The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 50.0°F | Fair

You're better off at your terminal

Hey, did you hear? Meryl Streep is in a new movie. They call it Plenty. Excuse the pun, but I call it plenty bad! All you Meryl Streep fans out there will just have to put your tissues away, because this Twentieth Century Fox Film is not another Academy Award winning creation.

Gosh Meryl, I walked in that theater ready to love you in yet another tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, soul-searching flick. I really wanted to believe those tantalizing words on my press release: to know the pleasure of power. To feel the heat of passion. To stretch life to the absolute limit. She would settle for nothing less.

Let me give you a hint: don't make the same mistake I did. If Meryl is your thing, go see Sophie's Choice again, or otherwise pick up a back issue of The Tech, or just read a good computer manual. (For sure you'll be more entertained.)

Okay, you may say, there must be some good points to this movie; surely, no Meryl Streep performance is ever really that bad. Well yes, I admit, there were some redeeming qualities to this movie. For one, the cinematography is charmingly painted. The movie opens with a strikingly subtle scene, in which, sometime before dawn, a group of men and women dressed in black (we later find out they're part of the French Resistance) are watching packages parachute from the sky. Along with these, a man falls from the sky as well. How apropos that Meryl goes to bed with this stranger 15 minutes into the movie. But hey, that's supposed to be passion, right?

As this masterpiece of cinematography progresses, we follow Meryl through yet another WWII flick. This time just to make it interesting however, there are no universally burning issues to explore, there are no people searching for some higher ideal, and we are left without any questions for ourselves to examine once the film is over (except of course why did I waste my time going?)

Instead we follow Meryl through 15 or 20 years, 3 or 4 career changes, 2 or 3 nervous breakdowns, and Lord knows how many men. Perhaps the only thing the film does succeed in, is in its portrayal of a large time span. In a subtle, almost sophisticated manner, we come to understand the passing of time. There is an obvious attempt to use this quality to depict that profound (perhaps Yuppie) idea of searching for something more, something to live for rather than succumbing to corporate bureaucracies. (Oh how profoundly trite! But then this movie does not succeed in being more than that.)

Gosh, even the love scenes were just as pathetically trivial. At one point near the beginning of the movie (when my hopes were still high) Meryl was supposed to deliver one, passionate kiss to this man (played by Sting), whom she barely knew. Instead what occurred looked more like two pigeons pecking at one another. Let's face it, it took them almost 2 minutes to find each other's mouths, let alone skin. (I thought the other Tech reporter who had accompanied me to the movie was going to fall out of his seat, he was laughing so hard.)

Of course you know it was truly bad when the rest of the audience clapped when she did finally kiss the guy. Poor Sting! He must be commended for such remarkable self-restraint. I'm sure the girls on the concert circuit are considerably more dynamic than good ol' Meryl.

As checklists go, the cinematography wasn't bad (perhaps slick around the edges), the acting was not great, but it wasn't half as bad as the screenwriting for this film. Overall I'd say it'd have been less disappointing if Meryl Streep hadn't lent her name, talent, or time to this project.

Allison Druin->