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Was ‘Barbie’ Snubbed in the Oscar Nominations?

January 30, 2024
Notes
Transcript
On this week’s episode, Sonny Bunch (The Bulwark), Alyssa Rosenberg (The Washington Post), and Peter Suderman (Reason) asked the most pressing question in the history of awards season: Was Barbie snubbed? Or was this, in fact, one of the best crops of nominees in decades? Then they reviewed one of the best picture nominees, Anatomy of a Fall. Make sure to swing by Bulwark+ on Friday for our bonus episode about the biggest move Netflix has made in years. And if you enjoyed this episode, share it with a friend!
This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:11

    Welcome back to this Tuesdays across the movie aisle presented by Bulwark Plus. I am your host Sunny Bunch Culture Editor of the Bullwork, and I’m joined as always, by the award winning Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post and Peter Superman of Reason Magazine. Alexis, how are you today? I’m spiffy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:26

    I am happy to be talking about movies with friends.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:29

    First up in controversies and controversies. The Oscar nominations are out, and everyone is mad. Because Barbie got snubbed. I mean, yes. It got eight nominations, including nominations in major categories like best picture.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:43

    Best adapted screenplay, in both of the supporting acting categories, but it was still snubbed. If you listen, to the internet. Margot Robbie didn’t get a best actress nomination and Greta Gerwig didn’t get a best director nomination. Can you guys believe this injustice? Naturally, people kept A very level head about the failure to nominate Gerwig and directing and Robbie enacting, tweeting totally normal things like, quote, maybe this is an oversimplification.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:07

    But Ryan Gosling being nominated, but not Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig perfectly explains to me why we aren’t in the eighth year of the Hillary Clinton presidency, end quote, Hillary Clinton herself got in on the action tweeting about how Robbie is cut off or something. I feel the need. I feel the need to once again put on my sexist reactionary hat and man explain why surely these aren’t snubs. First off, Robbie did get a nomination as producer in the best picture category, and Gerwig did get a nomination as a writer in the adapted screenplay category. Second, it makes no sense to suggest that Robbie was snubbed so Gosling could be honored.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:46

    They’re in entirely different categories. If you want to make an argument that Robbie was snubbed, You need to make an argument about which woman you would exclude from the best actress category to include her. Until you do that, you’re just making noise. Frankly, I was kind of surprised Robbie didn’t get an actress nomination, particularly in light of the America Ferreras, Nothing Burger supporting actress performing character getting a nomination, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s not sexist that Margot Robbie did not get a best actress nomination.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:15

    The question of Gerwig and the director category is a trickier one. Alright. So here’s a thing to keep in mind, the nominations are chosen, by the members of the member specific branches. Right? So directors nominate directors.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:27

    And do you know who directors really don’t like to get nominations? Actors who get into directing. It’s why Ben Affleck was famously snubbed, for Argo despite that picture racking up tons of nominations and going on to win best picture. The big exception to this rule, of course, is Clint Eastwood, and he had to direct movies for twenty years. Twenty years before he got a nomination the other thing that director’s branch really doesn’t love, big tent pole IP movies.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:53

    You know who didn’t get a best picture nomination last year? James Cameron for Avatar the Way of Water, despite the fact that it was a monumental achievement on virtually every technical axis. Over the last ten years, the only real block buster IP directors to get nominations were Todd Phillips for Joker and George Miller for Mad Max Fury Road. There’s this one guy. You guys might have heard of him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:13

    His name is Christopher Nolan. His first nomination wasn’t for a Batman movie, not even the Dark Knight, which remains the go to This is the best comic book movie since the Dark Knight movie. And it wasn’t a sci fi or action movie like inception or interstellar. No. It was for Dunkker.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:28

    He made a serious non IP movie, and he earned that nomination. So was Gerwig snubbed? Well, no. Not really. At least given what we know about the habits of the director’s branch, was Robbie Snub.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:39

    Harder to say. I mean, I would think she probably should have gotten a nomination, but if you wanna make the case, you gotta say who you’re gonna kick out. It is literally a zero sum game. All that said, Alyssa, let’s be let’s be honest here for a second. The funny possible outcome here, right, is that Ryan Gosling wins best supporting actor, and that’s the only statue Charlie Sykes home all night.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:59

    Right? That would actually be very, very funny.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:01

    It would be extremely funny. And also, like, the best supporting actor category this year is awesome. It’s really, really good, and it’s people doing very different things. I was delighted to see Sterling K Brown sneak in there for American fiction. I think you know, Robert Downey Junior should win for Oppenheimer, but if Ryan Gosling wins for Barbie, that will be a richly deserved award.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:25

    He is fantastic and unexpected in that role. He is one of the two things that make a movie that manifestly should not work work. The other being Margot Robbie in a bigger role. But, I mean, if you’re going just on sort of the merits of the performance, like, that’s a sort of It’s like an all time comic performance. It’s really funny.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:47

    It’s unexpected. It’s suey generous. Right? It’s like it’s genuinely just one of its type. And if he wins, that would be totally reasonable.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:57

    That’s it. I think it’s weird that Robbie didn’t get nominated. And I I will confess to not having seen NIad for which Annette Benning is nominated in which Jody is also nominated. But that’s a movie where the two actresses are nominated. Nothing else about the movie is nominated.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:14

    If you think Barbie is one of the best pictures of the year, The reason that movie works is because Margarabi is Barbie. Right? I mean, the performance that she gives is absolutely integral to that movie succeeding on any level. And if there was only going to be one acting nomination from that movie, and you’re saying it’s one of the best pictures of the year, it should have been her. So whether that’s a snub, I think debating snubs is sort of ridiculous, but it is evidence to me of some of the weird internal logic that the nominating process for the Oscars, it produces the impression of a weird internal logic, even though I think each branch, you know, they’re doing their thing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:58

    They’re not acting in concert with each other. And so it’s probably inevitable.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:04

    Again, the Diane thing is very funny because it’s definitely one of these things where your normal audience is and frankly, even I, even I, like, somebody who follows this stuff pretty closely when the the nominations are coming out the other day, And Margaret Robbie does not get the nomination for Barbie. And instead, we’ve got NIad. I’m like, wait, Naya. Where where was that? Was that a Netflix move?
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:25

    Where am I Am I Did
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:27

    you see Niaad, Sonny? I’ve
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:29

    not seen Niaad. I had not planned on seeing Niaad. I’m probably still frankly not gonna see Nia.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:34

    I don’t know. So just to be clear, no one on this podcast of really hardcore movie watchers, I would say, people or at least people who we have to be in the top, like, two percent of movie consumers in the country, right, just, like, based on the numbers where most people see one, We’re we’re all seeing fifty plus movies a year, mostly in the theaters. Like, and we haven’t seen not only have we not seen NIad. I like you, Sunny, Without googling it right now, I could not tell you where to have watched that movie.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:04

    Yeah. Pretty sure it’s Netflix. It’s something about swimming, I think. Yes.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:08

    It’s it’s about Diana and I had this, like, famously difficult competitive long distance open ocean swimmer.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:15

    And sounds worthy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:18

    I mean, I mean, like, maybe it’s great. I don’t know, but the point is
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:21

    I do like Johnny Foster. She’s great. Actually, also really liking that betting.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:24

    Great. I like both those actresses. Point is, anyway, we’re getting off topic here. Peter, your favorite topic is awards and award movie awards, and are arguing about what art is worth awarding versus not worth awarding. So when you were looking at the nominations, what was it that really got your blood boiling?
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:43

    Well, like you said, I I don’t care about awards. I just really struggle even when I think they’re, appropriately given even when I think that, when I agree with the academy or, but also I when I don’t, it’s, like, I I learned long ago. I just don’t feel like the Academy Awards. It’s like getting mad at who won the Super Bowl. I guess people have a lot of feelings about I don’t have any feelings about that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:09

    It’s like getting mad at it. Who, holds the championship belt in wrestling.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:14

    One way of looking at this, is that the academy has actually figured out, has has realized that the Barbie movie isn’t really about Barbie, that in fact, it’s about Ken and that this is about Ken’s journey And they are without quite coming out and saying, we realize that the Barbie movie was, like, a sort of crypto story about a Ken and his his journey as a man, they’re they’re basically just doing that with their nominations. I think that’s the the real takeaway here is that the academy is right. It should have been called Ken.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:56

    Absolutely. This is something I’ve been arguing for a long time. No. I I think the funniest take on this that I saw was somebody somebody pointed out that, you know, really in the war in Barbie land can occupies the position of a woman. He is oppressed.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:10

    Right? And he is he is not allowed to to do all the things he wants to do. And rewarding his journey actually shows that they really got the message of the movie. I think that’s that’s a good penny.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:20

    This is an especially strange case to get mad about because the best thing you could like, the the reason to care about the Oscars is the the winners, get rewarded more. A an Oscar win can elevate a small movie, can bring it to audience attention, and make it make more money. It can sort of send us on a trajectory where the filmmakers have more power in the world. Guess what, guys? Greta Gerwig made a billion dollars with a bizarre high concept toy movie.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:53

    She’s gonna get to make another movie where she gets to do some whatever she wants. Well, she gets to do whatever she wants. There is no amount of Oscar attention is going to give Greta Gerwig or Margaret Robbie more power in Hollywood or more money, frankly. And this So, like, in this case, it’s it’s totally irrelevant as to the sort of the the outcomes, the creative outcomes, and the creative future here. In a way that I, like, it just makes me even makes me care even less about all of this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:22

    I I don’t know. I I should probably try to care a little bit more here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:28

    I think it’s good though. No. Look, here’s I think these Oscar nominations are actually perfect this year. They rewarded the big movies that were also critically acclaimed Oppenheimer and Barbie I didn’t love Barbie, but I I recognize I’m an outlier here that it was critically much much loved. People liked it a lot, made a lot of money.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:44

    It’s good that that and Oppenheimer got, you know, not quite the most nominations together, but you’re pretty close. And and it’s good that they are rewarding smaller movies that are now getting seen by larger audiences. If you look at the box office charts, you know what? Had pretty big bumps this weekend. American fiction, the zone of interest, poor things is doing very well.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:05

    Those are movies that would not necessarily have been seen by of audiences now that they’re best picture nominees, people are like, oh, we should go see those because they we wanna know what what the what the best movies of the year are. The Oscars are working like they are supposed to this year. Like, I I think this is actually the best case scenario for the Oscars in a long time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:25

    This is a totally reasonable argument is that if you think of the Oscars as an advertisement for the last several years, some ways for the better part of the last for most of the last decade or so, the Oscars have not worked as an effective advertisement for the industry and in particular for the big studios and, and the big films. And this year, is this is the face that Hollywood wants to put forward wants to show people this is the mix and the range. That is totally correct. And if that gets people to go to the movies, then then I changed my mind. I love the Oscars.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:58

    Can I ask what’s the nomination that made you guys angriest?
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:04

    I don’t really have strong feelings about these things. It’s just so hard for me to to care that much. I I’m trying to think of, like, what what
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:14

    was the nomination that you think was the wrongest?
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:17

    See, this gets to my critical philosophy, which is that I don’t like saying the thing you like is bad. I like saying the thing that you don’t know about or don’t like is good, which is why I for all year, I’ve been saying that Glenn Howard should have gotten should be getting a supporting nomination for Blackberry, but, like, I I didn’t expect that to actually happen. So I I can’t even say I’m angry about that. I don’t know. What listen, you clearly have an answer here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:43

    What’s your what is the what is the, nomination that made you angry? Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:46

    How mad are you about Maestro?
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:48

    I’m so mad about Maestro. I thought you guys were gonna be an opportunity to be mad about Maestro earlier. I am genuinely kind of baffled by the response to this movie, which is certainly a lot of movie. It’s a lot of It’s a lot of technique. It’s a lot of prosthetic nose.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:08

    It’s a lot of incredibly impeccably recreated mid century interiors and accents. And yet, to me, it is just such a failure of a movie to be about anything. And, you know, I said when we reviewed this movie that I found it homophobic in the sense that the only thing it is interested in is Leonard Bernstein’s sex life and his sort of intimate life. And I am sort of surprised that there has not been more of a conversation about the disinterest in both of its subjects that this movie displays. And to me, it is such an obvious sort of, you know, I spent six years learning to direct so I could direct this six and a half minute sequence that again has, like, no context.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:57

    Doesn’t explain to you sort of the social role of music, Bernstein as musician, etcetera. It’s a perfect example of sort of the most movie getting nominated for something. As opposed to anything that has any underlying ideas or sort of qualities other than its own showiness. I’m just genuinely irritated about it. Sure.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:19

    Sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:19

    I I I enjoyed that movie on a craft level, I think, more than either of you did. But, none of these none of these nominations made me mad. I think there’s some movies that I didn’t particularly love, though, but nothing I like really loathed, I think. That got awarded here, you know, I probably wouldn’t have put the holdovers or poor things at the same time. Those are pretty classic awards bait films.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:45

    I think poor things in particular is exceptionally well crafted, just a a lot of really, really interesting work on screen. And Emma Stone is great. But there’s just nothing that seems like out of line in this year’s nominations to me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:00

    I just wanna make one other point since I had mentioned actors who do not get nominated by the directing branch for director. You know, who didn’t get a best director nomination, Bradley Cooper. You know who did not get a best director nomination for a star is born? Bradley Cooper. I’m just saying they the the the direct do not like it when actors encroach upon their territory.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:21

    You have to really pay your dues for a very long time to to get that pass from them, to get the Clint pass. As we call it. Alright. So what do we think? Is it a controversy or a controversy that Barbie snubs, whatever?
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:34

    The the nominations in general. What do we think, Peter?
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:37

    People gotta have something to talk about. It’s a controversy. It’s an actual controversy that people are treating as a controversy. Alyssa.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:45

    The nominations themselves are in controversy. The sort of perpetual need for people to find victimization or underdog narratives about everything is controversial and exhausting, and I’m want
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:59

    it to stop. Who will defend the one billion the one point four billion dollar? I don’t even know how much money. Barmy made so much money. I forgot how much money it made.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:10

    That’s but it needs defending. No. It’s an controversy. These are great nominees. I think this is a this is the best year of nominations.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:16

    At the Oscars in twenty years, I think. I think this is a I’m gonna I I will say without hesitation, great year for Oscar nomination. I’m pro this crop. Alright. Make sure to swing my Bulwark class on Friday for a very special bonus episode on Netflix’s four a into professional Rrestling, look, we are not the target audience for WWE headed to Netflix.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:39

    Right? That’s not us. But the target audience both exist and is enormous and this presages a sea change in house sports, and by extension linear television in general, is gonna get consumed by audiences, it’s a big deal, and we will help you understand why. And now on to the main event. Anatomy of a fall.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:57

    Nominated for five Oscars, including best picture, best actress, and best director, anatomy of a fall is a French court house drama told mostly in English about a woman who is charged with murder after her husband mysteriously falls out a window in their house to his death when she was the only other person in the house. Now despite her obvious guilt, I mean, who else could have done this? Sandra Voyager, who play, played by Sandra Huler, mounts a defense with the aid of her lawyer Vincent, who’s played by Swan Arload. Sandra’s son, Daniel, played by Milo Machado Grenier. I I’m butchering all these names.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:32

    I’m sorry. Is the one who discovered his father’s body, but his use as a witness is limited because he is blind. The fact that he can’t really remember where or when he heard his mother and father last or the volume at which they were speaking, and the fact that he starts inventing stories and poisoning his own dog to demonstrate that his father might have wanted to commit suicide, which is Sanders eventual defense, being that he decided that the best way to kill himself would be to, like, I guess I’ll just fall fifteen feet on my head. Sure. That’s a good way to do it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:04

    That’s where all the drama comes from in anatomy of a fall. I saw a friend joke that this movie makes the best case possible for prestige TV and that feels about right. It’s like a truncated adaptation of a true crime podcast with the twist that it takes place in France. So the court removals are totally insane. Like, seriously, the last half of this movie plays almost like a farce to anyone who is familiar with American courthouse procedures.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:26

    You have judges basically rolling their eyes at traumatized children. You have witnesses yelling at the accused. You have lawyers back talking each other. There’s dialogue back and forth between basically everyone. It’s chaos, and that makes it funny.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:40

    I gotta be honest. I’m a little surprised by the overwhelming love for this movie. The fact that it’s a best picture nominee really speaks to the lack of movies for adults through so much of the year. It’s kind of funny to me that people are annoyed by Hewler getting a a best actress nomination over Robbie since anatomy of fall is genuinely interest and feminism and the problems and expectations of women in the real as opposed to the dull world. But still, all this is, you know, whatever.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:06

    It’s it’s fine. It’s, like, it also helps that it is it’s a foreign movie, so it it feels, you know, smart and prestigious. Right? Even though it’s mostly in English, there’s not too many subtitles. You’re just enough French to make like you’re doing the work.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:17

    Don’t get me wrong. I I’m sounding dismissive here. I actually enjoyed anatomy of a fall just fine. Director Justin Triatt does something pretty interesting with camera stocks and film stocks and, withholds enough information that you could basically make any argument you like about the guilt or innocence of, the characters in question, allowing for much discussion over cosmos and Martinez at the theater bar after the fact. Friends are gonna love talking about this movie is what I’m saying.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:41

    The performances. They’re lovely. Frankly, I think the biggest snub of the year is the lack of a nomination for Grainer whose turn as the blind boy Daniel is pretty heartbreaking. Good stuff for a child actor. You love to see it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:53

    Peter, this was one of your favorite movies of the year. Was it not?
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:56

    That’s right. I put this in my top five, and I believe I was the only one who put it on my top ten list. I’m not sure you guys had seen it by the time we made our top tens last year. I really enjoyed this movie. And I think you’re wrong that this is just a superior prestige television, in truncated form.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:14

    This is This is a complete story with a beginning, a middle and a and an end in classic dramatic form. And that’s what a movie is. Television allows for a lot more sort of exploration of this or that. It kind of it it you can linger on characters and moments that aren’t actually super essential to the final resolution. And in some ways, e even with television where you’re say watching a murder mystery, the final resolution isn’t the only thing that you’re there for.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:41

    And here it’s okay. The final resolution isn’t the only thing you’re there for, but this has a kind of a a very classic dramatic beginning middle end, narrative engine to it. And it and it’s also it’s also shot in a way that is much more complex than your average TV drama or that your average prestige TV drama, the sort of roving camera in that in the courtroom as people are arguing that allows you to kind of see the changes and empower imbalances. It’s it’s just so smartly done. The acting is is really superior here.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:16

    It’s I enjoyed it. It was sort of for the twists and the turns, but eventually I kind of came to see this movie as a something like a philosophical exercise. In how we know anything. And this is what I appreciated about it more than anything else is. It’s remarkably granular in its detail.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:35

    And this is something that far too few movies do these days is this is not sort of a a kind of generalizable and relatable world. It’s extremely specific to the particulars of the house, to the country, the place, to the the origin stories and sort of the backgrounds of all of the characters who we see. It’s so so gritty and specific in those details, and and they just felt real and lived in in so many ways. And then you get not just the intricacies and specifics of each one of the characters, but of their relationship. And this portrait of a difficult marriage, or at least a marriage that seems difficult in many ways and has problems.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:19

    Is really quite balanced and quite nuanced because you can, as you said, it’s not just that you can sort of see any argument you wanna make for what happened in terms of how did this person die, it’s that it helps you understand how difficult it is to know what’s going on in any relationship that you yourself are not part of. But then even more than that, the movie makes a case. That it’s very difficult to know almost anything at all. The way it starts doing this is that in the courtroom, every time we see what looks like a piece of incredibly perfectly convincing evidence, it is followed by an equally convincing piece of evidence, a physical evidence that shows, well, the thing you just heard cannot possibly be true. And then you have to decide, well, which one of these is true when you you you can’t know because there are competing realms of physical evidence.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:12

    But then the movie goes one step further that in a way that I think is really smart, is that it says ultimately. That what’s the evidence that we all rely on to know things in the world the most? It is our own perceptions and our own memories. And there’s this moment that comes at the end of the film where the the kid, the mostly blind kid, is struggling with his own memory. And we’ve already seen that his own memory can be unreliable to some degree.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:39

    And he knows that too, and he has started to realize that his own memory It’s not that he necessarily doesn’t trust it in some fundamental way. It’s that he’s had his own faith shaken in it. It feels right. Feels like something he knows, but he doesn’t, and he knows that he he he’s not sure he actually does. He’s not sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:56

    He could be sure. And so there’s this serve a little side plot about the state guardian who’s been assigned to him as a kind of a minor who says ultimately you have to decide. And this is this is the thing that this the movie is trying to tell us and that the movie captures in in dramatic form so well is that ultimately your when we say we know that’s that something has happened, And that when we know that something is true, we think that we’re relying on good evidence. We think we’re relying on what we know because we saw it with or heard it because there’s strong physical evidence to back us up. But maybe, maybe we can’t trust any of it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:44

    Maybe we’re just deciding what we want to be true. And this movie makes that case more powerfully, I think than I think I’ve ever seen in a film, and it’s just a a masterpiece of undermining confidence in knowing basically anything at all while reminding us just of of the deep complexity of character and relationship and an event and history, and the way you can never go back to an event and just know, oh, this is what happened. And, it’s I I struggle to think of another film that does that quite as powerfully.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:20

    Well, it’s easy to do that when you structure the the filmer in a way where you just don’t show the events in question. And then you’re you’re just making a bunch of
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:28

    But that’s but but that’s not a cheat because everything this is part of what the movie is arguing is that when we learn something, we are almost always learning via secondhand evidence. That’s especially true in something like a murder case, but almost everything you think you know is something you heard, something you read, something that was recorded and then presented to you, or something you are remembering because memory it self is secondhand evidence is part of what this movie is arguing. And look, we can argue all day here about, like, we could turn this into a a big philosophy, both session about, like, whether you can even know anything, man. But the movie gets at that and captures that inherent uncertainty in in trusting your own senses or the evidence that that the world seems to provide you the narratives that are around you. The movie just sort of packages that stuff so well and so effectively as drama and then and makes that case, I think, in a way that you can only make it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:25

    You you could write an essay about what this movie is trying to do. But this this movie is such a such a, a more powerful way of expressing this idea, and I just I just really fell for it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:37

    Listen, one thing one thing that’s interesting about the movie and the way I I was kind of thinking about it after the fact is that, like, our audience surrogate is really the jury. Yeah. We we are the jury, like, trying to kind of muddle through all these different things, and we get more context than they do in terms of, you know, what we see and all that. But we are still, you know, more or less in the in the dark with them as to what actually happened, which is fascinating. I mean, look, I I, you know, I was kind of At the beginning of this, my intro, I’m I’m, you know, kind of aggressively jokingly, like, she definitely did it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:09

    But, like, I don’t know that I I could vote to convict on, like, yeah, look how he fell. Here’s, you know, there’s just no there’s no actual proof one way or the other.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:18

    I feel like the movie does an exceptionally good job of placing you with the jury, specifically in the way that it reveals information. Right? I mean, we don’t see the fall happen. And things are presented in a sort of jarring way. It’s not just that they conflict.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:34

    It’s that we gets sort of jerked around by the information. Right? I mean, we know about the recording, but we don’t have a portrait of this marriage or even really the relationship between mother and son in a way that allows us to place new information into context as it’s revealed. Right? I mean, You know, what we know about this marriage is sort of the loud music and what we’re told about it and then what we hear in the recording.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:06

    And that’s not really enough to integrate, you know, that knowledge into a larger sense of the characters. And I think it’s extremely effective at giving you that experience of being in a jury. But I will say as drama, it left me a little bit cold. I mean, this I think this works extremely well as sort of a philosophical and intellectual exercise. But I found myself somewhat at a distance from it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:33

    And I don’t necessarily think that’s, proof of the movie’s failure. I think that’s, in fact, probably by design. But I do think it saps the ending a little bit. Have either of you read or seen we need to talk about Kevin?
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:47

    Yeah. I have read Anstein.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:49

    Okay. That was not a movie I was able to, like, bring myself to watch because the book itself is so intense, but the book ends in a really interesting the main character who’s had this very fraught relationship with her son, who then goes and kills a bunch of people in his high school in a way that will enable him to be released fairly early. And the book by talking about, you know, setting up his room and sort of, like, finally setting up his room, having, like, the one book that they shared together, and sort of finally loving her son. Right? And it’s this very disturbing conclusion because, like, you understand that he murdered a bunch of people and killed his father and his brother specifically because in their sort of mutual antipathy.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:34

    He felt like his mother knew him and understood him. And you know, had not sort of abandoned him anyway. And, you know, here we have this ending where Daniel’s saying to his mother that he’s sort of afraid of her coming home, But we have no real deep sense of their relationship on which to base that. Right? I mean, do we think that means that he thinks she’s guilty but has decided to present her as innocent because he doesn’t wanna be alone.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:02

    The distancing mechanism that makes this so effective as an exercise and what it’s like to be on a jury. And, just falling a little short when you need to return to the human frame. Does that make any sense? At least that’s the way it felt to me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:17

    Yeah. Again, the the child actor here does an amazing job of kind of portraying both uncertainty and the difficulty of essentially being given he he is essentially given the power of life and death over his mother. Yeah. Right? Like, that is kind of what it comes down to.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:36

    I totally agree with what you’re saying, Alyssa. But again, I I do think it kind of gets to the point of the film, which is Oh,
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:41

    yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:42

    About, you know, the the unknowability of what actually happened.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:46

    Yeah. I think that’s right. I just think it’s at the point that the movie transitions from having you be a juror to having you be sort of a domestic observer, the device doesn’t quite work.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:57

    I agree that the movie leaves creates a distance between the viewer and the characters in certain ways, but I did not find that at an obstacle, in part because the characters are painted again, just so precisely and specifically. I mean, that that’s seeing, the, you know, the, the argument that is recorded, the becomes a central part of the case is so perfect because look, anybody who’s ever had a an argument with an, you know, an intimate with a family member or been privy to, you know, and parents arguing or something like that knows how these things go. And And while there there are sort of generalizable bits that, you know, are sort of like There are bits in those arguments that sort of seem high level in general. They’re always sort of hyper specific in a way that doesn’t then, like, almost doesn’t make sense if that’s all you know about them. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:56

    There’s always, like, that one chime with the one plate that fell right that didn’t get put away and that right? It’s this just this ultra specific litany of stuff. And the movie captures that so well that these people felt real in a way that I didn’t feel like I needed to kind of relate to them on an emotional journey in the way you might in a traditional kind of film relationship. And in part, I think what the movie is suggesting. And we could, again, have an argument about whether this is correct, but I think the movie does a good job of it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:26

    Part of what the movie is suggesting is that those kind of conventional emotional engagements with characters and relationships That’s all based on something that’s kind of fake. It’s all based on some idea that you can know and relate to these people and you know what’s in their hearts and you can understand who they are and how they connect with, you know, with their family and with their loved ones. And in fact, you can’t. You can never know it. And you should always keep everyone at a distance because that’s the, like, that’s the only way to understand anything and have that doubt in yourself.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:59

    The movie is trying to make you doubt all of that stuff that you think you know and you take for granted. And I think it does a pretty good job of that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:06

    And that is why you should just look at the actual physics of everything that’s going on in that house, and it demonstrates clearly that they’re one hundred percent she killed him. She just bonk him on that threw him off. Like, what? Oh, what else? Oh, I’m sorry.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:19

    I do not buy. He decided to jump fifteen feet, and that’s how we killed himself. There are much better ways to kill yourself than That is a bad way to go. I do not think that is how it happened. But I wanna ask you guys, Alyssa, did she do it?
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:32

    Probably? Peter, did she do it? Maybe. That’s not an answer. That’s not a you don’t know equivocation.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:39

    How dare you? Alright. So what do we think? Thumbs up or thumbs down on anatomy of a fall. Alyssa.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:43

    Thumbs up, but I think you have to be in the mood for it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:46

    Peter thumbs up. I really like this one.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:48

    Thumbs up. It’s it’s good, though. I I do think it’s a a fundamental. I we didn’t even really talk about the best part of this movie, which is the insane French court system. I’m sorry.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:55

    We like, all this talk about memory and what we can know, bubba, But the the insanity of the French court system is, like, is genuinely it’s funny. That’s a funny way to do trials, guys. I’m sorry. That is, like, If I would
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:09

    Weird way for a prosecutor to behave. Like, the sort of, like, snarky, like, I’m just, like, a blogger on the internet, and I’m gonna own you man vibe of the prosecutor. Fascinating.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:18

    I do think we should do trial by podcast, like, more often.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:23

    That’s what it felt. It felt like it felt like there was a you know, I don’t even know what the proper equivalent would be, but, like, a jerk podcaster out there named Bunny Sunch was like just yelling at the at at all the witnesses and the the accused. I am I am fast. It’s no wonder that America looked at, like, the continental court systems in in Europe and England, we’re like, we we gotta do better than this guys. We we gotta do better.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:52

    Just for the record, I should say, That was a joke and we shouldn’t do trials by podcast jury, but, I have also read, in some of some of the reviews that I’ve read of this, that the movie does take some liberties with the French court system. Like, the three judge panel, I think, is correct, but I think it’s a little bit loose it’s not quite this loose in the actual court system. Again, I am not an expert on French criminal trials.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:18

    Well, I’m sure the French looked at this movie and we’re like, this is outrageous, suck red, blue. We would never do such a thing. No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:27

    Alright. Sunny Banch on the other hand is an expert on French people.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:31

    I am well, I’m certainly an expert on the French. Alright. That is it for today’s show. Many thanks for our audio engineer Jonathan Last without whom this program would sound much worse. Make sure to swing by Bullworth plus on Friday for our bonus episode.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:43

    Tell your friends a strong recommendation from a friend is basically the only way to grow podcast audiences. No crew will back. You did love two days’ episode. Please complain to me on Twitter at SunnyBunch. I can mention that it is, in fact, the best show in your podcast feed.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:55

    See you guys on Friday.
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