February 4 - 10, 2004 • Vol. 26 - No. 04

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Hide and Seek—Sometimes Simple Child’s Play
Can be a Very Scary Encounter
by The Blonde and The Maven
Film Columnists

From the very beginning of Hide and Seek, we get the impression that all is not well in the Calloway home. Allison Calloway, starring Amy Irving (Yentl and Crossing Delancey) commits suicide and is found by husband David, portrayed by Robert DeNiro (Analyze That and Meet the Fockers). If that's not bad enough, we see nine-year-old daughter Emily, played by Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire and Uptown Girls) standing in the doorway of the bathroom as dad finds mom in a most disturbing and bloody death scene. In the following scene, we find Emily staring out of a window, without emotion of any kind. At this moment, dad feels he needs to move to the country and make a fresh start for them both. He calls his daughter's therapist Katherine, played by Famke Janssen (X-Men and Don't Say a Word) and explains to her that he is taking Emily upstate to remove her from all the bad memories.

When the Calloways arrive at their new home, you just know things are not going to go well for them. The house is gothically huge, the area is surrounded by woods and most of the neighbors in the community are gone during the winter months. (You kind of expect Vincent Price to appear at any given moment!) Since this takes place in January, there are not many people around except for…YOU GOT IT, the strange neighbors that live behind them. (Aren't they always!) In addition, as strange as it seems, the sheriff seems to be around a lot. For the most part, however, Emily and her father are alone. Or are they?

The first night, Emily dumps her treasured doll for a new friend. She says his name is Charlie and when dad asks to meet him, she says he's sleeping. David is curious, but figures his daughter has made up a new friend to deal with her pain. As a psychologist himself, he understands his daughter's grieving, so he lets her have this imaginary friend. What could it hurt?
While in town the next day, he meets a young woman watching her niece. David decides the little girl would be a perfect friend for Emily. The two arrange a play-date for the children. This doesn't work out as he hopes, for Emily is quite unfriendly and disturbed. In fact, she is downright rude! (Obviously he hasn't met the little girls in Boca Raton!) Surprisingly, though, David and the aunt hit it off quite well, so they get together for dinner. Emily isn't very keen on this dinner date, either.

As things begin to go badly (we won't tell you what those things are), David starts to suspect that Charlie may not be so imaginary after all. Emily seems to be under Charlie's spell and David has doubts about everyone around him, including Emily. To say much more would give everything away. Go get under Charlie's spell for yourselves!

The Blonde: Hide and Seek was like What Lies Beneath meets The Omen meets Whatever Happened to Baby Jane meets Godsend meets The Shining meets The Ring meets Psycho and Fatal Attraction meets my ex-husband FOR REAL! This is SO not one of your typical Robert DeNiro films. Many of Robert's colors are displayed on this reel of film. It would be cliché to state that he was terrific, as he ALWAYS IS! I still want him to remove that mole on the side of his face, though! As far as Amy Irving goes, I don't want to be mean, for that as we all know is not my style…however, with all that money Steven Spielberg had to give to her in their divorce couldn't she come up with a better plastic surgeon? She looked terrible. I was happy she had such a small part. She depressed me. Speaking of depressing, I want to thank Johnny Carson for all the magical years of comedy he gave to all of us for so many years. No one COULD or EVER will replace him. Snuggling up with our families late at night has never been the same. You will always be the king of late night, Johnny!

The Maven: I like Amy Irving too much to reply to your last catty comment, even though it was true! It seems I'm going to see a horror/scary movie once a month according to all the previews lately. I thought Stephen King was going to retire. This film looked like a Stephen King movie. It felt like a Stephen King movie, but it didn't quite scare like a Stephen King movie.

The Blonde: I thought it scared pretty good! Dakota is such a precious child. That's why it disturbed me to see her as such a dark and troubled character. As far as I am concerned, no child actress has ever been as believable as she is. She is like watching “acting poetry.”

The Maven: I was intrigued throughout most of the film. Watching Robert DeNiro WILL do that to you. However, I felt he drifted through this role. I was waiting for his brilliance to shine, but it never did. Dakota is another story. She more than held her own with DeNiro. It was Dakota who sustained the eerie mood throughout the film.

The Blonde: I disagree about your DeNiro comment. What you felt was drifting through was how outstandingly subtle and real he is as a method actor. He makes you believe him and it APPEARS so easy that you took it as drifting.

The Maven: Apparently DeNiro was SO SUBTLE I totally missed his performance!

The Blonde: You must have PMS and so YOU DRIFTED!

The Maven: I don't know, maybe I'm just a little exhausted. I'm still recuperating from the Trump wedding I told YOU that I wasn't at!

The Blonde: Oh you little FITCH! Drifting along, the movie took such a long time to build, get to the point, or reveal anything that it worried me. I was so grateful that all of the suspense did add up in the end. Speaking of adding up, that reminds me of the lack of adding up in some of the Oscar nominations. Sideways? Give my blonde soul a break! There were so many wonderful movies this year, so how did they come up with this nothing movie! I just don't get it. There were MANY terrific films that were completely ignored that I am embarrassed. There must have been a ton of politics for some of these nominations to occur. I, for the sake of the Maven, am not going to go into REAL politics at this point. However, for the SAG awards, I voted Hotel Rwanda for Best Picture, Hilary Swank for Best Actress and Jamie Foxx for Best Actor. But a nomination for Sideways as Best picture of the Year? So, speaking of good gossip, Maven, do you think Bill Cosby did it?

The Maven: Who do you think I am, Marcia Clark? As for the Oscar nominations, it just goes to show that THEY haven't been reading OUR reviews. IT'S THEIR BAD!! Readers have no fear! We will go into the Oscars in much more detail in the very near future! Blonde, who did you want to win in the Iraq elections?

The Blonde: Bush or Condoleeza Rice!

The Maven: Good one! As far as this film is concerned, it did have a slow beginning, an intriguing middle and an anticipatory ending. All your mystery buttons WILL be pushed. I rate it a C+ for calculating the right amount of gotchas, but sorry, Stephen King did it better.

The Blonde: Hide and Seek is a truly suspenseful and interesting movie. It keeps your attention and has a wonderful unexpected twist in the end. If twisted, mind playing, scary, bloody-bloody, dark and disturbing tales are not your bag, miss this movie. If all of that is cool for you, then go! You'll love it!  I rate it a B for bloody. For snacks, I suggest you have a huge bucket of popcorn (throw some kernels at people all around you to scare them just for your own fun), some red vines and cherry soda to go with all of the blood! Enjoy and Goodnight Johnny!  

P.S. DON'T MISS, DON'T MISS, DON'T MISS HOTEL RWANDA: Not since Schindler's List or The Pianist has there been a more moving, chilling, revealing or important piece of film. We warn you, however, that it is hard to sit and watch. What is wrong with us as people today? How do we look the other way and keep a blind eye just because it isn't U.S.? Please RUN to see this worthy, brilliant, informative movie! This film IS what the OSCAR is meant for!

P.S. AGAIN: Million Dollar Baby, which we weren't excited to see, turned out to be a wonderful sleeper of a movie. This film about a female fighter who displayed courage, eye of the tiger determination, devotion and loyalty was beautifully directed by Clint Eastwood. Hilary Swank, who has already won an Oscar, will surely be a contender this year. This film is definitely well spent time at the theater.

By the By: Two movies to look for soon are The Upside of Anger with Kevin Costner (and boy does he need a good film) and also The Weatherman with the nutty Nicholas Cage and Michael Caine. Both look terrific!

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