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Friday
Apr112014

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Decoding Annie Parker"

Counter-programming in the summer. Love it! Decoding Annie Parker, a movie about early strides in Breast Cancer Research arrives on May 2nd. Samantha Morton plays the title character, a young mother who is diagnosed with breast cancer. She seeks answers as her husband (Aaron Paul, who sure is working a lot) struggles to understand/deal. A pioneering doctor (Helen Hunt) is also on the case in this true story.

We'll break down the trailer after the jump.

You are hot." 

If only Hollywood thought so! She's such a great actress.

YES

• Remember how great Samantha Morton was in her hospital scenes in In America (2003) and as the mother of young children? Could that magic strike twice?

• We want more movies about female journeys so if we want them, we have to get out and support them. 

• True Imaginary Fact: This screencap from the trailer is a letter I wrote. I'll read it for you since the type is small...

Dear Casting Directors of America,

I am writing to you as the Spokeperson for all Actressexuals of the world. I've enclosed a picture of two time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton above so that you can be reminded that she is a radiant beautiful actress. Not beautiful in the traditional actressy sense that you assume we all want every time, maybe, but consider variety in your casting decisions. The screen has room for real looking women, too. She's irreplaceable and full of mesmerizing contradictions: grounded (The Messenger) and yet heady (Morvern Callar), real (Control) and yet beyond reality (Minority Report), Madonna (In America) and yet Whore (Under the Skin). She is so gifted. Please don't let me keep thinking I can do your job better than you and start casting her regularly again. 

Sincerely,

Nathaniel

NO

Breast Cancer - it's hilarious!

• I can't with Aaron Paul's hair in this trailer. Bad wigs can ruin whole movies... see also: X-Men movies and Nicolas Cage movies (not that the latter need any help being ruined)

• And why does the entire supporting cast read as broadly comic caricatures?

• Triumph of the Human Spirit movies can sometimes cause hives

• It's super awkward to put the meeting of Helen Hunt and Samantha Morton up front since the rest of the trailer makes you think that that's the ending. It's especially awkward up front because Hunt reads more like a politician with that scene's look and I was initially confused that she is the doctor. Even though yes yes the first words you hear are "Doctor King, Doctor King". My bad but the trailer starts really fast and you have to be pinpoint precise when you've only got 2 minutes to sell a ticket.

MAYBE SO


He compared you to an animated grasshopper."

• Helen Hunt was once wildly overrated and that Oscar win still stings but she was brilliant in The Sessions (nominated right here) so let's give her a shot again as we LOL at that description screencapped. It's eccentrically right somehow.

• Trailers have a way of simplifying everything and fearing their natural audience IF that audience happens to be a limited one. That might account for the manically Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy tone for a film with tough subject matter. So the bizarre music choices and knee slapper cuts might be disguising a warm melancholy drama with a few laughs about women struggling to make sense of cancer from both sides of the examining room.

Are you a Yes No or a Maybe So? On the basis of this trailer alone I'd lean "no" but I love Samantha Morton and rarely get to see her, so, Yes.

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Reader Comments (17)

Looks a bit like a Lifetime Original movie. I wonder if it was slated as such until actresses people are familiar with showed some interest.....

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Morton was the best thing about Minority Report. You forgot to include Corey Stoll in your response to the trailer.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Love the cast but it looks too cheesy.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Everything about the trailer felt off (except, of course, for the presence of Samantha Morton) but I have strong feelings about the subject matter that might tip me towards yes.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

I'm a Maybe So...more "So" for Hunt and Morton, more "Maybe" for everything else.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

I saw it last September during my local filmfestival. It was my least favourite of the 34 films I saw during those nine days.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRalph

Nathaniel, who would you have given Helen Hunt's Oscar to? I agree in that she's not one of my fav B. Actress winners. But whenever I look back at 1997, it's not a great lineup, so I'm curious about who would have gotten your vote in that lineup.

The Pretentious Know It All: I'd guess HBC's last "English Rose" performance in The Wings of the Dove, though I'm guessing his "of the year" (meaning whether nominated or not) would be hard fought between that or Jackie Brown.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

The Pretentious Know It All: We all know it sure ain't Judi Dench.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

I'm a yes.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

When Samantha Morton is on she's quietly devastating, but when she's off she's completely disconnected from the rest of the cast and the film...

I pay no attention to the talk of her being 'difficult' but if that lack of connection with everyone else leaks into the film (which it seems to have done in the past) then I'm concerned.

Am I the only person to find her wildly overrated in In America? I adore her, but that was definitely an 'off' performance for me... conversely, I still don't think that half the voters who nominated Woody Harrelson in The Messenger actually watched the movie. If they did, how the hell did they miss Morton!? She was already on people's radar (2 nominations) yet somehow missed out to Maggie Gyllenhaal phoning in her worst performance to date? Weird.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

TPKIA - I thought Helena Bonham-Carter was the best that year by a good margin. For that year and from her whole filmography. Incredible layered work.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Morton is one of those actresses who will only be nominated and never win the oscar, crazily talented but won't be a huge name
Prime example is her, laura linney and joan allen

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

I think she is far more interesting as a person than half the cookie cutter females on red carpets nowadays,at least she is who she is,i hate that scarlett took the voice work from her,maybe the film would have been v different with her,she is supporting in in ameria but she nails her big scenes,but hey what was that 03 line up outside of theron.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

I'm yes just for it being a medical drama that's actually approaching the subject from a scientific angle. It's something different.

The Aaron Paul wig is terrible, though. Clearly the budget went to Samantha Morton's much more believable wig with the start of a thinning hairline when she meets Dr. King.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

The trailer made me cry (admittedly I have some personal interest in the subject) so I'm a big yes.

But thinking more analytically: while it looks like it might be overly simplistic, I need a palate cleanser after Dallas Buyers Club's "finding a cure" arc turned into an exercise in vilifying science and glorifying those who took to measures proven not to work. So I'm a yes twice over.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

It's a yes from me! I saw it at SIFF last year. Samantha Morton's performance is incredible with a great supporting cast including Rashida Jones who nails it. I think Samantha Morton won best actress for it there. It's a very honest portrayal of the cancer journey with just the right amount of humor to soften the blow and make it dare I say, entertaining.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlisa

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