#REVIEW: “WONDER WHEEL”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Wonder Wheel showcases a whirlwind performance from Kate Winslet.
The Film tells the story of four characters whose lives intertwine at the Coney Island amusement park in the 1950s. Ginny (Kate Winslet) is a 40-year-old waitress of the Coney Island clam house whose dream of becoming an actress were taken from her. She believes her dream was tarnished due to a relationship she ruined in her past, which lead to her current mentally and physically abusive marriage with alcoholic Humpty (Jim Belushi). When she meets young lifeguard Mickey (Justin Timberlake) she sees the aspiring playwright as the saviour to her downtrodden life. But when Humpty’s runaway-from-gangsters daughter Carolina (Juno Temple) shows up, Mickey becomes taken with her. Therefore, jeopardizing Ginny’s hope of a future life with him.
The Ensemble Cast is enchanting to watch. Belushi encompasses the anger and depression that accompanies Humpty’s alcoholism. He switches fluidly between the caring father to the hateful alcoholic husband. Templeshines bright as the early 20s runaway wife who is learning for the first time what its like to make an honest living. When Temple isn’t speaking, she remains captivating for her reactions express all unsaid. Timberlake creates a humorous young lifeguard who is juggling two women. He also acts at the narrator and transitions between scenes and the broken fourth wall narration effortlessly. And Winslet is a force to be reckoned with as Ginny. Ginny is well-developed with in-depth backstory and slight mental instability. It’s a role that’s near impossible to pull off without making the character seem unrealistic. But Winslet does the impossible. She completely disappears into Ginny and creates a real woman who is strong, kind, damaged and spiteful. Winsletis a master of her craft and puts it on display in Wonder Wheel.
Woody Allen creates a story in one of the most beautiful places and he brings the beauty to the screen with his directing. He also creates captivating characters that are brought to life through his great ensemble cast. With Allen’s use of close-up shots and still camera he constructs a Film that let’s the actors shine in what ultimately is a character driven story. Yet by the middle of Wonder Wheel the script begins to repeat itself, becoming slightly redundant.
Overall, Wonder Wheel is not one of Allen’s best Films but it’s shot beautifully and features a tour-de-force performance from Winslet that alone is worth the ticket.
Mongrel Media release WONDER WHEELon Friday, December 8, 2017.