Director: George Miller
Story By: George Miller & Augusta Gore (adapted from A.S. Byatt)
Cast: Idris Elba & Tilda Swinton
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There’s definitely beautiful elements to the story telling and visuals, but this could’ve been executed better in a different medium.
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Theme & Story: A-
Overall “Paper” Score: B
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General Public: Don’t Watch
Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Interesting Enough
Film Enthusiasts: Don’t Rush
Fantastical Romance Fans: Interesting Enough
Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Don’t Rush
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1. A narratologist encounters a Djinn/Genie who captivates her through stories of love, love lost, and love longing. This is Three Thousand Years of Longing.
Thematically, I walked away following a well executed message about the strength (or lack there of) between authentic love and passions vs forced/tricked/influenced love and passions.
The strength of the story for me is the subtle threading of habits associated with passions and love in the stories being told and then paralleled with Swinton’s character toward the Djinn. It definitely helped to bring cohesion and continuity between a story and theme that can come off a little complex and congested. 👍🏾
The congestion, and slightly rushed and confusing merging of these “2 worlds” (specifically in Act One) is an area of the film that could’ve used a little more time in the think tank, for me. Even though the film brings me into the story through a fairy tale-esque narration, it still moved a little wonky and random—especially with the Harry Potter-ish ghosts that only this woman seems to see out of the blue. 👀🤷🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️
2. Sheba was GORGEOUS! 🙌🏾🙌🏾
3. My goodness, the visual of Idris and Tilda wrapped in one another was stunning. 🙌🏾
4. So… where did them 2 old neighbors come from… I didn’t like that inclusion choice. So random. 🤨
5. So a pro about the pacing for me is that it’s 98 minutes of really beautiful and engaging story.. well, maybe about 85 minutes or so (once you make it through the first half of Act One). When the film begins to inch towards clarity, there’s some nice, fantastical flow with the theme. 👍🏾
My only issue with the pacing is that the film moved too fast in the first Act to develop Swinton’s character and make her make sense with everything that’s going on. Eventually I was able to suspend disbelief, but not without still feeling odd about what made her so special to embark on all of this. 🤷🏾♂️
6. UGH! The subtle parallels—the “swallowing of passion,” the tapping while reading/learning… 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
7. Speaking of #6, the film does a great job with tiny choices to thread all the stories together. 👍🏾👍🏾
8. I loved how Swinton’s character was always made to stand out in bold and bright colors. 😩🙌🏾🙌🏾
9. Yes Ibrahim and the body representation! 🙌🏾
10. I really enjoyed Elba in this role. Hell, I really enjoyed the chemistry between Swinton and Elba in general (again, once the film starts to pick up). 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
In terms of thematic followthrough, Elba’s character is well developed with not only referring to the purpose of the story through his own stories for Swinton’s character’s sake, but also when his character is reflecting on his own “longing.” 👍🏾👍🏾
Swinton’s character is where the film dropped the ball for me. Yes, as the film moves, you suspend a lot of disbelief for her character for the sake of the plot, but she’s SO RANDOMLY PRESENT. Even her initial wish and how she goes about asking for the wish is something I was never given any hints of being a need or priority of hers. And maybe the point of her telling her story was to indicate that behind all of her confidence and independence, she actually was “longing” as well, but it still just didn’t translate as clearly for me. 🤷🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️
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Overall #ThreeThousandYearsOfLonging gives Aladdin – meets The Green Knight – meets Once Upon A Time – meets The Preacher’s Wife – meets The Lost City – meets Plato’s The Republic
One thing I won’t take away from this film is the overall production design and art direction. There were so many beautiful scenes and ways that Swinton’s character was meant to whimsically stand out that was absolutely stunning.
However, similar to my sentiments about The Green Knight, there is something that is missed via film when tackling these very vintage-esque/classic fables and fairy tales, and I truly believe this would’ve been a BEAUTIFUL well thought out and unpacked series. The main character in both this film and the Green Knight seem to be developmentally lost and rushed in order to prioritize the visual experience, and I don’t like that. If you can’t bring clarity to the classic (because even classics, no matter how good, still have missteps that can be fixed &/or flushed out more) while also executing a stimulating visual, then take a pause and figure out the best medium to execute both well. It might even mean taking the Dune route, and doing different parts over some years.