Thelongestfilm – Review Leslie Film. This is an impressive character portrait. Leslie often acted as if having a hand outstretched to her an opening for more. And he is having a hard time fulfilling the promises he makes and the assignments he accepts. Sooner or later, he brings chaos and annoyance to every interaction.
The result is a syllogism, or self-fulfilling prophecy: something like, “I am a disaster, therefore I create a disaster.”
“Review Leslie Film”
Of course Leslie isn’t as bad as her worst enemies say she is (or as the voice in her head keeps insisting), but she is guilty of capital offenses, and the movies (especially through Sweeney and Nancy) refuse to let her off the hook. (Maron’s own much-talked-about experience as a recovering alcoholic makes some of Sweeney’s dialogue more interesting than if any other cast member delivered it).
Morris’s simple shots and careful staging often focus our attention on what’s going on inside Leslie rather than any external events that trigger her reactions. The result is more than just a show for Riseborough, who anchors every scene.
His performance determined not to spoil the audience or celebrate his own skills. So it often makes you feel as though you’re not looking at an established international actress but a newcomer playing a version of herself.
Morris’ direction offers other filmmakers a template for how to make small films feel big simply by making definite choices and sticking to them.
“Review Leslie Film”
In the early scene, Leslie is present for a fight in the hallway; we see her in focus in the foreground, reacting in profile as the fight takes place out of focus in the background. In a later scene, Leslie spends the night in an abandoned ice cream shack across from the motel and watches through a crack in the curtains as Royal, a conspiracy theorist and acidhead, bays at the moon in his underwear and then races across the parking lot to hug Sweeney.
There are only two shots in the sequence: Leslie watching, and her point of view of people doing something far away (the extreme distance makes their actions even more comical).
The film’s tour-de-force, for the lead actress as well as the filmmaker, is unbroken footage of Leslie sitting in a bar at closing time, listening to a song whose lyrics seem like scathing comments about her life (“Is this a joke?” she says to the sky). then listens to the entire song as the camera zooms in on him.
This wasn’t the moment when things turned around for Leslie, but it was the start of something better. Riseborough’s face lets us imagine all the decisions and reversals, accusations and justifications, that might spin through the minds of the characters.
As part of a daring close-up silent act, Robert De Niro in “GoodFellas” imagines the bloodshed his character will go through; Diane Lane on a commuter train in “Unfaithful” fondly recalls her date; Nicole Kidman in the symphony in “Birth”; and other great moments in acting
The long, unbroken close-ups of people’s thoughts are a big part of what makes cinema such a unique art form, and “For Leslie,” to its credit, built around them.