The Fall

What a quirky little treat! I watched this 2008 Netflix DVD with some neighbors and we found it laugh-out-loud funny, particularly in the early scenes. My thanks to the neighbor who brought it to the party!

This fanciful piece is set in a 1920s Los Angeles hospital, where a little girl with a badly broken arm is entertained by a grievously injured movie stuntman. She is mobile but still hospitalized because of the break (she wears one of those awkward casts that holds her arm out in a bent, horizontal position), so she wanders around the facility, meeting people, observing their activities and accumulating LOTS of questions. She has a vivid imagination.

The stuntman sees this, so he entertains her with a fantastical story about five mythical heroes. Day by day, she comes back to his bedside for more episodes; the plot is patently absurd, e.g., the villain's name is Governor Odious, but our little girl doesn't care. Along with a severe back injury, the stuntman is nursing a broken heart, but the little girl is oblivious to anything but the story.

Our two central characters are played by:
  • Catinca Untaru: This Romanian-born eleven year old has wanted to be an actress since she was four. In preparation, she began learning other languages and accents. She loved visiting foreign countries, as this movie was shot in twenty stunning locations around the world. This is her first film.
  • Lee Pace: A Juilliard-trained Oklahoman, this Emmy-nominated fellow was the heart-wrenchingly devoted piano accompanist to Amy Adams' nightclub singer in "Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day." In my opinion, Pace is a highly capable actor, "Infamous" and "The Good Shepherd" are among his many credits.
Although I feel this piece has some minor third-act weaknesses, it is still satisfying while at the same time being absurd and melodramatic, with eye-popping scenery and lavish costumes (the production design is awesome!). Some things about it made us think of "The Wizard of Oz," but then again... Check it out.