Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Movies In Review: Paradise


(2013) Drama 86 minutes
Starring the gorgeous and sweet Julianne Hough as plane crash survivor "Lamb". She comes from a strict religious community where she was not permitted to wear shorts, shave her legs, go to public school, or anything we would consider - ordinary. Lamb is a vivacious young adult who has a promising future, until one day her boyfriend, who could fly planes, took her up in a two-seater. Unfortunately, tragedy struck leaving Lamb with scars all over her body that cause her chronic pain and her boyfriends death. We learn all of this as a back story within the movie.
I admire that they didn't go the route of CGI and the elaborate - tragic plane accident that has us all fearing to take flight ever again. Instead, it really focuses on the human that is left to deal with the scars.

Dealing with the scars...
In the beginning it sets it up to let you know that before her accident she was this beautiful and virtuous young lady. I really love this scene because it has Julianne as Lamb before the accident in the ocean walking around, and Julianne as Lamb after the accident sitting on the beach. This is reality for someone facing what Lamb is going through. You have to mourn for the person that you once were while you are trying to deal with the pain and suffering of what your life is now.

Everybody Has Wounds

Becoming fast friends
I really loved the heart and soul of this movie and what it reminds us. We are a society that is quickly becoming desensitized to human feelings and kindness. That's why I love the characters Loray and William. Loray was wonderfully portrayed by the fabulous Octavia Spencer. She is a hardened woman of the Sunset Strip that is an ironic performer. However, upon meeting Lamb, almost reluctantly she becomes Lamb's tour guide of Las Vegas and leads Lamb to the "real Vegas". She further explains how people go to Las Vegas, but it is really called Paradise, the real Las Vegas is a few miles away.
Enter the mysterious William, played by Russell Brand. I'm a sucker for the English accent. William is a bartender and is one of the first encounters of the naive Lamb upon her arrival. He explains that Lamb is like waking up and experiencing that fresh morning snow, untouched and beautiful. While you would think he would be the 'love interest' and Lamb has those 'tingling' feelings for him. He is a pure gentlemen - which I admire - he shows her respect; which let's face it - doesn't happen anymore in life. 

The Napkin of Sin
Lamb had denounced her faith in front of her entire congregation at a church service. She was mad and questioned why this happened to her. So, she decided enough is enough and that she wanted to experience and live life. So, she jet sets from Montana to Nevada in the hope of committing some sins and finally tasting the sweetness of life. While she is on the prowl for fun in Las Vegas, a bar full of people write down on a napkin what they think she should do. This included smoking, ink, and porn. I thought it was really cute the innocence of it all. When she got her tramp stamp, it was just a tiny dot. This sequence was great though and brought a smile to my face (in a time that I needed one). 

Julianne, Holly, and Nick playing
The Mannerheim's
After Lamb gets her fill of Sin City, she heads home to her loyal and loving parents, the Mannerheim's, portrayed by Nick Offerman and the legendary Holly Hunter (who I absolutely adore). It would only be a short visit, Lamb had more exploring to do, she wants to travel. In the end of the movie we see that Lamb is traveling all over, because William displays his postcards that he receives from her up on the bar wall where he works. I would have liked to see Lamb and William reconnect, but life doesn't always work out that way and why should movies continually feed those fantasies - entertainment, that's why! 

Overall I gave this movie 8 out of 10 stars on IMDb.com. It felt real and was personal for me since I have physical scars and deal with chronic pain myself. I could relate to a lot of what Lamb was going through. While Lamb has an amazing ending to her movie, many people left with physical scars for life do not get that big settlement check. Which Lamb addresses in the movie as well - she refers to it as a miracle - that she was able to obtain a settlement check and that she had people that love her and take care of her. Not everyone has that and it makes the process much more difficult. The movie addresses Lamb's human struggles, short, sweet, and to the point. Loved it.