A lot has changed from 1951 to 2001, the rise of TV, the fall of communism, the expansion of civil rights and as such it is easy to think of the early post-war years as another country. But despite its controversies, there are those who see the past as a much more wholesome time. After riding the decade with hit-making comedic talent and trademark rubbery face, Jim Carrey broke his comedic type to tell a story about the romance of a much simpler time, a time you got dressed up to go to the movies, a time about The Majestic.
When young and promising screenwriter, Peter Appleton is blacklisted for being a suspected communist, costing him his job, his girlfriend, everything he held dear. He gets involved in a drunken car accident, that also costs him his memory. Appleton ends up in the small town of Lawson where he’s mistaken for Luke Keller who was missing, presumed dead in WW2. Now he teams up with his “dad” Stan to get the town’s movie theatre, The Majestic, into perfect working condition, but can he keep up the pretence with the internal and external forces at play?
The Majestic is a testament to the times 50 years ago, and a such to a much simpler, but foreign time, Kudos should be given to the way this era is realised, from the costumes, sets and overall vibe all feel like they have been retrieved from the late ‘40s. Even entirely made-up elements like its film within a film “Sand Pirates of the Sahara” is well produced and feels extremely authentic, it’s no Mant from Matinee, but you can trace back elements to the films Sand Pirates takes inspiration from with ease.
Props should go to Jim Carrey, who doesn’t display any of his trademark zany comedic stunts for a more subdued, more down to earth portrayal. It’s to his and the film’s credit that it remains so utterly watchable. Martin Landau is also praiseworthy, most notably his scene where he gives an impassioned speech about the respectability of movies, versus staying in at home watching T.V. While it framed in the context of the change of preferences between the early 50s and before, it still bears resemblance to some arguments made today about the best ways to enjoy media.
The Majestic is the nostalgic last cry of a much simpler time, a time that may not have been 100% represented of what life was like, but the general hazy memory of the feeling of remembrance, With a strong performance from Jim Carrey and co., and a chocolate-box sweet inoffensive story about love, home and identity, there’s certainly a lot of worse ways to spend $5 for admission sorry, $13 for admission.
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