Maybe I need to watch it again. After all, it has ten Oscar nominations.

When Ma first came out on Netflix just before Christmas I watched it with my wife. I didn’t think the movie was worthy of a review here.

However, given the accolades it is now receiving, I thought perhaps I should give my reasons for not reviewing it. Which, I suppose, is a review of sorts.

I liked the film. I’m not sure my wife did. To me it didn’t seem all that accessible unless you are a film buff.

Actually, I remember at the time saying I thought Mank was a brilliant piece of filmmaking – but the story left me cold. I just couldn’t bring myself to care about any of the characters.

The movie is about the writing of Orson Welles film Citizen Kane, considered to be one of the best, if not the best, American film ever made. I have seen that movie both in theatres and on television. I understand why it was considered so groundbreaking. Though I can’t say that the characters in that one grabbed me either, except for the ending when the identity of Rosebud is revealed.

Mank felt to me like a remake of Citizen Kane. I haven’t watched the latter in a couple of decades (my copy is VHS, which gives you a clue how long I have had it) but it seems to me this new film is an attempt to recreate not just the feel of the older film but to build scenes upon it.

If you are a film buff who has seen the 1941 epic then that is a great thing. For the casual movie-goer though I think there are times that homage misses the mark for people not familiar with movie history.

Mank is a Hollywood insider’s film. maybe that is why it has received so many Oscar nominations. Was it the best picture of 2020? With the best actor and supporting actress? Not to mention all those other nominations. Admittedly, with the pandemic shutting movie theatres it was a year with fewer films released than usual. Not having paid much attention to films I don’t know what I would think was better – I haven’t even looked to see what other pictures have received nominations.

I won’t have time to re-watch Mank before the Oscar ceremony. But I might do so the next time I am quarantined, something that does seem inevitable at some point this year.

Have you seen it? What was your reaction?


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