Quick recap: The story is set in 1904 when a couple of old ladies are throwing a party. The guests all talk about artsy stuff like the opera and who is a good singer and then, after everyone toasts the women on a job well done, everyone leaves. The main couple head to a hotel where the wife reveals she loved a boy before her husband and it’s making her super sad, you guys. In turn, the husband stares out of the window and realizes that he kind of sucks if his wife loves some dead kid more than him. He then says something about everyone dying at some point and then FIN.
Fun (?) fact: One of the first apps I ever downloaded was Solitaire for my iPhone. I’m proud to say that I played my 2000th game during this movie. And by proud, I mean ashamed. And by ashamed, I mean that I really feel no emotion.
My thoughts: I don’t think my hopes have ever crashed as hard as when I realized The Dead was not in fact about ghosts, but instead a period drama. Believe me, nothing strikes fear more than ‘period drama’, but I was still hoping that there would at least be some murder or ghostly shenanigans going on. Not in the slightest. In fact, the only drama that occurs in the entire movie happens in the last 7 or so minutes of the film. And that’s only if you consider a woman revealing that she loved someone who later died ‘drama’. Which I don’t, and really, you shouldn’t stoop yourself low enough to consider it either.
I do feel a bit hypocritical harping about how boring this movie is, when I just recently sat through almost 4 hours of a woman cleaning her house. The only action happened at the end of that movie as well, but was much more satisfying. Ever since stopping the practice of reading up on a film before watching it, I could only guess at what was about to change in the couple’s marriage. ( Side note: the Netflix synopsis said that the party was held during Epiphany and that the couple had an epiphany of their own about their marriage. I don’t think I could roll my eyes anymore than I’m doing right now.) There were several times where a woman at the party would wink at Gabriel (the main character) and he spent much of the party secretly pulling out a note and reading it to himself. I thought that he was maybe having an affair with EVERYONE and that would’ve piqued my interest a little, but once again my hopes were dashed when I realized the note he was reading was really a toast he had written for the old woman throwing the party. LAME.
And as for the ending, I do see how sad that would make anyone when realizing their wife of several years prefers a dead kid over them. But is it worth torturing me about for two hours? No. No it is not. I imagine the ‘discovery’ was felt much more deeply from anyone who read the short story by James Joyce, which this movie comes from. I did manage to read up on the short story a bit and it seemed Joyce emphasized Gabriel’s insecurities so that in the final scene, it all comes crashing around him as he wonders whether is it better to die young or old, after you’ve had a chance to mess everything up. That thought seems more profound to me than what the movie portrayed.
Final review: 2/5. The Dead wasn’t completely unwatchable. It’s soothing, in the same way listening to rain on my white noise app is. The next time I can’t get it to work, I’ll put on this movie.
Up next: American Beauty