Adapted from Brian Selznick, The museum of wonders is a delicate ode to the childhood in which Todd Haynes mania formal proposals and emotions.
Ben lives in the 70s, Rose in the years 20. They are deaf but each of them embarking on a quest similar to find an unknown parent, or disappeared. The Museum of Wonders is a film that is surprising in many ways. First, there’s this party-made a formal imposing : return to the black-and-white for the treatment of 20 years, redoing altogether to the silent film. This intention will contaminate the other axis storyline in the 70’s when Ben goes to his tower to become deaf. The music therefore becomes an essential element in the narration of the film, to exacerbate the emotions of the two children face the world that they are discovering. The proposal is strong, and complicated to maintain, when it is seen that the excess of music can totally make outwit a film in normal times.But Todd Haynes goes there, franco. The viewer is understandably shaken, torn between the multiple leaps in time, the alternating color/black and white and then the mass of music to him arriving in bursts. And the magic operates when, freed of dialogue, the film relies on the strength of the image – and, by extension, that of the 7th Art in its purest form, before speaking – to understand the current events. It all comes back to the cinema another time, but with a taste of today behind. The film timeless.
Then, there is the link between these two parallel stories which remains unclear. Are they really related ? Is this just a game of mirrors ? The answer will come much later. This mystery, Todd Haynes maintains, while venturing into an exploration of the feelings related to childhood. This age of discovery, of curiosity, of the carefree, fun. Undeniably, a wonderful niche in The Museum Of Wonders. Outside of all the qualities of the film, the last 30 minutes are a break through a cap to the whole by making us penetrate in the Queens Museum to see the magnificent miniature model of New York. The apotheosis emotional coincides with the arrival of the answers to our questions. And the title – Wonderstruck – it all makes sense (what a big mistake to rename The Museum of Wonders in France) it All fits together, reveals himself, works. How delicate and precise that has Haynes to build his film is remarkable. In spite of the small worry of pace, the path is simple, but the emotions are strong.
Review published on may 19, 2017 at the screening at the Cannes film Festival
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• Achievement : Todd Haynes
• Screenplay : Todd Haynes post-Brian Selznick
• Main actors : Julianne Moore, Oakes Fegley, Millicent Simmonds
• Release Date : 15 November 2017
• Duration : 1h57min