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Review: 'When We Leave' An "Issues" Drama With All The Subtlety Of A PSA

  • By Christopher Bell
  • |
  • January 26, 2011 7:30 AM
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There's no question that the Academy Awards have gotten much stronger in the past few years. Big awards have been handed out to pictures that went against the norm -- at least in comparison to what else was nominated -- and while this writer wasn't a huge fan of all of them, there's no question about them being much different than what the Academy used to go for ("Slumdog Millionaire" was, at least in its style -- we won't instigate an argument about the overly moving fairytale narrative right now). Unfortunately that kind of forward thinking mentality has yet to hit the Foreign Oscars category, and even though some really good flicks have made the short list (this year included), the powerful few tend to pick the most manipulative, Hollywood-ish picture possible. Sometimes they click and sometimes they don't. Many, including some of the staff, loved last year's sentimental "The Secret In Their Eyes," whereas most could barely stomach the previous winner "Departures." Then there are ones that don't make it at all, ones so manipulative and forced it almost seems like they were manufactured solely to demand recognition by the awards committee. Germany's "When We Leave" is that kind of movie, one that has its heart in the right place but is hampered by juvenile direction.

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