No Easy Answers

Binoche is caught between two lives in Good Night

by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

1000

poster-10001,000 Times Good Night
Dec. 4-7, RPL Film Theatre
3 out of 5

A common and absolutely true complaint among female actors of a certain age is the lack of interesting roles, especially in comparison to their male counterparts.

It seems like Juliette Binoche didn’t get the memo.

Binoche continues to kill it on a regular basis, with some of her most interesting performances (Certified Copy, Clouds of Sils Maria, Camille Claudel 1915) coming fairly recently. And I can’t be the only one who believes that the latest Godzilla would have been infinitely better with her and Bryan Cranston as the true leads, as opposed to the bored-looking Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

At least the ambitious, if flawed, drama 1,000 Times Good Night puts her to good use. Binoche is Rebecca, a skilled war photographer who gets too close to a suicide bombing and ends up wounded — a development that might be the final straw for her family. Her husband (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones) is considering divorce; he still loves Rebecca, but the stress of her job is too much for their daughters. Rebecca attempts to be more of a mother, but her passion for her job might be too strong for her to resist.

1,000 Times Good Night does a good job of dissecting the tension between family and career — the shortcomings of both are on display, and the protagonist is genuinely torn between the two options. Sure, Rebecca loves her daughters, but considering her job is changing the world for the better (the movie isn’t subtle about this point), how can she just give it up? The film doesn’t offer clear answers, because they don’t exist.

Good Night is handsomely shot in locations as diverse as Ireland, Kenya and Morocco (standing in for Afghanistan), and Rebecca’s conflict pictures look very real. On the downside, its portrayal of a photojournalist’s life is off-puttingly unrealistic: deadlines be damned, and budgets aren’t an issue.

A more realistic approach to Rebecca’s profession would’ve done wonders for 1,000 Times Good Night but it’s still a solid film that’s worth checking out.

2014-11-27