1 February 2001 | ryates
Subtlety and sincerity and a great sense of time and place
Rarely does a film capture with any kind of authenticity the subtleties of the qualities of a particular time and place. When it does so it is something that can be appreciated not for standing out from the story but for becoming integral to the fabric of the narrative. The "Adventures of Sebastian Cole" achieves this rare unity of time, place, character and story and it does so in the most unassuming way. The atmosphere of Sebastian's world is undeniably one of normalcy and yet it is also undeniably beautiful and rich with possibilities for anything. In this world even the smallest of pleasures, the smallest of adventures takes on a sublime quality and seems ready to infect the future of the character with an understanding and appreciation of his youth. We can appreciate everything about this story for being small and unassuming and yet alive. Sebastian's confusion and "posing" seem somehow sincere and he remains likeable as the protagonist. As the story unfolds, watching Sebastian Cole lead his life of adventure, no one could possibly feel unable to identify. There is something very genuine in the story and lives of the characters. At the same time there is a deep sense of loss, of delusion, of dislocation. There is something intangible about this film, something that goes beyond story and plot. The characters are both likeable and despicable. The acting is almost flawless and a pleasure to watch, Clark Gregg is never over the top in his role as Hank/Henrietta. There is very little moralizing, very little hitting over the head with a message. The story is presented as a slice of life and we are allowed to fill in the blanks and make judgments for ourselves. It is, overall, a film that reminds you a life is always a complicated, disappointing and wonderful thing and always what you make it.