Movie critics are heaping praise on the new movies, BLUE VALENTINE and THE WAY BACK.
Nobody could describe either one of them as entertaining, but sometimes good movies are painful to watch.
THE WAY BACK is about seven people who escape from a Russian prison camp in Siberia during World War 2. They suffer extreme hardship and deprivation as they trek through four thousand miles of wilderness.
In his first movie MASTER AND COMMANDER in 2003 director Peter Weir has made an uncompromising adventure about six men and one woman who attempt what seems impossible.
Freezing in the snow, nearly dying of thirst in the desert, and starving everywhere, their realistic struggle to survive is not easy to watch.
What made THE WAY BACK worth seeing for me was the amazing performance of Colin Farrell as a hardened criminal whose murderous skills help the group survive.
Ed Harris as the oldest person of the group is also top notch.
But if you really don't want to watch people suffer, then it really doesn't matter how well made this movie is.
BLUE VELENTINE presents a doomed relationship as it begins and as it ends.
Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling turn their emotions inside out as a young couple who come together and break apart in this powerful anatomy of a relationship that probably shouldn't have started in the first place.
The movie cuts back and forth between the early and late stages of their relationship.
From sweetness and pain and back again, BLUE VALENTINE is so honest and so real that it reminded me of the movies John Cassavetes made in the 1960's and 70's.
Michelle Williams has earned an Oscar nomination for this movie, and she truly deserves that honor even though the nakedness and vulnerability of her performance will make many people uncomfortable.