On Golden Pond Reviews
The most cinematic things about "On Golden Pond", and possibly it's best assets, are the score and cinematography. The beauty of the opening sequence can't be put into words. It was like a moving painting with soothing, beautiful classical music to accompany the mood. "On Golden Pond" is simply filled with beauty and naturalism- and no film can wrong with that. Near perfection.
Yes it's flawed. Yes it's simplistic to the point of being cliche at times. But it endures despite it's flaws. Many good movies are flawed as this is. It doesn't relish in it's conflicts and while most consider this a flaw I consider it a positive. I prefer more subtle films anyways; I don't care what exactly is the issue between father and daughter. Sex abuse? Physical violence? Mental abuse? Adding more of that wouldn't make the picture any better for me, and it would preclude my kids from seeing it.
Which by the way my animated loving 7 and 9 year olds, while griping at first, we're drawn into this film once it got going and the shorter run time made it a good time. Wait, almost 2 hours is a short run time? I guess time flies while your enjoying yourself.
To those critics that say this story is too sweet; um, it's a story about death and preparing to die. This film gracefully is full of substance if you're the type that doesn't need to be bashed over the head with it to get it. The world needs more films like this that rely on strength of substance than on plot device; that are relatable in a real way and honest enough to allow the relation to happen; that have real-world value and are accessible enough for it to be a benefit to the real-world.
This is probably the nicest, sweetest, most wholesome film about death ever. The primary conflict, Norman's fear of death and his unfinished business, is treated with such a light-heartedness that the film takes on a dreamy pastoral quality. By itself, the film could be charming, able to deliver insight about going into the night with a smirk rather than a frown, but the film's conflict is complicated with the entrance of Norman's daughter. I understand that the conflict between Henry and Jane Fonda informs the film's contemporary interpretation, but as it plays today, there needs to be more setup than Chelsea's weeping into her mother's arms about Norman's placidity.
The film's highlights are the performances. Even Jane Fonda is exceptional, and Katharine Hepburn plays the ideal, strong-willed grandmother, a woman all of us should want guiding our lives. Henry Fonda's Oscar win was deserved.
Overall, it's hard to imagine so many ducks and landscape shots in a film about the inevitability of death, but at times, not often, On Golden Pond pulls it off.