Friday, January 24, 2014

The Guitar (2008) [R] ***



For Melody Wilder (Saffron Burrows) the bad news started when her doctor (Janeane Garofalo) told her that she had inoperable throat cancer, and gave her a month to live. Then she was downsized from her thankless job and given a month's severance pay, and finally her boyfriend told her that he felt suffocated, and needed some space to get in touch with his inner child.

Contemplating suicide, Melody decides, instead, to spend her last few weeks enjoying herself. She rents an enormous, unfurnished loft, and with no family or friends, she isolates herself, turning her loft into a hedonist's paradise filled with expensive clothing, furniture and decorator items ordered from catalogs and paid for with credit cards. She gives up her vegetarian diet; she seduces Rosco (Isaach de Bankole) the hunky parcel delivery man, who observes that she's spending money like there's no tomorrow; and she's seduced in turn by Cookie (Paz de la Huerta) the pizza delivery girl who's fascinated by Melody and her loft.

Then, Melody buys the classic red Fender Stratocaster electric guitar she's coveted since childhood, and learns to play from instructional videos, searching for a way to express herself through music. Three months go by and it's only when she has maxed out her credit cards that Melody realizes she's still alive. And when asked by her doctor what she changed, Melody replies: I changed everything. A low-budget, independent production, The Guitar is an eloquent portrayal of a woman's spiritual and emotional transformation through the process of filling her life with positive, life-affirming energy, thoughts and experiences. Saffron Burrows gives a wonderfully restrained, vanity-free performance, muting her natural radiance and speaking in the hoarse voice of a throat cancer victim. Viewers will be drawn to or repelled by the film, and may interpret the positive ending as either novel or cliche. Regardless, if you enjoy Saffron Burrows, you might give this one a chance. 

Labels: drama, music, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Tomatometer (critics=33, viewers=53)

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