harold strong’s review published on Letterboxd:
it'll be our secret movie, just yours and mine
there were moments where it felt like the film was tearing through the screen and actively ripping my heart in half. the mere thought of certain passages (for something made up of front to back banger sequences) makes me tear up. a film of endless grace notes, indulgences that seek to redistribute guilt and pain into a bittersweet hope, contained within spaces of surreal artifice. feels like these characters exist solely in their entrances and exits of the frame and that idea is both affirming and heartbreaking. Spielberg exercises the ultimate form of control in this film over how he captures his memories but perhaps that culpability in the repeated deterioration of his artificial family wracks him with the most intense melancholy. he essentially recrafts the finale of AI but applies it to his adolescence- the entire fabric of his spiritual being. the image as a palpable truth in displaying the frailty of humanity; the pillars that hold the most capital in our lives inevitably crumble under that weight. a collection of images has the power to enlighten, to destroy, to connect, and to transcend through realms entire. this film operates in worlds made wholly anew; even if the core is made up of echoes. few movies give me the itch to instigate personal revolution in how I understand my family and childhood but this is one of them. spent two and half hours reminiscing just as much as Spielberg does.