★ ★ ★ - Okay
Perhaps Danny Boyle is a poor choice to bring Richard Curtis' whimsy to the screen. His dramatic skills enhance the usual rom/com breaks in reality that are so easily swept aside when the humor and heart are working. There's so much unexplored territory, like a true modern reaction to Beatles songs we know as classics - "She was just 17/You know what I mean" wouldn't go over so well today - and the jealousy of Ed Sheeran (playing himself) being pushed aside for this new phenom. Kate McKinnon's sketch comedy performance only gets broader and more embarrassing as the film goes on.
And yet... Boyle is such a good director that it still works. The editing and cinematography are occasionally the best I've seen this year, many performances are really strong, there are a couple of scenes where Boyle perfectly captures that first listen to a tune you know will be seen as a classic, and there's a brief detour involving John Lennon that's so perfectly handled emotionally it single-handedly justifies the film's existence. Ad Astra
I want to talk about 3 scenes, because the rest of the film is a really simplistic oft-told tale of fathers and sons stretched real thin and containing some really obvious visual metaphors. The 3 scenes are fascinating because it hints that James Gray is wasting his talent. They are a moon buggy chase out of Mad Max, a scene of horror involving a killer baboon
and a fight between Pitt and the crew late in the film. These scenes are expertly shot, using the low gravity of space with great imagination, and clearly occurred when philip918 wasn't looking.
I think most people would say these scenes are out of place with the rest of the film, but for me they hint at the film I wish I was watching, and I'm just really impressed by how well-executed they are.