But Sandler’s gravitas is the film’s most unlikely surprise.
Famous for playing an overgrown child in his gravy train of dumb comedies, here Sandler doubles down on the dramatic heft he first showed in (2009), and pulls new depths of maturity out of the closet.
Doing group interviews with four actors in 40 minutes is like celebrity speed-dating. Stiller and Sandler, buddies ever since Stiller played a bit part in (1996), worked the room of journalists as a duo.
Everything about this small indie movie, which was shot on Super 16mm film, seems old-school—except that it was picked up by Netflix, which will release it later this year without theatrical distribution.Yesterday, I interviewed Sandler, Stiller, Hoffman, and British actress Emma Thompson who, in a Streep-like feat of accent and attitude, plays an aging American hippie, the patriarch’s fourth wife.But landing interviews in Cannes is a mixed blessing.But both characters seem equally crushed by a lack of self-esteem. Blah, blah, blah.’ I’m never 100 per cent at ease, through success, through failure.So in Cannes, where status is measured on a red-carpet scale like no other, I felt it was worth asking both of them if they are still haunted by the prospect of failure even now that they’re hugely successful. I’m never going to have a perfect day.” “I can’t identify with anything he said,” countered Stiller, who was only half-joking.Everyone I met seemed desperate to talk about anything but movies. At this year’s Cannes, several times a day, we’ve been stepping out of the brilliant sunshine of the French Riviera, then herded through airport-level security to congregate in a dark theatre and watch civilization go straight to hell.Having seen 12 of the 19 features in the main competition, plus a few outside of it, I’m now in the home stretch of the Cannes Film Festival, and a definite pathology has emerged: The most powerful movies all paint a severely grim picture of humanity, often featuring children in distress.He’s Harold Meyerowitz, a New York sculptor who’s a legend in his own mind, a lion in winter who’s convinced he’s never had the recognition he’s due.In a bravura performance, a white-bearded Dustin Hoffman portrays this ranting patriarch like Rain Man re-engineered as Lear.Sandler responded by talking about his mood swings after the film’s Cannes premiere the previous night. “I’m always thinking, what’s the next thing, what’s the next challenge?“It was as good as it gets showing a movie to an audience, one of the greatest nights I’ve ever had. That aside, there’s the reality of judgement in life from other human beings.” Film critics perhaps?