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Thrilling and charming in a way that very few American comedies ever are.

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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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The Unloved, Part 56: In the Cut

Ultimately it was sexism and Meg Ryan. People didn't want to have to take her seriously after more than a decade of her dominating romantic comedies. They wanted to be done with her. It's a shame, because she did incredible work when people asked her to. I've already covered "Joe Vs. The Volcano" for this column, in which she's radiant and hilarious, but she really knocks it out of the park in this particular movie. Nicole Kidman was supposed to play this part, which makes a lot of sense, and Ryan definitely channels Kidman's sultry ennui in this, one of her best performances. 

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But the movie is also a testament to Campion's epoch-making direction. Every indie movie looks like "In The Cut" now. She predicted the shallow focus cinematography that would define the look of a goodly sum of modern thrillers and TV. We don't give Campion the credit she deserves for her contributions to modern cinema. She's the only woman to win the Palme d'Or (and even there she split it), she's a brilliant stylist, and she's one of the only people with an adult approach to sexuality. 

"In The Cut" was too much for male critics (who largely dismissed it), too assertive, too confident. But readers, I'm here to tell you ... it's just right. 



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