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Greenberg and Other Character Studies

Posted March 08, 2010 to photo album "Greenberg and Other Character Studies"

Noah Baumbach’s comedy Greenberg probes the psyche of a man in search of himself. We consider other films that study character.

Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: Citizen Kane - Character as perception
Slide 3: Sunset Boulevard - Character as reflection
Slide 4: The Searchers - Character as manifest destiny
Slide 5: Taxi Driver - character as psychosis
Slide 6: The Entertainer - Character as characters
Slide 7: The Motorcycle Diaries - Character as destiny
Slide 8: Le Samouraï - Character as style
Slide 9: Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles - Character as surface
Slide 10: The Ice Storm - Character as cultural confusion
Slide 11: All That Jazz - Character study as musical
Slide 12: The Graduate - Character as ambivalence
Slide 13: Sweet Smell of Success - Character as calculation
Slide 14: What is yours?
Slide 10: The Ice Storm - Character as cultural confusion

Slide 10: The Ice Storm - Character as cultural confusion

In the New York Times, Janet Maslin praised Ang Lee’s suburban drama The Ice Storm by commenting, “No known reference book addresses the historical unease that Ang Lee's film captures so hauntingly.” The time is Thanksgiving 1973, and Nixon is on the brink of resigning, the economy is shot, and everyone wants to talk about his or her unhappiness. The Hoods and the Carvers, the drama’s two central families, are not only awash in their secrets and lies, but are unsure which ones they should confess and which ones to keep private. When Ben Hood (Kevin Kline), for example, admits his confusion and anxiety to Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver), the neighbor with whom he is having an affair, she tartly responds, “Ben, you're boring me. I have a husband. I don't have a need for another one.” Here the character of the times seem perfectly reflected in the characters’ psyche. According Lee, “These characters have so many reasons why they're unhappy, or why they distrust each other, or why their needs are not fulfilled….The characters have pop psychology, fashion, polyester, the idea of an open marriage, liberation, desire, fulfillment - but where do they go?”