There's a concept I sometimes use when, you know, I'm talking to myself, that I'm going to call the "ring of perfection." It's a feeling I get (and I'm going to arrogantly assume others get too) when a movie is perfectly complete. That is to say, it perfectly achieves what it set out to do, whether that was something simple or something complex, leaving nothing wanting. I'm calling it a ring because when a movie gets this right, it does almost feel like something is ringing somewhere in my gut.
Here are a few movies that, in my view, achieve the ring of perfection:
3) Two Lovers
4) Talk to Her
5) Harold and Maude
6) Brief Encounter
7) 500 Days of Summer
8) The Savages
There are surely others, so if you have any in mind, leave a comment saying what they are so we can all appreciate the ring of perfection.
I guess it's a little weird that I described this thing before talking about Rabbit Hole, because Rabbit Hole is a movie that does not achieve the ring of perfection. It's very good; indeed, there is nothing wrong with it. Nicole Kidman gives a really brilliant performance as a mother who has lost her four-year-old son. She's typically herself, cold and restrained, but with occasional, well-timed emotional outbursts. Dianne Wiest is fantastic too as Nicole's caring but irritating mother, and this is probably the first movie ever in which I think Aaron Eckhart, who plays Nicole's husband and the father of the dead child, wasn't miscast. But no ring of perfection.
A few people have told me that, because of the subject matter, they found this movie hard to watch, but that doesn't tend to happen to me, maybe because the pain of movie characters always seems so fleeting, so utterly bearable, compared with any of my own. And a few people have also told me that they had trouble understanding why Nicole's character attempts to stalk the teenager who was driving the car that killed her son, but that didn't bother me either, because people do bizarre and inexplicable things even when they're not grieving. No, nothing about this movie bothered me. It just didn't have the ring of perfection.
That's sort of what we're looking for in our closest relationships too, isn't it? With best friends and significant others? The ring of perfection.