The Good Heart (Kári, 2009)
One of my favorite films from 2003 was a small Icelandic film, Noi the Albino. So when the director was rumored to be getting involved with bigger named actors (and have a bigger budget), I was intrigued. As it turns out, either Noi was an aberration, or Kári caved under the pressure of Hollywood. What starts as a somewhat poetic and often hilarious mentor/mentee story ends up being a film littered with clichés and possibly one of the hokiest and most sentimental endings I’ve ever seen.
Strange enough, though, some of the film’s clichés hit the right chord with me. The grouchy old mentor taking in the timid young mentee leading to both starting to take on each other’s personas to become more well-rounded individuals is admittedly sappy. But Brian Cox and Paul Dano (and probably the dark and drab bar setting) help this to be a more subtle and realistic output. They both grow slowly through many events and people, and they are a great pair. I was ready to call this a guilty pleasure until the end, which was so obvious that I didn’t think there was any way it would actually go in the direction it did. And it was unforgiveable. 6.5/10