Movie Review: Third Person Starring Liam Neeson

I am a sixth grade writing teacher, and I work a lot with my students on understanding perspective. We need to learn to understand how something may be seen through someone else’s eyes. We write in first-person telling our own stories, and we write in third-person telling stories through a narrator. We also read many stories with multiple perspectives. Understanding perspective is key in my sixth grade classroom.

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So when I saw the movie Third Person starring Liam Neeson was playing, I was instantly intrigued. The only thing I knew about the story before I walked into the movie theater was that this movie was in the style of Babylon and Crash. These are movies that have parallele stories running in various parts of the world, and that at some point the stories intersect and you understand all of the connections. I did see and enjoy the cinematography and the characters in the movie Babylon years ago, but I have never seen the movie Crash.Third Person is billed as a romantic-thriller, and at times it is that; however, it often seems to be more about loss: loss of self. The basic premise is that Liam Neeson’s character Michael, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, is holed up in a Paris hotel trying to finish his latest novel. We quickly learn that after receiving his Pulitzer the quality of his work has greatly diminished. There is now a lot riding for Micheal on the completion and publication of his current novel. As a writer, I quickly related to Micheal sitting and staring at his keyboard trying to find just the right words.The cast is phenomenal, but the story is very disjointed and bits and pieces of the connection are far and wide. Yes, these are three parallel stories so you do expect some separateness between the stories, but not so much within. The stories take place in Manhattan, Paris, and Rome  – so I did enjoy the scenery. All of the characters are dealing with some very tragic back-stories – but you don’t know what is real and what is fiction until the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit towards the end. But even at that, you are still left wondering. At least I was.There is a glimpse of what the story is about when Michael (Liam Neeson) and Anna (Olivia Wilde), his mistress, rendezvous in Paris.

Overall, I am glad I saw the movie. It left me thinking, and I always enjoy movies that linger on in my mind. The movie was much longer than it needed to be and really seemed to drag on in parts. While the characters were sympathetic, I didn’t know if I really should be cheering them on. At certain points I found them to be deplorable. You don’t really ever get to know the depth of who each character is, you only get snippets. I will say though that the acting itself was remarkable.This is a very talented cast! I do wish the ending came together sooner and provided a bit more.However, a movie night with Gavin followed by a wonderful dinner at Original Joe’s is always a treat! A glass of wine, a shared meal of antipasto, ravioli, and veal piccata – delicious! All-in-all it was a great night out on a beautiful summer evening strolling through downtown San Jose.

You can’t go wrong with Original Joe’s in downtown San Jose.

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