Man on the Moon

Posted: December 4, 2017 in Movies
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I first read about Man on the Moon, the Andy Kaufman biopic starring Jim Carrey, back in 1999 in a preview in Empire Magazine. I was looking forward to it. The word was the film was incredible and it boasted, at the time, a career best performance from star Jim Carrey. A performence that would show critics and audiences the comic actor was capable of much more than Ace Ventura, The Mask or Dumb and Dumber. All fine films but Carrey was known more and more for slapstick humour.

Man on the Moon is an excellent movie and Carrey is fantastic. Truth be told I only knew of Andy Kaufman by name and due to him being the subject of the movie. The film, based on my limited knowledge, depicts a facinating story of a complicated comic. Who, despite many setbacks would go on to stay true to what he considered funny and in doing so would become a comic legend.

When it comes down to taste it depends on the viewer what they consider funny. Kaufman’s humour had that effect on people. They either got it or they didn’t and director Milos Forman and the films writers don’t shy away from painting a balanced look at Andy Kaufman. For example, one could argue Kaufman went too far in his efforts to create comedy and put on a show while some may say he was a trial blazer. What is clear, at least from the movie, is that he was a man with morales despite seeming to not care who he offended. One scene in which he flat out refuses to make light of drugs screams volumes about the man’s character and integrity. On the flipside it’s hard to see his wrsteling matches with women going down well in 2017 on principle in todays climate on gender equality.

Carrey is brilliant in the role. I can remember at the time the film was out it had done one of it’s jobs, besides presenting a excellent character study, of establishing Carrey as legit dramatic actor. The imapct of the film resonating throughout his career and the roles he would go on to take. Danny DeVito, Courtney Love and Paul Giamatti each give very strong support as Kaufman’s inner circle. Scattered throughout the film is a whole host of cameos and spot the star which was fun seeing almost twenty years on from the film’s release.

I loved this movie. Sometimes a film stays with you even though you never saw it. I never forgot about Man on the Moon and that desire to watch it. Now I have and it’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Forman’s direction is wonderful and the film, to me at least, seemed to be fair to Kaufman and his legacy. Painting a complete picture without manipulating the viewer to feel one way or the other. Instead just presenting pieces of one man’s life and allowing the audience to form an opinion on what they are shown.

A wonderful and more importantly, an objective snap shot into what I can only imagine must have been a complicated and exciting life.



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