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Museum Hours

Just a quick post about this wonderful 2013 release, because the Holiday Season is still in full throttle around here—and taking up a huge amount of time! If you remember(if you don’t, feel free to look for yourself), the final words on my “About” page here on the blog, specified a goal towards honesty and accuracy. It’s been nearly two years, and I believe that still sums up my mission. Ironically, over just the past few days, I’ve included an editor’s note in my “Saving Mr. Banks” review, after a regular contributor pointed out a mistake I had made. I was happy to do it. Now, I want to write a few words about “Museum Hours”, and it is time to be completely candid. I love this film, it’s one of my favorites of the past year, I so want to watch it again—and I feel the vast majority of you will despise it. “Snail’s pace” would be an understatement for many of you. But I’ll admire anyone that gives it a try.

Jem Cohen is the writer and director, and much of the film is set in a Vienna museum. It’s there that the mature guard Johann(Bobby Summer)and stranger Anne(Mary Margaret O’Hara)meet, talk, walk, and explore the city, their lives, their losses and how art enhances, meshes with, and is an indelible part of it all. It’s a beautiful looking film with a quite cerebral, artistic edge. I’d hate for anyone to dismiss it and it’s hard to shake when it’s all over. Anne arrives in Vienna to visit a comatose and dying friend, and her happening upon Johann is completely by chance— without a hint of cuteness. In fact, it’s made clear relatively early that there will not be an eventual romance in this burgeoning relationship. It’s not needed, because the unlikely friendship is more than ample. “Museum Hours” is one of the best films of 2013, and I hope to have a hand in saving it from obscurity. It’s somber, it’s intelligent, and it’s a combination of English and German with English subtitles. I felt it in my soul.     Grade:  A

next review up: “Kill Your Darlings”

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