Trailer Takes: All The Money In The World, Mary Magdalene, and Love, Simon

December 7, 2017

All The Money In The World https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXHrCBkIxQQ

(Editor’s note: All The Money In The World originally starred Kevin Spacey; however, following the allegations charged towards him in November, he was promptly removed from the film and replaced by Christopher Plummer to reshoot all of his scenes in time for the December release date. The original Kevin Spacey trailer can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJtqk0qq0uk)

Brynn: What is worrying about All the Money in the World is that with the removal of Kevin Spacey, it seems to have lost direction with the need to shift entirely. While the original trailer creates a shroud of mystery around J. Paul Getty (formerly Kevin Spacey), making him the centerpiece of the storyline and building suspense until he finally reveals himself at the end of the trailer, the new preview is entirely focused on Getty’s advisor (Mark Wahlberg) and his role in rescuing John Paul Getty III. There is also a clear change in point of view where the original trailer is narrated by the voice of the young J.P. Getty (Charlie Plummer) who is in awe of his grandfather, and the new trailer is narrated by his mother, Gale (Michelle Williams). The perspective and focus changes are important to note because they indicate huge changes that needed to be made in the storyline. The movie could still be a good action drama, but it is unlikely to fit the producer’s original vision.

Clare:  What a difference a few months make.  This film was previously cast with Kevin Spacey as the spectacularly wealthy but selfish billionaire J.P. Getty.  However, with Christopher Plummer as his replacement, the entire film has shifted.  Spacey was well known for his dark characters, including Frank Underwood from House of Cards and the serial killer from Se7en.  Plummer, on the other hand, has always had a more grandfatherly air about him, even in villainous roles.  Plummer’s casting, despite being necessary from promotional and ethical standpoints, will definitely change the entire vibe of the character, which will in turn affect the film.  It will be fascinating to see the film–will the reshoots be obvious? Will the film focus more or less on Getty’s character? And will this inspire other studios to also sever ties with actors accused of sexual harassment?

Miranda: Despite being an Academy Award-winner, Kevin Spacey is an incredibly one-dimensional actor. Some of his most revered roles in House of Cards, The Usual Suspects, Se7en, and even Horrible Bosses are simply repetitions of the same conniving psychopath; he even recycles the devoid-of-emotion monotone for each role. It seems as if All the Money in the World had him geared up for an encore, this time as an elderly conniving psychopath who speaks in monotone. Plummer’s casting is a welcomed breath of fresh air. His more extensive dialogue in the trailer suggests he will enliven the character of J.P. Getty, allowing for a deeper exploration of him. This film may turn out to be a successful commentary on the tension between love and money, or it may lean closer to an inauthentic, mindless action film.


Mary Magdalene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyDrnbNwjus

Brynn: A Hollywood drama retelling a Bible story is never safe from controversy, so this movie will no doubt offend some and inspire others. If Mary Magdalene is as good as it appears to be in the trailer, I hope it serves as inspiration to a majority of its viewers. There seems to be an important feminist element that is often lacking in retellings of Bible stories where the focus is always on the men, so this movie will be refreshing in that it points to Mary Magdalene (Rooney Mara) as a leader and an important influence on Jesus’ life. The beautiful portrayal of Mary’s strength and her relationship with Jesus (Joaquin Phoenix), with his gentle eyes and kind sense of humor, will move viewers (myself included) to tears.

Clare: The trailer for this movie gives away a lot — but it’s information we already know.  Yes, Jesus (Joaquin Phoenix) rescued Mary Magdalene (Rooney Mara) from demons.  She followed him as a loyal disciple until his crucifixion.  But despite the “spoilers” to the Biblical story, the trailer is frustratingly vague about Mary’s narrative arc.  She is depicted as a true believer with a deep connection to Christ.  But other than a few clashes with Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofer), the film is unclear about her motivations and goals. Hopefully, we get a feminine perspective on the founding of the world’s most popular religion, but it would be nice to have the film focus on developing Mary’s character and ambitions as well.  Joaquin Phoenix does look compelling as Christ, and his chemistry with Mara is palpable even in the trailer.

Miranda: Mary Magdalene will certainly be visually stunning and intensely dramatic, which render it best viewed on the big screen. Exaggerated beauty and emotion seem to be the standard for all art and film that depicts religious narratives that are otherwise just history reports in religious texts. The film’s ability to move the audience will rely on it executing this artistry, while simultaneously portraying Jesus and Mary as believable humans.


Love, Simonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykHeGtN4m94

Brynn: Maybe it’s the fact that Nick Robinson, who plays the lead role of Simon, looks striking like Ansel Elgort, who played Augustus Waters in The Fault in Our Stars, but this movie reminds me of a John Green book. It has that generic indie romantic comedy feeling, but it deviates from the usual coming of age classic in that the main character is gay. This movie is a step in the right direction for normalizing diverse relationships in the mainstream media and creating a relatable dilemma for people who may identify with Simon, even if they are limited to white males. As a coming of age film, Love, Simon will be just as endearing, funny, and thoughtful as Simon.

Clare:  This movie is based off of the very funny coming of age book Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda, which alone should make it a must see for any fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower or The Fault in Our Stars.  As a genre, this film is entirely recognizable–it’s the standard YA light-angst high school romance, complete with complicated family and friend dynamics.  But the gay romance makes it enough of a twist on the genre to make it worth a watch.  This film probably won’t subvert the teen rom-com genre, but it may expand it a little.

Miranda: Although Love, Simon explores a deeply personal coming-of-age experience, its humor and Simon’s internal monologues can universalize its themes to both engage and educate a wide audience. The film may also comment on how social constructs such as “coming out” can have an impact not only on self-esteem, mental health, and the journey of “finding yourself,” but also on familial, friend, and intimate relationships. Ultimately, the film’s charm seems to stem from not taking itself too seriously, while tackling a serious, controversial topic.

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