Snow and Light
Written by Dustin O'Halloran
Performed by Dustin O'Halloran
Published by Embassy Music Corporation BMI on behalf of Dustin O'Halloran Music BMI
Courtesy of 130701 / FatCat Records
By arrangement with Bank Robber Music See more »
I must say the tag-line doesn't come close to doing this film justice. There is so much more to it – a thoughtful, uplifting story about a difficult subject. This is without doubt the best film about dying I've ever seen. If you're a softy then it's a two-box tissue weepy but in no way is this film ever depressing. It's a little sugary at times but on the whole a nice balance is struck between dealing with the sadness of death and the joy of life. The writing and direction are spot-on, and the performances are without exception faultless. It's heartening without being sentimental, funny without being glib.
I should reveal I am Fanning's number one fan and also at times her harshest critic. I have a love-hate relationship with her, having watched her develop from the most amazing child actor of all time into what can appear at times a rather lack-lustre adult performer with a dubious choice of off-set professional partnerships. However my opinion of late has changed and I've come to the conclusion Dakota is simply and pleasantly naive in many ways - and I mean that in the nicest possible way; she has a certain innocent charm that most young people today seem to be devoid of, and I mention it only because this role seemed tailor-made for her, and perhaps because I understand her better as an actor and as a person now.
OK so the English accent was not perfect - it fluctuated a little and sounded much better when she was being loud and emotional; a little too 1950s prim-and-proper at other times. Kids in England tend not to speak like that now, but to her credit there was never the slightest hint of the native Georgian-cum-West Coast burr. I'd also take issue with the hair stylist that issued what was presumably a wig, the first of the two styles in the movie looked quite dreadful and unrealistic. Later on we see her with medium-length hair which actually looked natural and quite suits her slightly boyish features.
The art of Fanning is however in the subtlety of her performances these days - possibly an antidote to the oft-maligned enthusiasm of her early career, or maybe just a result of thoughtful maturity and trying harder to look natural. For me it didn't quite work in The Runaways (although that still remains my favourite Dakota film) but it fits perfectly the role of Tessa Scott. If you take the time to watch this film alone and study Tessa closely, you will hopefully appreciate the performance as I do.
As a fan I could happily waffle on all day about Dakota, but I have to say there wasn't a duff performance in this movie. All the actors played perfectly, especially Paddy Considine who gives the under-stated performance of his life. He also gets some of the best lines, maybe not enough of them, but I have to say he was an inspired choice for Tessa's dad and I have a new respect for him as an actor. Irvine, Williams, little Edgar Canham, delicious Kaya Scodelario, Dr Wadham - they all deserve the accolades.
This is British story-telling at its best, a knack we've lost in recent years as American and European films have shone in that department. Don't be put off by the subject matter - this is a film that might just change your view of life and death. As Tessa says, "Life is a series of moments". Think about what that means for all of us and enjoy this film.
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