Finally got a chance to see a press screening of November last night, it's an intriguing film on a number of levels including style, structure and most of all visually. November stars Courtney Cox, who gives an outstanding performance in this low-budget, digitally shot film despite her Must-See TV pedigree.
Since this is the biggest Hollywood star in a Sundance Film this year, a mention of how she gained indie-cred in this film (while Ashton Kutcher gained none) is in order. If you're a Hollywood star and you're hunting for indie cred you're going to have to take some risks. In Butterfly Effect, Kutcher gives a decent performance with little risk. In the one scene where he could have gained massive indie cred, a prison rape, he is let off the hook. Perhaps it was a good movie for his career in Hollywood as a leading man (think: Ned Beatty's most famous role, OK if that is too disturbing don't think Ned Betty), but not good his indie cred.
Contrast that with November, where the filmmaker has clearly uglied-up Cox as much as possible. She has no makeup in most scenes, showing human traits like eye winkles and chest freckles. Her wiry hair with grey streaks is in desperate need of a decent haircut — not to mention some serious conditioner and coloring. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, her knock-out figure is gone with the exception of perhaps one scene where she is in a tank top. Her clothes are so baggy and so K-Mart — check that so Walmart — that at times she looks almost too frumpy.
Bottom line: The Courtney Cox of Friends is nowhere to be found in this film, instead replaced by a down to earth, accessible 30-something actor.
Now, onto the film.
November is about a women who's boyfriend is shot in a bodega robbery when, against the boyfriend's wishes, they stop on the way home from date night to get her "something sweet."
However, the film is really about memory, specifically what we choose to remember, what we choose to forget, and most significantly the memories we create as a way of coping.
Beautifully shot on a digital camera, the film's look and feel changes colors as the directory takes through various scenes multiple times. Each times little things change: the dialogue switches from one person to the other; a salad goes from amazing to bland; $80 haircuts go from important to a waste of money. It is almost identical to the mental rehearsal we all go through when we are about to speak. I'm not the only person who does that, right?
All this time the scenes change from dark grey, to red to over-saturated, all the while intercut with sometimes imperceptible and organic visuals.
November is subtle, stylistic and 99% action free. In November you're taken on a journey of memory, and if you're patient, you will be rewarded with experiencing a film that is less about the story itself and more about how we experience and recall that story.