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Could God Really Be So Cruel? Nine Films That Will Leave You Completely Unsure of How You Feel

By Cindy Davis | Lists | September 17, 2012 |

By Cindy Davis | Lists | September 17, 2012 |

I heard the film festival roars. I ran, the spray from the critics’ orgasmic reviews chasing me. I watched them in the near empty art house theaters, hostage to the sound of a couple crunching stale popcorn in unison…creeped out by the dude with coke bottle glasses, shoulders hunched, sitting alone. I caught one on late night cable—kept awake through the early morning hours trying to figure out what I was supposed to feel. These are the movies that have haunted my nights.

Spoilers ahead, obviously.

9. Little Children

Cheating, hot summer affair, stupid parents, pedophile…I think I feel sorry for him, not the parents? I think I’m screaming.

8. Shame

Fassbender having lots of sex—count me in! Wait a minute. He feels nothing—nor do I. Carey Mulligan is sad (again)! Is there something incestuous going on? Would I even care? I feel dirty. I feel nothing (again).

7. Wendy and Lucy

Poor, poor, (Really) poor Wendy. She has to find a job. And her dog. Her car broke down. And she’s poor. Finally, she finds her dog! And…promptly leaves her. Why? Why did we do any of this?

6. Naked

David Thewlis is brilliant as Johnny, a caustic, homeless asshole. He’s a somewhat less violent, more wordy Tom Hardy—in Bronson. But like Fassbender’s Brandon, how good is a character study if at the end of the film, we just don’t care?

5. The Butcher Boy

About the only thing I think I felt after watching The Butcher Boy was immense regret for leaving my eyes open. Oh, and nauseous.

4. Inland Empire

I love Lynch, “Twin Peaks,” Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway, Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, Wild at Heart, but this time, he completely lost me. I tried so hard to feel you, bunnies; maybe I should try again.

3. The Comfort of Strangers

Fantastic actors (Christopher Walken, Helen Mirren, Natasha Richardson, Rupert Everett), brilliant writers (Ian McEwan, Harold Pinter), great director (Paul Schrader), gorgeous location (Venice), cinematography (Dante Spinotti) and score (Angelo Badalamenti). Did any of it matter? Beautiful, yet soulless.

2. The Skin I Live In

Warning: May make you want to crawl out of your own skin. Almodóvar flew me to a place I never thought of, nor wanted to go. I followed willingly, excitedly. My head bounced from love to despair, from screaming to silence, from disbelief to acceptance to…so.many.confusing.thoughts. Somebody, please tell me how to feel.

1. Take This Waltz

Michelle Williams took me along on an affair with her. I understood. I got her boredom, her melancholy, her excitement over something new, her falling in love. Wait, what? Is she mentally ill? Am I? For a moment near the end—blurred man in the kitchen—I thought she could have imagined it all. Mad, sad, glad?

These have been not so deep thoughts with Cindy Davis.