During the past decade or so, we've experienced various examples of The New Normal, including destination events grounded in the current wide-spread narcissism.The Destination Wedding, of course, is one example
The Destination Bar Mitzvah, another case in point.
It takes an astute mind to bring a newer, shrewder layer to this self-addiction - and filmmaker Ira Sachs rather wittily and poignantly manages to push matters to yet another level with ... Destination Funeral, a conceit that not only works surprisingly well (to a limited degree) but functions perfectly in tandem with his star's commanding persona.
That would be the iconic Isabelle Huppert whose character here is in the throes of death and is intent on spreading the word to family and friends, but in only one specific location for her passing and funeral - the dreamy, sun-dappled Portuguese seaside town of Sintra.
The movie, with the real-time feel of an unrushed afternoon, consists of Huppert performing acting duets with her wonderful supporting cast - sharing secrets, expressing regrets and often testing them with a dour playfulness that's wholly suitable for this very unusual occasion.
She's Françoise Crémont, known as a great actress but whose greatness has often minimalized other aspects of her life Her outsized personality, so crucial on stage and screen, has worked out with decidedly different results with family and friends. On hand to attest to this are Frankie's first husband, Michel (Pascal Greggory); her current husband, Jimmy (Brendon Gleeson) and Jimmy's family from his first marriage; Paul (Jérémie Renier), her son with Jimmy; Frankie's best friend Ilene (a terrific Marisa Tomei) and Ilene's hanger-on, would-be fiance Gary (Greg Kinnear). All great company.
'Frankie" opens today in San Francisco and Palo Alto.
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~photography: Ahron R. Foster 1960©
~Huppert in her a publicity shot for her movie debut in Otto Preminge's "Rosebud." Age 22
~photography: Paramount 1975©
~Forty years later - Huppert today. Age 66.
~photography: Eurovision 2019©