“I often comment about how one movie almost feels like two, but I don’t think I’ve ever meant it as much as I do for The Congress. Hell, the fact that the first half is live action and the second is animated should be enough to back that up.
The first half: Playing a fictionalized but not exaggerated version of herself, actress Robin Wright is at a crossroads in her career and given an offer. She can have herself scanned, uploading her image, expression, emotions, etc into a computer. Her scanned image will then be placed in movies in her stead. She can stay home and take care of her ailing son, while the money comes in. Couple problems though. One, she’s never allowed to act again, and two, she has minimal control over how/where her scan is used.
I loved that half. Very unique and thought provoking premise. I spent the whole time contemplating what I would do in that situation. Do the positives outweigh the risks? Is it worth giving up a career and control for security and family? Supporting turns from Paul Giamatti and Harvey Keitel also helped sell it. Just when we were really starting to get somewhere…
…we jump 20 years into the future for the second half, which was one of the trippiest and most confusing hot messes I’ve seen in a while. So now, we’ve taken things further from just scanning actors and everyone (at least of a certain social status) can go into animated worlds, where they hallucinate away their existence. Robin goes to visit to renegotiate her contract, and then gets caught up in a revolution, only to wake up years later in this hallucinogenic state. She has to decide if she wants to stay here or return to reality.
I just had a lot of trouble getting my head around what was going on at all, after the first few introductory minutes. Part of it, I think, was my rational brain tryign to understand what was happening to her body in the real world during all this. But more of it was that it was just weird. I was bored and just wanted to get out of there, esp since this no longer felt like the movie I signed up for. The chick behind me must have been high or something because she found every single line hilarious and had a big loud laugh after each. Every. Single. Line. I will give it one credit, which is that the animation looked beautiful. Just because I didn’t know what was going on, doesn’t mean I couldn’t at least momentarily appreciate the asthetic value.
So the split makes it really tough to rate this. I’d wanna give the first half at least 3, likely 3.5, but the second half doesn’t even warrant a 2 from me. 1.5 max. Split the difference? Ugh math is hard. Let’s go shopping.
The Congress – \m/ \m/”