tend the garden. These are always watchable performers but Soderbergh’s production method I think makes it less successful than it might be: filmed over two weeks on the actual Queen Mary 2 – that’s time for a return voyage I think – using natural light and only a sound recordist as additional crew, encouraging the performers to improvise most of their scenes around credited screenwriter Deborah Eisenberg’s story outline.
Soderbergh has always been known for being fleet and light on his feet but I think this group of characters perhaps needed a little more time to cook. Going back through the film to find audio moments to clip for you I was struck by how unfocused individual scenes could be.
But there are some delicious moments and it’s a fine showcase for these veteran performers and the conclusion is genuinely moving.
Steven Soderbergh has been on my mind a bit lately so you might see his name cropping up a few times in future posts.
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