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Customer Review

on May 19, 2005
.There is a very telling sequence at the very beginning of LSASOUE, that sets the tone for the film. Everything is in bright happy colors, everyone is smiling, a bunch of gophers pop up and then "The Happy Little Elf" comes out, but something is wrong. The elf is smiling of course, but it is a forced smile, the colors and the music are trying much too hard to be happy and it rings painfully false, it is clear this is not the film we were going to see. The narrator warns us that the story he is about to tell us is not happy, and that if we wanted to see a happy film we should go elsewhere, he hints that this is a depressing and sad story, that we might not want to hear it and we might want to go to the next theater over where, no doubt, there would be a happy, cheery film to see (The narrator could not have know The Ring Two was next door, but he can't be blamed for that). The fortunate aspect of this unfortunate tale is that, in the end, it was not a depressing film at all, nor was it realistic, it was as off the wall as the Happy Little Elf, just not as colorful. The world is never as happy or sad as we think, and neither is this film. Tim Burtons name has been mentioned as the style of the film, I am forced to disagree, Burtons latest films have been pretty bad, he could learn something from this. The story is of three orphaned children who's lives are a misery. This is because the adults in there world are either very cruel or very stupid. I am sure everyone will have an opinion about this, how children are mistreated and bounced in and out of foster homes and such based on the whim of people who are in charge based on the year they were born, not on there intellect or abilities to raise children. I do not have children myself so I am more likely to identify with them then with the adults. This film could have gotten very preachy but it did not, good for them. It could have been very silly, especially with Jim Carrey who could get out of hand if allowed to, he did not. I truly enjoyed this film because is was not what was promised. Instead of a depressing story of hapless orphans, is a story of survival and of finding happiness where one can. I like that. Also it's wonderful blending of retro and future is perfect. I love that stuff, Orlofs car has a tape player, a reel to reel, perfect. There is death and mayhem, murder and betrayal, but it is still OK for kids (older kids) and it was done correctly, this is not easy. The best thing about this film is the way the writers and cast tread so very carefully about the various landmines that could sabotage it, and there are so very many. Also we are privy, I think, to the next great actress if her generation, Emily Browning. She joins Dakota Fanning,Devigh Chase, and Emma Watson as the next wave of fine young stars who, I hope, we will see more of. Finally there is the wonderful narration by Jude Law. I think his best line is when we learn of the children's parents dying and how they were told about it, the narrator simply says that if you have never lost someone dear to you you wont understand, but that it's the worst feeling in the world and it never stops, this could have been so bad but it wasn't. Lemony Snicket's joins a group of films that make is feel better about our lives, not because we are more fortunate then the people on screen, but because we can persevere like the people on the screen
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