Steven Spielberg's movies are often described as hopeful, optimistic, sweet -- or, pejoratively, as sentimental, naive, and "feel-good."
In some sense, all those adjectives are right. Many of his movies are transcendently cheerful. Even the bleakest offer a shred of hope for humanity, or else lament when it falls short of its potential. And all share an underlying belief: that misunderstandings could be fixed, problems solved, and disasters averted if we could all just learn to get along.
And before we can get along, we must communicate.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the first major Spielberg film to put this theme in the foreground. But nearly all his movies touch on it: 1941 and the Indiana Jones films treat it lightheartedly, Close Encounters, E.T. and The Terminal with poignant warmth. In many of the historical dramas, we see both successful and failed attempts at communication depicted in an array of moods and modes. Ironic, hopeful, despairing -- even coolly journalistic.
- By Matt Zoller Seitz
- December 19, 2011 2:01 PM
- 6 Comments