HPPUB MOVIE REVIEW of The Majestic

 

Title:  The Majestic

Release Date:  2001

Nationality and Language: USA, English

Running time: about 160 Minutes

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

Distributor and Production Company: Warner Brothers, Village Roadshow, Castle Rock

Director; Writer:: Frank Darabont

Producer:

Cast:   Jim Carrey, Laurie Holden, Martin Landau and Bob Balaban.

Technical: VistaVision (2:1), digital

Relevance to HPPUB site: McCartyhism

Review: The early 50s period-piece movie starts in a sinister fashion, when a screenwriter played by Jim Carrey finds his movie contract (“Ashes to Ashes”) canceled and himself blacklisted. Soon he has a car accident, falling into a river, and after a rather convenient amnesia resurrects himself as a World War II veteran who, it turns out, really dies. He helps a surrogate father restore a grand old movie palace, “The Majestic.”  Gradually he finds out who he is after all, and has to debate with himself whether ideals and principles mean anything.  Men die in battle for ideals, for the freedom of others. He is summoned to testify in a House Unamerican Activities Committee hearing since he was accused of attending one communist meeting in 1945 to impress a girl friend. He is supposed to sign a paper “naming names” (in the fashion of Shilts in Conduct Unbecoming) of “other communists” as a bargain.  But in a passionate, improvised speech he discovers principle: -- not only that he should not admit to a “crime” that he did not commit, but also that people really have the right to assemble to express any idea non-violently. It turns out to be a speech on fundamental rights—like expressive association in the Boy Scouts v. James Dale case.  It cuts both ways.

 

This movie was hardly a comedy, but Carrey’s in-your-face, almost butt-showing acting style (once, when interviewed while in shorts, he told Larry King “the hair ain’t bad).really works here. He can ask, he can tell.

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