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MOVIE REVIEW:Mr. Jones
With a burst of pop-rock music and Richard Gere peddling happily away
on his bicycle down city streets, "Mr. Jones" deceptively begins as an
upbeat character study (in fact, "Flashdance…What a Feelin'" would
not be out of place here). Too bad then it's just a sunny preamble to
the meat and potatoes of the story: a bipolar depressive acts
recklessly until he is finally institutionalized. There's a lady
psychiatrist who is drawn to him (she's emotionally vulnerable due to a
recent break-up), a sassy bank teller who is introduced for no other
purpose than to give Richard a pretty date, a trip to a piano store
where Gere tickles the ivories…but what is "Mr. Jones" about, at its
core? Not even director Mike Figgis appears to know, following manic
Gere randomly around town and then to a friend's house for dinner
(where all the polite, happy children bow their heads in thankfulness).
This is not an exercise in catharsis; Figgis wants to earn points with
us through little acts of humility and false emotion–not hard-hitting
realism. He doesn't have anything to gain with this picture, not even
dramatically once Gere hits the wall and realizes he needs medical
help. No one speaks of the financial obligations the central character
is under by getting so much hands-on treatment and medication, while
father-of-seven Delroy Lindo thinks nothing of slipping Gere some
friendly cash (with all those hungry kids at home, one might think Gere
should at least refuse the money on principle and not out of pride).
Gere (also one of the producers) is up to the challenge of portraying a
manic-depressive with euphoric highs and suicidal lows, but the movie
tips its hand early on that wild, spontaneous behavior is healthy for
the soul. It helps get you jobs, it helps make you friends! It's the
same thinking which made "A Thousand Clowns" into an unbearable hit. **
I was watching this on video rather than in a theater, which was a real
blessing, as I was able to liberate myself from watching all of the 110
minutes of this excruciatingly BORING and DISTURBING movie. I knew I
probably wasn't going to like it within the first 5 minutes or so, but
I was going to give it a chance. I resisted the urge to simply turn it
off after about 15 minutes during which absolutely nothing happened,
but I forced myself give it another 15 minutes. That was real torture
and after that I was done. If you liked The Brave New World, you might
like this. If you ever fantasized about what it could feel like to have
a mental disorder, this is probably custom made for you. But if you
like romantic comedies and uplifting movies that make you feel good,
like I do, this isn't the movie for you. My recommendation is to avoid
watching this awful stuff in the first place.
Based on the first few minutes, I was expecting a comedy about a
happy-go-lucky construction worker who displays unconventional
behavior. Even after his first trip to a mental hospital, I figured
this would be a romantic comedy about a fun guy and the pretty female
psychiatrist who wants to prove he's wacko.
Actually, she is right about him. He is manic-depressive. The man who
only refers to himself as "Mr. Jones" doesn't believe he is
manic-depressive because he would have to get depressed. We haven't
seen it and surely it's not true, right? Wrong. This is a very troubled
man. He will need a lot of care, and we must be prepared to go through
some hard times with him.
Richard Gere did a very good job. Naturally, I liked him best when he
was fun. His character seems "normal" because this is a movie, but that
soon changes. Gere effectively shows a wide range of personality
styles, though this is nothing groundbreaking.
Delroy Lindo is a standout performer as Howard, the co-worker who
apparently saves Mr. Jones' life. Although they work together less than
a full day (I assume), they become close friends. Some of my favorite
scenes have Gere and Lindo together.
Baha Jackson does a good job as Howard's son.
Lauren Tom briefly appears as a bubbly, fast-talking, excited patient.
Too bubbly. She's going to have to crash–and she does.
Whether you like this movie or not depends on whether you want comedy
or drama. I found enough scenes enjoyable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Honestly, this is the best movie of all time that Richard Grere stars
in. Not because I dislike his acting or his movies – but purely because
he was spot-on perfect.
I cant imagine a single other actor who could have portrayed a Bi-polar
person perfectly. and he did – I have Bi-polar and I know from
experience how hard it can be, especially because it is truly like
being on drugs, like he said- "I need the highs" It was also amazing
that they added in the anger along with the depression – not all manic
stages are crazy, euphoric highs, sometimes they are also combined with
irrational anger, which was definitely portrayed well in Mr. Jones'
ping-pong match, and in the end, when he goes to visit his old
Yes, the romance was very unrealistic, but it added a chance for a
happy ending – Mr. Jones isn't by any means 'cured' but there is
someone who understands him and his disorder, someone who is willing to
help him in his highs and lows and knows how dangerous he can be.
I definitely give this movie a 10, I love it.
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