Robert Eggers said movies are back, baby!
This is good news, not only because my spouse opened a movie theater in 2019, but also because I am one of those curmudgeonly buzzkills who thinks that there are too many reboots and adaptations in television and film (including the good ones). I think that Martin Scorsese is right, and I’ll do him one better by saying, earnestly, that I think Disney should be either nationalized or dissolved. But every once in a while, I give myself a break from my cinema cynicism and go out to a movie palace in a gamble for my soul. I am happy to report that betting on The Lighthouse was a sound choice, producing an excellent return on emotional and spiritual investment that I wish, now, to share with you.
Here are ten reasons you should go to see The Lighthouse.
1. Bird actors.
The very first thing you should do before even purchasing tickets to see The Lighthouse, is read this interview in Jezebel with the film’s seagull trainer. It features such information as: “And we know that seagulls are very sensitive animals. If something worries them even slightly, they regurgitate all the food out. You always have to be very careful with them, and to be very gentle and really take your time and make sure there is no stress and make sure they are always happy, or all the work you are doing will go out the window. They are very advanced and tricky birds to train.” Who CAN’T relate? Also important: “Even when we are filming we always have to make sure [the Tramp] can see his girlfriend. He will not do anything if he can’t see his girlfriend.”
2. Willem Dafoe.
That’s it, that’s the number two item on this list.
But because that just isn’t enough Dafoe, here you dagoe:
3. You liked Billy Budd but wanted the messianic allegory to be pagan instead.
What if Herman Melville was straight? We’ve been asking this question for centuries, starting with Herman Melville himself. But have we bothered to ask “What if Herman Melville was a gay witch?” Not until now.
4. You liked The Shape of Water but wanted it to be both 100% more sexual and 200% more uncomfortable.
Don’t you love practical effects?
5. You liked all the grifter characters in Mad Men best.
The mania. The ego. The drinking problems. The territorial pissing contests, figurative and literal.
6. You like Kate Beaton’s comic strips of her dad the best.
The movie, set in Maine, was shot in Nova Scotia!! I wish there were more than two whole humans in this movie so that we could hope for a Kate Beaton’s Dad cameo, but I will not give you false hope.
7. Is there penis?
8. Your vibe is arty-farty shitpost but your look is glorious, lustrous, 35mm black and white film.
Not only did Robert Eggers and his crew shoot on black and white 35mm (a rarity these days), they also used film lenses from the 1910s and 1930s, with special rain filters that were constantly breaking in the horrible weather. The movie feels weird as hell, but it looks absolutely incredible on the big screen, and certainly nothing like most movies that come out in the 21st century! Don’t wait for it to stream, because who knows if it ever even will??
9. You’re ready to be begrudgingly convinced that Robert Pattinson is actually a compelling actor, not because you hold a grudge against him for Twilight, which you could not care less about other than being introduced to the Concept of Kristen Stewart, but because you still think he did not deserve FKA Twigs, and frankly, how dare he…
10. Fart jokes are good, actually.
Lowest form of humor, my rear end! Let’s put the “art” back in “fart!” I mean, George Carlin did it! Plus, it’s historically accurate (maybe)?
“People farted in the 19th century,” Robert Eggers, the director behind The Lighthouse, [told] SYFY WIRE. “I’m sure of it.”
Upon serious reflection, this gloomy, silly, and completely engrossing movie has a lot to say about human beings in isolation, as well as the ruinous traps set by toxic masculinity, unpaid internships, and the ocean. But even if you have no patience for modern myth-making in the era of late capitalism, The Lighthouse has something to offer even the most discerning eproctophiliac.