×

Pics thriving on good vibes

Eye on the Oscars: Writers' Roundup

If movies, as per William Goldman, are essentially either reassuring or unsettling, 2012 surely skewed to the reassuring side.

Screenwriters recalled the power of teamwork, whether by Hollywood wiseguys (Chris Terrio’s “Argo”); elite Navy Seals (Mark Boal’s “Zero Dark Thirty”); principled townspeople (John Krasinski, Matt Damon and Dave Eggers’ “Promised Land”); a pilot’s loyal friends (John Gatins’ “Flight”); a family in extremis (Sergio G. Sanchez’s “The Impossible”); or a peculiar married couple (John J. McLaughlin’s “Hitchcock”).

Ol Parker, Vanessa Taylor and Richard Nelson reminded us that sex isn’t just for the young in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Hope Springs” and “Hyde Park on Hudson,” respectively. Indeed, 2012’s scribes affirmed the universally healing power of unbridled passion. The moonstruck campers of Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom”; the med-crossed lovers of David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook”; Vronsky and “Anna Karenina” via Tom Stoppard; and writers, whether with a sex surrogate (Ben Lewin’s “The Sessions”) or an imaginary inamorata (Zoe Kazan’s “Ruby Sparks”): All learn the age-old lesson as sung in William Nicholson’s “Les Miserables”: “To love another person/Is to see the face of God.”

God’s face is manifest in three dimensions in David Magee’s “Life of Pi,” thrumming on the soundtrack of Ronald Harwood’s “Quartet” and elusive but palpable in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.” Love transcends death in Michael Haneke’s “Amour.” Even at life’s most desperate, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild” acknowledges some divinity shaping, or at least gracing, our ends.

In the recent past, cinema’s norm was the cynical credo in Andrew Dominik’s “Killing Them Softly”: “This world is just shit. We’re all just on our own.”

How much more in tune with the zeitgeist is Tony Kushner’s “Lincoln” script, celebrating the American political system’s fundamental soundness while gently inviting us to bind up our wounds, with malice toward none and charity for all. Maybe there’s something to this hope and change thing, after all.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Inside the Spider-Man Split: Finger-Pointing and Executive Endgames

    Spider-Man’s neighborhood has been decidedly unfriendly this week. A private and contentious battle over the onscreen future of the beloved Marvel superhero has spilled out into the public square over the past few days. After making nice for two wildly successful films, Sony Pictures, which holds the licensing rights to the Marvel character, will go [...]

  • Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch

    Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch for 2019

    Variety has announced its 10 Actors to Watch for 2019, an honor the publication has bestowed since 1998. Past honorees include many future Oscar winners and nominees, such as Mahershala Ali, Timothée Chalamet, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o and Melissa Leo. This year’s honorees will be feted in the Oct. 27 issue of [...]

  • August Maturo

    Film News Roundup: August Maturo to Star in Horror Movie 'Slapface'

    In today’s film news roundup, August Maturo gets a starring role and “Death of Me” and “Fatale” find homes. CASTING “Girl Meets World” star August Maturo has been cast as the lead character in the upcoming indie horror feature, “Slapface.” Maturo will play a boy who deals with the loss of his mother by creating [...]

  • Dan Trachtenberg

    Tom Holland's 'Uncharted' Movie Loses Director

    Dan Trachtenberg has exited the director’s chair for Sony’s “Uncharted” movie starring Tom Holland, with the studio taking meetings with top filmmakers and production starting early next year. The studio confirmed Trachtenberg’s departure Thursday. It also said Sony-based PlayStation Productions — headed by Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan — had come on to produce alongside [...]

  • Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel

    Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel to Head Film Department

    Participant Media has named industry veterans Anikah McLaren and Robert Kessel as co-heads of the company’s film department with the titles of executive vice president. Both executives will report together to Participant CEO David Linde, who made the announcement Thursday. McLaren joins Participant having most recently served as a production executive for Fox Searchlight Pictures. [...]

  • 'The Son' Review: Bosnian Family Drama

    Sarajevo Film Review: 'The Son'

    It is a mixed blessing to be born in the aftermath of a war. On the one hand, you never have to experience the terror and suffering your parents did; on the other, you grow up with your own personal crises forever made to feel smaller by comparison. That, at least, is the frustration driving [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: Jennifer Lopez 'Hustlers' Heading for $25 Million Launch

    STX Entertainment’s “Hustlers,” a comedic thriller about strip-club employees seeking revenge, is expected to earn $25 million when it opens on Sept. 13, according to early tracking. The movie — starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Cardi B and Lizzo — will debut alongside Warner Bros.’ “The Goldfinch.” The drama, based on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content