Last night my husband and I went out with some peeps to catch the latest Coen brothers movie, Hail, Caesar! It was everything I was hoping for, but I’ll readily admit my bias toward liking a Coen brothers movie. Their quirky, witty, intelligent films are a reliable source of entertainment. Just the other night my husband and I watched The Ladykillers on Netflix without knowing who wrote it, and by a third of the way into the movie I remarking to Chris, “Wow, this really is similar to a Coen brothers movie.” Low and behold, that was because it is. In spite of my readily admitted bias, I think many people will enjoy Hail, Caesar!
Hail Caesar! Follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer for Capital Pictures in the 1950s, who cleans up and solves problems for big names and stars in the industry. But when studio star Baird Whitlock disappears, Mannix has to deal with more than just the fix.
First of all, the cast of characters and the casting of the actors in this particular film is perfection. Everyone, from go-to-Coen-actress Frances McDormand, as film editor C. C. Calhoun, to Ralph Fiennes as director Laurence Laurentz, and a galore of other Hollywood A-listers make an appearance in this film. Josh Brolin carries the story as his character, Eddie Mannix, works his way through several messes all while dealing with twin reporters played by Tilda Swinton.
There was so much to love about this movie, but I’ll pick my five bright spots of the film.
- Alden Ehrenreich’s rope tricks. Ehrenreich plays Hobie Doyle a western movie star who gets set up to be in a drama movie which is outside of his comfort zone. His character is both a hoot and a hero. His boyish charms endear the character to the audience, even through some awkward scenes, and his smile is just so sweet. Plus, I loved all of his rope tricks!
- Tilda Swinton’s twins. Tilda Swinton plays twins who are journalists that compete with each other. It was amazing. I loved all of her outfits and admired Mannix’s ability to tell the two women apart. I sure couldn’t. ;)
- Scarlett Johansson’s accent. Scarlett plays DeeAnna Moran, a synchronized swimmer/actress from Brooklyn. DeeAnn’s sweet swimmer demeanor is in sharp contrast to her harsh accented rough around the edges character and the misnomer of sweetness is played to perfection by Scarlett.
- Channing Tatum’s dance number. Channing plays tap dancer/actor/singer Burt Gurney who is not as nice as his sweet smiling face would lead everyone to believe. I loved the dance number soooo much! It was such a great throw back to movies from the 50’s that I have enjoyed, and the homoerotic subtext was such a great little piece of commentary that it had me giggling in appreciation.
- Veronica Osorio’s pretty face. Veronic Osorio plays actress/dancer Carlotta Valdez and steals the show in her scenes with Alden Ehrenreich. Definitely an up and coming star to watch, I’ve already developed a girl crush on Veronica and plan to see what other things she has been in that I can track down.
More than just a fun film about the industry in the 50s, Hail, Caesar! is also a social commentary on Hollywood film making while using that same industry as its medium for the examination. This commentary is made in both subtle and not so subtle ways, with characters actions showing what the Coen brothers are remarking on and soliloquies by other characters expounding on those observations about Hollywood in a more forthright way. While full of a cast of bright characters, each plays a special part in showing what goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood centered around one man who tries to fix all the problems that other people make.