It took me a long time to come up with my feelings about this movie because I have never seen and never felt what it did to me.
Let’s try to explain to you everything I felt then.
First, the format itself is really innovative and creative. The size of the screen made me think of the instagram one. I thought it was a real bias because sometimes having a screen as small as that could have just made the audience miss things or even given the impression of a too small/narrow point of view. Of course, it is definitely not. The framing is perfect and makes you see things, lots of them. It also gives the intimacy in which Robert Eggers brings you. You feel part of the story but then again the audience to this demented dimension.
It also gives the impression of watching a play. Everything fits. If that makes any sense.
The decor, the lighthouse, the island… The screen was it all. It brought an intensity to it and maybe a bit of realism too. Like you are watching your neighbors from the window.
The black and white and filters used by Eggers are what make the movie so powerful, like secondary characters who make the story what it is. The feeling of something old but at the same time it gives character to the story as well. Everything lures you in like a siren’s call. The absence of colors does not matter at all, it just powerfully tells another story, completing the one unfolding before our eyes. Eggrs plays with whites and blacks like they could be strong and intense colors. He succeeds beautifully as colors would have given another feeling for sure. And the use of those make the actors be more real, meaning they use their body, their face, their gestures… Intensity at its best. That’s why this movie felt like a play to me (that and the fact you mainly see two actors).
The story is one of the wildest story I have ever seen. I must admit with the old language and mostly the accents I had great difficulties to get into it. Even if the story is really amazing and creative and completely crazy as is Robert Eggers’ mind, it was sometimes really complicated for a non english person. Though, once you are into it and you just let the story guide you, you just see things and wonder what is the truth of it all. Even a few weeks after my two viewings, I still cannot decide what is the true ending, what is from my own imagination,what really happened… You cannot go to this movie like you did the others, you have to trust the sea, the waves, the storm, the light, to bring you to the ending destination. I think you can understand the story as you please because every person will actually believe one thing or the other…
When I read the movie was horror I was a bit scared because I am not much of a horror movie fan and I can guarantee the people who are like me that this movie is definitely not horror. Or at least, it is more of classic horror than the horrors we see now as horror movies. Sometimes you can belive it is but it does not scare, it just plays with your mind in the hope to make you see. That’s how I see it, it is like Robert Eggers wants us to be aware… I would say the movie is more mysthical with a touch of fantasy to it.
You don’t really know a lot about the characters. They are two strangers who have to work together, though their personal story brings them both there for a reason and that’s when the mystical of the story intervenes. The lighthouse, the light, is a real character. It is the answer of everything and nothing at the same time. It is a huge part of sailors’ stories. It made me realize how little I know about the sea and the sailors. For those who know a lot about them, I think the movie can make more sense. For the others, like me, maybe a little reading will enlighten us…
The lighthouse and island (or at least the place and constructions we have seen happen), are just the perfect place for this story. The place gives you the chills in a good and in a bad way. It has a mystical feels, once again. The lighthouse stands there, the center of everything, the answer, the problem, the reason, the treasure, the bad, the good, the impossible, the fantastic… So many things. Everything brings you to her. Because, in the movie, the light is a she. Which could also bring other questions, deeper than we really want to argue about…
In ‘The Lighthouse’, you have a total of 6 actors (if I am not mistaken). Willem, Rob, the two first keepers, the siren and the white haired guy (who has a name but cannot reveal it). Anyway, it feels as intimate as the screen makes you feel it. Most of the time, it is only Willem and Rob. A two people movie. And what a success.
The siren is really a good representation of the mystical feel I told you about. The actress played the part well, she really showed a side of Rob’s character, like the white haired guy who we only see a few couple of seconds on screen.
Willem is, for me, a great actor, complex and completely crazy (in a good way). He can be this charming guy and a demented one the next minute. He plays with his body: what I mean is that everything about him is used. He uses his voice but also his whole body into it. He just shows an excellence to the industry and lots of actors should follow his lead because damn he just blew my mind away. I knew he was good but in the movie, his charisma, his way to interact with Rob, his poise into the mystical parts of the movie, his gestures, his eyes, his face… He is a complete actor. He is truly amazing. Also, beware of the farts (inserting a big LMAO there). A couple of time, Willem has monologues, going from the logical one to the mystical one and it just gives so many perspectives to the story as well as his character. He just brings Rob’s character to life (but it is the same for Rob who just lihts up Willem’s character)
Rob now. This guy is made for theater. That’s what I thought seeing the movie. You thought he was brilliant in the previous movies? Well excellent cannot even define him right now. In ‘The Lighthouse’ he brings himself to another level. His character is delusional, demented, crazy, a brave guy we would say. And Rob, he does it all too well. It is amazing how he transforms from the first second to the last in this movie. He shows so many personalities there. It is like he is many characters into the same body. Body which he uses as Willem Dafoe did. Rob uses his tall self to an extreme, I would not have guess he would have. He is funny and scary and completely mad. His face has so many expressions, so many ways of communication. Sometimes, he did not need to speak, his eyes and body did it for him. And when he speaks for himself, or as he loses himself at some point, he made me think of the ‘Damsel’ scene but tenfold more. It is no wonder he has been chosen to work with all the biggest directors ever. You can see he gave his whole self to the story, to the camera, to the character, to the craziness. Once again, I am so proud of being his fan because every movie is a new discovery of his talent even if I already knew he is brilliant.
Also, brought the boyfirned there, he thought Rob was brilliant as was Willem. He liked them acting together. Though the movie was not really his favorite.
I cannot say the movie was really my cup of tea but it is, for me, a beautiful piece and truly as wild as the reviews say. I would not say it is a movie to watch too often like we could do with other Rob’s movies BUT you have to see it because it is a piece of art. A masterpiece, again.
Robert Eggers did something purely genius. Totally new for me but also something which makes you think. I cannot get over the fact I did not find the words easily. You know how journalists used words bigger than anything because the movie was so spectacular? I think they are right, but sometimes, simple words and a ‘wow’ can be enough too. That was my first reaction after the viewings. You cannot put words on something bigger than you. I could just advise you all to go see it because, maybe, it will change your point of you on many things and just make you realize once more that Rob is a clever, brilliant actor whose talent is so grand that we may never know the end of it (and I quite love that).
I hope my review did not bore you and made you want to see the movie. Until then. Farewell fair ladies and gentlemen!