*** Official "SIMONE" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Crawford, Aug 24, 2002.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Simone". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.
  2. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Jun 30, 1997
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    Pretty early on in Simone, you can tell that it's from the guy who directed Gattaca. There's a certain austere, monochromatic, occasionally overlit look to both films. And it also recalls The Truman Show with its focus on media fakery - at one point, Al Pacino's Victor Taransky actually looks at the camera and tells the audience that it's easier to fool a hundred thousand people than it is one. There's also a sort of over-the-topness to the satire that crosses the line to parody at times. But that's okay - as the movie slyly points out, reality isn't really all it's cracked up to be.
    I'm glad to report that the trailer misrepresents the movie. Sim-One does not have a mind of her own, as you might be led to believe. And even though she's not as totally digital as New Line is implying, there is a certain Max Headroom-ness to her; she's too perfect-looking.
    There are two ways you can look at this: Either her plasticity makes the film unbelievable, or Niccol's satire is subtler than it first appears - he's saying that the audience is complicit in the fraud, that even though we say we want realism, what we really want is something better.
    Or maybe not. The movie's awfully heavy-handed in other areas. Still, I'm inclined to give it credit for making this a legitimate question.
    Okay, that's Simone as social commentary. How is it as a comedy?
    Pretty good, if you ask me. Much of the humor is broad and absurd, with occasional bits of black comedy thrown in. It does a good job at having things spiral out of control in the last act, constantly one-upping itself in terms of ridiculousness. The main cast - Pacino, Catherine Keener, Evan Rachel Wood - acquits themselves well. Rachel Roberts, in the Matt Frewer role, hits the fine line between stiff enough for the audience to recognize the artifice but not so much so that the characters look like idiots.
    The last few scenes are a bit of a mess, making me wonder if there weren't some reshoots involved. There's some too-easy file recovery, and a coda that, while it's got a few good jokes, subverts the moral of the film (but not cleverly).
    Overall, I'd been worried by the "dumping ground" release date, awful trailer, and bad buzz, but Niccol comes through with a pretty good movie.
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    Simone is a funny satire. I was laughing at the twists and turns of the development of the creation and use of Simone (a CGI actress) in films by a director named Viktor Taransky.

    The audience I was with got most the subtle jokes and commentary on the whole relationship between the public and celebrities that exists as a social phenomena of the 20th century and beyond.

    I think Niccol was poking fun at how the adoring public not only becomes enthralled with celebrities, but is also awfully forgiving of celebrities' shortcomings and un-PC pronouncements as a sign of "individuality".

    In essence, a good movie that offers something to chew on after you've seen it.

    I give it 3 stars or a grade of B.
  4. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

    May 11, 2001
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    I've been anticipating S1M0NE for over a year now, and when I finally saw it opening night I was quite impressed!
    While I do think the film brought up topics and questions that it could not quite answer, but as it is, it was a thought provoking and at times very funny satire. Niccol's films about technology and personality are always intruiging, and this film is right up their with his previous works in terms of quality.
    A much younger and healthier looking Al Pacino is great (as always), and functions as a slightly more cynical Christof from The Truman Show. Pacino has a wry comic timing and at the same time he is able evoke pity and desperation during the final portions of the film. Keener is good too, and makes the most of her underwritten role with her charm and smile. Look for a great cameo from Elias Koteas near the beginning as well.
    Rachel Roberts vital performance as Simone was perfect and very convincing. In order for the premise and story of S1M0NE to work the star needs to be convincing, and I found myself in awe of her beauty and kindness. So much so, that I definitely believed she could have achieved the success that she did.
    I think critics are being a little hard on the film, asking for it to do too much. S1M0NE is both funny and insightful, and when the closing credits rolled I left with smile as I questioned the prospects of an all digital actor. That is all the film set out to do, and in those respects it succeeded, and I highly recommend it!

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