Jan. 5th, 2017

Three movies I liked that have bad ratings on Netflix

Enjoyed each movie completely, but user ratings on Netflix are in the pits.

1. Meek’s Cutoff

Netflix’s summary: Set in 1845, this drama follows a group of settlers as they embark on a punishing journey along the Oregon Trail. When their guide leads them astray, the expedition is forced to contend with the unforgiving conditions of the high plain desert

Netflix user rating: 2.6 stars

So why did I like it? Okay, there’s not much of a plot. But I was awed at the way that the movie just puts you right there. You are right there in the middle of the pioneers’ small caravan, you are right there with them wondering if Meeks is a liar or deluded or what, wondering if the Native American will help you find water, wondering if you will survive. Great cinematography; now I feel like I can visualize what this experience was like for the pioneers.

(I do also realize that “pioneers” might be the wrong term, and “invaders” is probably more accurate).

2. The Duke of Burgundy

Netflix’s summary: When dedicated butterfly collector Cynthia hires a new housekeeper, Evelyn, the relationship soon turns sexual. In time, their role-playing encounters transform Evelyn's role from employee to personal slave -- even though she's the real boss.

Netflix user rating: 2.4 stars

So why did I like it? Again, the plot is pretty slow-moving here too. But I love the gradual unfolding, how it dawns on you that the servant is the master. And again with the lush, gorgeous cinematography. It was so visually appealing, reminds me of why I don’t just read books and sometimes love a good movie.

3. Cracks

Netflix’s summary: Miss G., a teacher at a girls' boarding school, is unusually close with one of her charges, Di. But when the arrival of a new student evokes strong emotions, disrupting Miss G.'s relationship with the others, it is certain that someone will get hurt.

Netflix user rating: 3.1 (Hey this one cracked 3 stars – woo hoo!)

So why did I like it? I guess I’ve learned that if a movie fully transports me somewhere then I’m in. “Meek’s Cutoff” made me feel I was on the Oregon trail in 1845, “The Duke of Burgundy” made me live inside the dreamlike, exquisite home, and now “Cracks” placed me in a 1930’s girls boarding school on a remote British island. I’ll also add with “Cracks” that the acting was top-caliber, this one had more of a plot than the others, the movie evoked a mood (made me a bit unsettled without totally creeping me out), each of the main characters was a fully-realized person, and I felt like the film touched on something about human nature.

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