While a lot of indie-film lovers will be flocking to see “The Butler” (or maybe even “Jobs”), may I suggest some other ideas!
“Cutie and the Boxer” is a love story, of sorts, but a chaotic one to be sure – the 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his long-suffering wife, Noriko. Imagine “A Star is Born” with a Japanese/New York art-world twist; the waning power of Ushio - tiny, yet larger than life – seems to release his wife’s own stunted artistic passions. Will her cartoon-like paintings – a thinly veiled allegory about their relationship – also free her to be her own person? Read Joe Morgenstern’s glowing review in the WSJ HERE (you’ll need to scroll down a bit).
“The Patience Stone” is totally different film, though it’s also a lyrical story of a long-suffering wife. Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini (“The Kite Runner”), a woman finds solace of a kind when her husband becomes incapacitated; she can finally share her soul with him because in his comatose state he can do nothing but listen. What appears to be a tragic situation is actually filled, in some strange way, with great hope.
I realize as I write this that both these films are alike in another way – they’re both fascinating looks at the interior lives of women trying to find their voice. Of course, these women live in societies so different from ours that the lessons certainly can’t apply here…