MOVIE: 1,000 TIMES GOODNIGHT
STARRING: JULIETT BINOCHE; NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU; MARIA DOYLE
DIRECTED BY: ERIK POPPE
A MOVIE GUY’S RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The main theme of Erik Poppe’s film 1,000 Times Goodnight, is conflict. There is conflict between the main character, Rebecca (played by the always extraordinary Juliette Binoche) and her family. Her husband Marcus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and her two children cannot stand to see her in the hospital. Their mother is a world famous photographer. She is an adrenaline junkie, putting herself in danger, right in the thick of a situation, where middle-eastern woman are sacrificing themselves with bombs strapped to their bodies. In an opening scene that does not waste time, Rebecca is injured by the blast which puts her out of commission for some time.
Director Erik Poppe has a film that uses Binoche to her fullest. The character of Rebecca asks the same questions women ask themselves; the conflict of, should I continue my duty as an independent successful photographer? Or do I limit myself to being primarily a mother of two and a wife to my husband? Having a successful actress like Binoche, there is no shortage of good performances here, but the plot of this film alone, asks relevant questions of whether we should put ourselves or our families first?
Rebecca returns home to recover from her near fatal experience. Her boss for the National Geographic-style magazine puts her on a break. It is possibly the films intention, but at this moment the pace slows down as our main character rekindles her relationships that had been affected so much, between her and her husband, but especially her oldest daughter Steph (Lauryn Canny) who looks up to her. Walks on the Irish plains, trips to the marshes, or school recitals are only a taste of the love the family has for each other, all of this divided by life.
Being the committed workaholic she is, Rebecca cannot pass up on a possible trip to a war torn Kenya. The joy of being a full-time mother is short lived. She agrees to go, to get back in the thick of life, to get the next best shot.
The dialogue at times can feel contrived, but when the passion is turned up during arguments between Coster-Waldau and Binoche there is a sense of true marital strife. As Steph accompanies her mother on the trip to Kenya, the tension begins again, like Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, as insurgents enter the village they are visiting with guns. Rebecca sends her daughter away, but stays to get an award winning photograph.
1,000 Times Good Night is not a perfect film, but it is a necessary film for woman in cinema. An actress like Binoche (who is having a 2014 to remember with films like: The Clouds of Sils Maria, Godzilla, and this) raises a movie to a whole different level. Her strength and grace is something that does not get enough credit, she could be one of the best of all-time.
Written by: Leo Brady