Day Six: Camille (MotM 2020)

camille cover

This was another one of those titles that I watched and attached a really high rating to. It’s especially curious because I remember next to nothing about this. One would reckon that recollection would be a sure sign of something being really good, but it’s been nearly a decade. Maybe there’s something here that the old me got right. Or maybe I was really inexperienced and naive.

Here are old me’s thoughts on this lovely picture:

Before I review this movie, I’d like to point out that this is not a comedy, it isn’t, really. Anyway, Camille is beautifully peculiar in every way, with James Franco acting like a douchebag and Sienna Miller acting optimistic and skippy, with a plot that is as strange as the movie’s ending. Camille has you feeling for the character’s feelings and the movie’s plotholes seem to disappear below you.

camille 3
Disappear into the Niagara, wow!

“Feeling for the character’s feelings” in particular really gets me. Not just for the typo, but because it’s so vague and incomprehensible that someone at the age of 16-17 would write such empty drivel. Especially when that 16-17-year-old is me. I like to think I’ve come a long way.

To refute old me for a moment, this is kind of a comedy. There are a notable collection of attempted jokes, but they’re rather dark and occasionally subtle. This isn’t structured in a typical romantic-comedy style, the likes involving a passionate meeting, a conflict that tears them apart until the end, and a beautiful rekindling that sets the heart aflutter. It mismatches the parts to suit its own identity, even if it ends up just as cheesy and borderline unbearable by the end.

camille 2
David Carradine with a blue horse? It’s more likely than you think.

Making it clear now, I did not care for this film. Initially, it was kind of intriguing to see the aftermath of a marriage done only for freedom (ironic, isn’t it?). Friction between a pair is nothing new in films, as Pixar has been milking it for decades by this point. Still, the manner of tension boils over fairly early, which intrigued me enough to want to see where it would go. Funny I should even say so, seeing as I’ve watched this before. It’s not until after a certain accident occurs that the amount of logical leaps of faith begin to override the simple joys of marital infighting.

In fact, the longer this goes on, the more I don’t care for it. The amount of sloppy dialogue and unreliable logic attributed to the ongoing events begins to drag the overall quality down quickly. There’s one line close to the end that literally made me “lol.” An officer related to the female lead says (paraphrasing slightly), “I’m not afraid to take the law into my own hands—the real law: the law of love!” E-Excuse me? How do you keep a straight face after saying something so corny? There are a few instances of these really odd lines, as well as just generally odd behavior from random characters. David Carradine is in this and… I’m not sure why he’s in this.

camille 1
I should probably switch this picture with the one above it, but I won’t.

Part of what I figure played into my old rating was the immense focus on romance and emotional bonding between the two leads. Longtime readers know that I used to be a huge sucker for anything romantic, even if it should be the only thing carrying a story. Franco and Miller don’t have that much chemistry to them, but perhaps back in ye olden days of critiquing, I wasn’t sure what chemistry was. I probably focused on the romantic beats of the actions rather than the “shipping quality” of the pair. Rather scary what romance did to me as a teenager, thinking on it now.

Not quite as weird as people build it up to be, though also not weird enough to leave any sort of memorability. Performances are generally mediocre (I thought Carradine was awful), the presentation/cinematography is passable, many of the characters are really dumb, and it didn’t connect with me emotionally whatsoever—a far cry from “feeling for the character’s feelings” that once was said of this. Also, not to be that guy, but it’s kind of funny to me to watch how badly Franco’s character treat’s Miller’s after certain allegations made against Franco have come to surface since this film’s release. Just a thought.

Final Score: 3/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

Thank you for your time. Have a great day.

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