And all our Middleburg Film Festival Coverage

Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

Like The Film Experience on Facebook

Powered by Squarespace
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment(s) Du Jour
English Patient Reunion

"This is my all time favorite. I have seen it at least fifty times -I used to watch it after breakup." -John T

"Still so enigmatic & mesmerizing after all these years..." -Claran

Keep TFE Strong



Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience


For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.


Entries in Michelle Williams (42)


The definitely incomplete history of Janis Joplin biopics

by Josh Forward

There have been so many rumoured, green lit and delayed productions of a Janis Joplin biopic, it’s nearly impossible to keep track. But we're here to try! Janis was a 60’s superstar, with an iconic voice and an image that was reflective of the counter culture of the times. She also sadly joined the 27 club by a drug overdose. 

Her incredible life and talent has been promised on the big screen for decades and the latest announcement has Michelle Williams as Joplin under the direction of Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene). This will be based on Laura Joplin’s book "Love, Janis" made up of real letters from Joplin. This is not to be confused with the delayed version starring Amy Adams directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, halted by legal trouble which was tentatively called Get it While You Can.

But these two productions have actually been competing since the 1990’s. And before them there were other failed attempts. Let’s look back...

Click to read more ...


NYFF: Certain Women

Here's Jason reporting from the NYFF on Kelly Reichardt's latest.

Think of it as Pulp Fiction's second cousin, a wallflower who stands blushing at the side of the dance-floor - Kelly Reichardt's Certain Women does command swirling depths from its three interconnected stories; you've just got to take the time and have the patience to suss them out. But man, she dances if you do...

Click to read more ...


Michelle Williams' Oscar Moment might be in Manchester

by Murtada

Williams this week at NYFF

There was a time - say early 2012 - when Michelle Williams could do no wrong with Oscar. Basking in her third overall nomination for My Week with Marilyn (2011), the second in as many years as she was nominated the year before for Blue Valentine (2010), she had the heat, she had the momentum. She also had the critical and cinephile love with acclaimed performances behind her in Take this Waltz (2011), Meek’s Cutoff (2010) and Wendy and Lucy (2008).

The win was definitely coming and soon. How times change.

Click to read more ...


Yes No Maybe So: Certain Women

by Laurence Barber

Premiering at Sundance to a wave of critical acclaimCertain Women was later picked up by IFC for distribution and they've recently released the first trailer. Written and directed by Kelly Reichardt, whose patient portraits of the American northwest tend to inspire either passionate love or cool indifference, it stars acting goddesses Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and newly-minted demi-goddess Kristen Stewart. Reichardt's last film, Night Moves, was more on the propulsive side but Certain Women scales things back, adapting three stories from Maile Meloy's collection Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It.

Having seen Certain Women back in June at the Sydney Film Festival, I can tell you that this one of those movies concocted in a laboratory just for your enjoyment. Collating and cross-charting the experiences of four women under different kinds of duress, the film is impressively performed and crafted. On the awards side though it isn't going to gain much traction outside of the Independent Spirit Awards. It's not that it's difficult, but it definitely asks you to fall into its river and let the current take you. 

Le's break down the trailer after the jump...


Guess we'll just start at the beginning.

Click to read more ...


April Showers: Blue Valentine

In April Showers, Team TFE looks at our favorite waterlogged moments in the movies. Here's Kieran Scarlett on Blue Valentine (2010).

What are you doing?

-What does it look like I'm doing?

Getting all wet and naked.

A shower scene between two clearly beautiful lovers (even with the aging makeup) has rarely felt less erotic and more heartbreaking. This exchange manages to perfectly illustrate the tragic state of Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy’s (Michelle Williams) relationship in Derek Cianfrance’s modern masterpiece, Blue Valentine. Dean is still obliviously playful, too willing to overlook the realities of his disintegrating marriage in favor of ham-handedly ginning up passion and romance. Cindy feels trapped and hopeless, unable to seek refuge from her husband’s obtuse adulation even in the shower. Her voice drips with the weary impatience often heard in response to a child’s incessant questioning, which frankly is not too dissimilar to how Cindy regards Dean at this point. It’s very much an extension of the first time we see Cindy. She’s lying in bed in the early hours of the morning. Her husband and young daughter, very much equals in their oppressive childlike exuberance bound in and snap her from the slumber into the harsh reality that is this life in which she has found herself.

The traditional (and very valid) reading of Blue Valentine’s two-ply structure (the birth of a romance intercut with its slow, painful death) is that Dean and Cindy have lost something. Their love, once ideal and passionate has been suffocated under the stresses of parenthood and a whirlwind courtship turned into a long marriage. However, there are clear indications in the earlier years that bumps in the road litter their future. Dean wants to be whatever Cindy needs him to be, but lacks the motivation or introspection to figure out how to do so. And Cindy, still unsure of herself can’t begin to know exactly what it is she needs from Dean.

As satisfying as it is to watch them fall in love in their earliest interactions, this is clearly the dynamic from the beginning. As deeply enamored with one another as they are, Dean and Cindy enter each other's lives as solutions to a problem. This problem is bigger than her unremarkable relationship with the lug, Bobby Ontario (Mike Vogel), her eventual pregnancy or her desire to leave her abusive father’s house. It's bigger than Dean's aimlessness paired destructively with his need to be a savior. It’s a problem neither of them can identify, which makes the solution frustratingly out of reach.

So, in this moment, Dean and Cindy take a shower that’s anything but romantic. In the “future room” of this kitschy lovers’ motel, it’s the last gasp of a romance that may well have no future at all. Only a past, looked back upon with unreliable rose-colored glasses and a present where these two lovers, once white hot with passion, can hardly seem to look at each other. Even in the confines of a shower.


Michelle Williams (x2) Heading to Sundance

Manuel here. Michelle Williams has been surprisingly absent from our screens since she played Glinda in Oz the Great and the Powerful (2013). Though if you were abroad you apparently got to see her alongside Kristin Scott-Thomas in something called Suite Française? (No, it never opened in the US). That looks to change this year. The actress has two projects that will be unveiled at Sundance next month.

First up we'll see her reunite with Wendy and Lucy director Kelly Reichardt in Certain Women. Adapted from Maile Meloy’s short stories, the film will make its debut at Sundance and follows three intersecting stories of women in Montana. It co-stars Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, James Le Gros, Jared Harris, and Lily Gladstone.

She also has a role in Kenneth Lonergan's follow-up to Margaret, Manchester by the Sea. The fillm follows Lee (Casey Affleck) as he returns to his Boston suburb hometown after a family death, coming to terms again with his estranged wife (Williams). Kyle Chandler and Lucas Hedges also star.

It'll be a nice one-two punch of a return for the actress, especially coming from two such exciting writer/directors; Williams thrives in these low-key indie films so welcome her back with open arms. And, of course, if either of these films get her glowing reviews, might the actress be angling for Oscar nom #4?


HBO’s LGBT History: If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions...

Last week we looked at a number of HBO TV episodes from 1998 (wasn't '98 the gayest?) that gave us a broader cross-section of gay men on screen than the AIDS victim/activist/mourner trifecta we had so grown used to in the HBO films of the early 1990s. Today, we turn our attention to HBO’s first openly didactic piece of LGBT filmmaking with an anthology film helmed by a group of female writers and directors that aimed to trace a (narrow) history of the (white) lesbian experience in the twentieth century.

If These Walls Could Talk 2, much like the anthology film that gives it its name (they’re not really sequels per se, the first dealing with unwanted pregnancies), is comprised of three stories set in the same house and dealing with the same issue: namely, lesbianism. Taken together, the three short films that make up the piece (set in 1961, 1972 and 2000) track a by now familiar narrative of lesbian representation. The melodrama of the early 1960s, steeped in silence and euphemisms, gives way to a romance set against the backdrop of the vexed relationship between lesbians and feminism in the 70s, ending in a “new normal” vision of lesbian parenthood. Schematically we move from a couple to a community and then to a family. A fascinating progression but one which seems much too facile, especially when the first entry is by far its most rewarding. [More...]

Click to read more ...