Took my Mom with me to the Amazon screening of “Wonder Wheel” on Wednesday night at the Santikos Bijou Theater. It was an unusual screening experience in that there were very few people in attendance and neither any official reviewing press nor any studio representative(s) were present. The movie itself was a bit of a disappointment.
The wonder wheel is the Ferris wheel at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. “Wonder Wheel” the movie is set in 1950s Coney Island and is about a dysfunctional (to say the least) family that lives above the amusement park. It is obvious that director, Woody Allen, intentionally used the imagery of the Wonder Wheel because the story goes completely full circle and leaves you wondering. Not much changes in the lives of the characters from the beginning to the end.
If you are from Brooklyn or have roots from there you may want to see the movie for the nostalgic memories that either you, your parents, and/or your grandparents shared from the early 50s. It should be noted that what the movie lacks in storyline, it makes up for with the brilliant performances of the actors, who are in roles like you’ve never seen them before. Kate Winslet is superb in her role as a frustrated Brooklyn housewife. If you didn’t know it, you would really believe she is from Brooklyn. Jim Belushi gives an intense demonstration of his acting skills as a man struggling with alcholism. Justin Timberlake also rocks the Brooklyn accent. JT also looks cute in the one-piece lifeguard suit!
My mom, a Brooklyn native, was impressed by the authenticity of the music, costumes, props, locales, cars and the all-around atmosphere of the Coney Island boardwalk and amusement park. We both agreed that the movie didn’t necessarily leave the audience hanging, it was just a metaphor for life. The lesson being relayed is that life is like a Ferris wheel ride; it continuously turns and if we don’t get off, we wind up right back at the beginning.
As we exited the theater, one of the patrons yelled out loudly, “I’m upset there is no studio rep here is because I can’t tell them that that movie sucked.” I wouldn’t go that far as to say it “sucked,” but I would recommend waiting until it’s out on video. Perhaps Amazon isn’t quite ready for the big screen? – BMT