Children of Men is quite possibly one of the best films ever made. There is so much to admire about the film, and way too much to notice in just one watch. One of my absolute favorite things in any given movie is its ability to craft an entire world before your eyes, and no movie quite does this as well as Children of Men.
From the very start we're hearing news stories about the death of important figures, and seeing the state of things in the world around us. There's just so much to see. Alfonso Cuaron takes the audience on an amusement park ride by moving the camera into locations we wouldn't normally go just to get an extra glimpse at the state of the world. We never learn the story of a mother grieving over her dead son, nor do we dive deep into the British propaganda we see scattered in the streets, but that's the beauty of it, all of these things help to create a believable world that's never been done so effectively.
The story we actually follow about Theo Faron trying to transport the first pregnant girl in 18 years to the safety of the fabled Human Project is just as fantastic as the world it takes place in. Theo leaves his boring lifestyle to do something good for the world and as a consequence we see various figures in his life get ripped out of existence. The things we see people do for the hope of seeing just a single newborn person again is beautiful and heartbreaking. Best of all, the story is told through the actions the characters take, the movie includes almost no expositional dialogue and rather we learn about the situation through the character's actions, and through the details in the world around us.
I haven't even mentioned the massively impressive long shots.
In the end, Children of Men is challenged by very view in its world building abilities and uses its universe to deliver a story about the good of the entire human race's future. It's compelling, and it look and feels beautiful. 10/10.
Daydream Nation is a film that I very much want to like, in fact, I'd even call it a guilty pleasure. Believe me, something about this film is charming. It has a nice atmosphere, style, tone, etc. Daydream Nation knows what it's trying to be. That alone is what keeps me from giving the movie anything higher than a three. Aside from the charm (and a few subtleties involving a man in a white suit) the film didn't really offer much. One of the main ideas the movie offers is identity, we hear a lot of Kat Dennings' character talking about how no one knows the real her, however, us as the audience never even know. The most we learn about her is that she moved from the city and her mom died. Who is she other than that? What does she do besides have sex with guys and then confuse them? The same goes for the teacher character, Mr. Anderson. We don't learn anything about him until it's time for him to be irrelevant. Moving on to the screenplay... well, it certainly isn't good enough for the film to be carried by as much narration as it is. There are a few missed opportunities to incorporate some playful or charming banter between characters so that we could get to know them, but instead this is usually replaced by sex or awkward small talk. In the end the film does have a certain charm to it that leaves me feeling drawn to it, but I can still definitely recognize that it's not "technically a great film".