Movie Review: ’39’

There is a fantastic new movie out now. Unfortunately, that movie is not the one I am reviewing here. 39 tries to delve into the life of a Hollywood up-and-comer who is struggling through a failing marriage, a loss, and his unfulfilled Hollywood ambitions, but the movie never really gels into a cohesive story that many people would find interesting.

Writer/director Josh Evans stars as Adam, a film-maker who is deeply unhappy in his marriage to Tabitha (Natasha Gregson Wagner). They are trying to work things out, including multiple visits to a therapist (Alexia Landeau), but with a miscarriage and constant bickering, there does not seem to be much hope. Adam also seeks help from his father (Robert Wagner) and attorney (Marshall Bell) to no avail and his only solace comes from Diamond (Roxy Saint), his “rockstar muse” with whom he develops a relationship.

It is unclear, to me at least, what filming style this film was aiming at. Every so often it seems like a documentary or home made film with the actors aware of (glancing at) the camera, but nobody ever directly addresses the camera and one person even states that there are no cameras during a private conversation. And are they utilizing flashbacks/memories/jumping around in time, or is it all linear; I was confused as to whether Tabitha was pregnant twice or just the once. Maybe if I watch it a third time, it will make more sense.

On a positive note, most of the music in the film is great, with the personal exception of Diamond’s song, with the lyric “I hate all you…” repeated 20 times. If I were a hateful person who used profanity, that lyric might make me want to shout it at the people involved in making this film. But, that song aside, I loved the music in this film and the scenic views around Hollywood are aspiring as well. There are a few shots of the Hollywood Sign and some shots of Adam driving around the hills and near the ocean. Those scenes, with the music, are rather serene.

Aside from the music, there is not much I can recommend about this movie. The supporting cast, like Robert Wagner and Marshall Bell, are drastically underutilized; their characters are hardly developed and offer limited additions to the story, which could have been the point, I am not really sure. Adam talks a lot about wanting a divorce, to the point that Tabitha repeats it for him (a lot) in a therapy session. Even when things seem to be looking up with his “muse”, the film is still dark and gloomy. Overall, I suggest you pass on this and trek over to a better movie.

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