Tag Archives: Flesh and Bone

Haunting, Powerful, Passionate: The Age of Innocence and Flesh and Bone

1993 was a year stacked with fine films. From The Piano and Schindler’s List to Groundhog Day and Jurassic Park. It was a year of unheralded classics. Of The Age of Innocence and Flesh and Bone. It was also the year of the blonde.
boo-booSwapping Norah Ephron’s Seattle for Steve Kloves’ West Texas, Meg Ryan gave an indelible performance as a haunting golden-locked woman. Michelle Pfeiffer oozed class, elegance and repressed emotion in Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Edith Warton. Gwyneth Paltrow and Winona Ryder excelled in supporting roles, but it’s Ryan’s tears at the end of her film that always get to me. Such skill.
meg-and-gwynethIt’s strange though, that The Age of Innocence made a mere 32 million at the box-office, but it’s even more ridiculous when you realise that Flesh and Bone made less than a third of that. Four great actors. Dark-hearted brilliance. How was this movie shrugged off by critics and audiences alike?
michelle-and-danielSomething Flesh and Bone shares with The Age of Innocence is a love between two people that can never be; and there is something heartbreaking about such obviously strong feelings going completely unspoken. It’s a wondrous thing to watch as Dennis Quaid (in Flesh and Bone) and Daniel Day-Lewis (in The Age of Innocence) try to mask the flames consuming their hearts.
battered-but-not-brokenQuaid and Meg Ryan draw their characters so well, moments between the two are just gorgeous to watch. Bereft of romantic lighting and luminous costumes they create a chemistry as hot as the roaring fires that pop up constantly throughout The Age of Innocence. No one here is playing at anything. It’s a world this couple seem to possess in their DNA. Their subtle, naturalistic acting is exhilarating, forming a perfect corollary to the barely constrained passion of Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer.
newland-and-the-countessPassions run deep between Edith Wharton’s forbidden lovers.Their furtive glances and embraces behind closed doors are electric, but they also demonstrate that sometimes less can be more. Little things like the removal of a glove and a kiss on the neck are all so erotic, and all so poignant. The scenes shared by Daniel and Michelle touch a nerve, making for one of the greatest, most exquisitely painful heartbreaks of all time.
odysseyFrom the masterpieces to the crowd pleasers, 1993 was an amazing year. Carlito’s Way, Cliffhanger, The Firm, In the Name of the Father, Judgment Night and Mad Dog and Glory. All were gifts bestowed to us by the movie gods, but The Age of Innocence and Flesh and Bone had the most profound effect on me. For very similar reasons.

Ellens Eyes on Boo BooSo, which of these forbidden lovers thrill you the most?

 

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Déjà vu Review: Flesh and Bone (1993)

Flesh and Bone is a film that gets under my skin. A doom laden sojourn into southern gothic; it’s beautiful, moving and macabre, and it passed almost unseen on its theatrical release in 1993.
Dennis Quaid plays Arlis Sweeney, a vending machine stocker who travels the desolate plains of West Texas haunted by a childhood memory. One bad night, when his father Roy’s (James Caan) abortive burglary culminated in the murder of a family, leaving a crying infant as the only survivor.
Arlis SweeneyThe torment Arlis has born for thirty years is etched in his face, as he stoically avoids any emotional attachments; visiting the same towns, eating the same food, sleeping in the same beds and then starting all over again.
Flesh and Bone (1993)His obsessive routine is disrupted however, when he crosses paths with Kay Davies (Meg Ryan), a wayward young woman who’s running from a broken marriage. Kay joins him on the road and they soon become intimate. But just as they’re on the cusp of a future together, the sudden reappearance of a figure from his past, and a chance discovery, lead Arlis to a shattering realisation, and a confrontation, 30 years in the making.
Kay Motel RoomFlesh and Bone is a poetic vision of loneliness and isolation, its stillness evoking the Coen Brother’s Blood Simple. The West Texas landscape is arid and scorched, but the visuals are as luminous, from the grocery stores and bus stations, right down to the melted ice around beer bottles in a wash basin at dawn.meg-and-dennisQuaid and Ryan have a delightfully casual interplay, but they are also able to express so much with just facial expressions. Meg in particular nails the insecurity and hesitancy under Kay’s brash, invulnerable front. Ryan’s work is both sultry and superb, culminating in the scene where she walks through the miles of empty fields surrounding her abandoned childhood home.Kay (Meg Ryan)It’s a truly stunning sequence, enhanced by Thomas Newman’s music, the emptiness of the landscape echoing the emptiness inside her character. But then all the characters in Flesh and Bone are empty; they’re all searching for something without knowing, or understanding what. They move simply because they find it impossible to stay still; like the blood coursing through their veins.

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