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Critic Reviews for Here
[It] doesn't offer up a ton of narrative surprises, but there is plenty going on the screen to keep you engaged - and visually stimulated.
You must be willing to give yourself to Braden King's debut feature, a slow, meandering and sumptuously photographed road trip combined with an intimate love story. I gave, and I got. A lot.
"Here" seems motivated by a tone of searching and yearning, not of finding a single way. As Foster's character says at one point, "Getting lost was the goal."
It becomes highly affecting, concerned both with the limits of mapping a landscape and with lovers' difficulties in navigating each other.
The trains of thought stirred up by the film's contemplation of what is here and what is there - and where you are - are endless and stimulating. And the movie is embellished with spectacularly beautiful, enigmatic bursts of abstract imagery.
Audience Reviews for Here
Question: When was the last time you looked through the view finder of a camera and had to physically focus the lens? Depending on the type of lens (wide-angle, telephoto, fixed, marco or fish-eye) focusing on something can take some work, dedication. It could be the smallest detail or the expanse of sunset over the mountains and bringing it into focus is up for interpretation. The type of person who is looking through the lens and what they really want to view can affect what is seen. We all see things differently; interpret the world through our own lenses.
We go through this world [alone] observing, learning and deciphering what we see to make it fit into our viewpoints. However, there are moments in our lives when paths cross and we begin to see the world from a different perspective. Those are the moments truly worth living for because experiencing life with a different mindset is scary and exhilarating all at the same time. That is living!
I just finished watching a film on Netflix: Here. The film stars Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal with narration by Peter Coyote. The two main characters represent how people see and live in the world oppositely from the other. Ben Foster is a cartographer; his livelihood depends on precision and measurement - an exact science to viewing the world. While Lubna Azabal plays an art photographer who looks through a lens to see beauty of vastness uncertainty. She can still see a detail but is always just a part of something grander.
The story tells the time when these two meet in Armenia. He is American and she is an expatriate from Armenia. The film is catagorized as a romance and drama but to me the story was a slice of life when two strangers meet and experience life together. There isn't a lot to tell about the story in Here and I wouldn't talk about it anyway. However, there are suggestions, hints or it could just be my over-active imagination always seeking for nuances in film. It kept me engaged despite being a relatively slow paced story. I don't particularly like saying "slow paced" because I fear that might turn some off. Don't worry, Here is worth watching/experiencing.
The acting by the two leads was authentic to the core. It never felt rehearsed or improvised with the actors being told - "act this way, or pretend that..." Ben Foster portrayed a quiet fellow with something hidden that I wanted to figure out. Lubna Azabal also intrigued me with her ambiguity. Did I ever find out? Not going to say as you should find out for yourselves. Nonetheless, Here displayed two opposing viewpoints of the world and how they comingle for a brief time. Precision vs. indefinite; Science vs. art; Control vs. freedom.
One thing I will mention about the film: there are stunning views of Armenia. I am not very familiar with that particular country and it was a pleasure to view the countryside, cities and one specific area that I want to go to someday. It was breathtaking. And the score was perfectly juxtaposed with the softness and subtly of the story. Lovely.
My favorite thing: One specific speech that Ben Foster gives. And the narration between the acts gave even more depth to the story of the two opposing modes of thought. Brilliant. Oh, there is one more thing - at the very end - a gift left for her.
My least favorite thing: Someone got sick and I have a weak stomach - just can't handle that.
Directed by Braden King, Truckstop Media, 2011
Written by Lars Kundsen & Braden King.
Starring: Ben Foster, Lubna Azabal and Peter Coyote.
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance
Length: 126 minutes
Review: 7 out of 10
"Here" is Armenia where Will Shepard(Ben Foster) has come to map the country but has trouble ordering an omelette. That's where Gadarine(Lubna Azabal) comes in. She is just back from Paris where she studied photography and whose return her brother Krikor(Narek Nersisyan) is more than ambivalent about. By coincidence or this being a very small country, Gadarine and Will meet again at a reception. After which, she agrees to accompany him on his work around the country, even after being warned away from the eastern border.
"Here" is a fine example of sparse and meditative filmmaking, whose deliberate pace often allows the scenery to do the talking for it. What we find is a country that while lacking amenities like basic scheduled transportation has a valuable commodity in a friendly population.(No wonder Gadarine has mixed feelings on her return.) In this day and age, it is kind of amazing that somebody could literally go off the map and find themselves in a situation where nobody speaks English. And yes, the interludes are kind of pretentious but I could listen to Peter Coyote read the phone book all day, so no complaints here.
"Here" embodies its subject by delivering breathtaking scenery as a backdrop for passion in the unlikeliest of places. Ben Foster takes a step away from his Hollywood films and proves why he will stand the test of time as an actor, with a subtle and powerful performance as a lowly land surveyor traveling the roads of Armenia. Here (no punned intended), he crosses paths with a photographer, Gadarine (Lubna Azabal). Azabal is a talented and attractive Belgian actress who easily becomes the object of affection with her ability to look gorgeous even when angry or sad. Foster and Azabal's chemistry is undeniable, delivering the perfect antiquated love story, with emotions bubbling over, even through the heartfelt conclusion. The real star of the film, however, is the cinematography, which displays both a wide view of beautiful landscapes and a close and intimate view of the two lovers, traveling the countryside. "Here" is a labor of love, and in the process, produces something original and fresh, all while striking the same similar chords that we're accustomed to in a dramatic love story such as this.
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