Movie: Into the Woods
What it’s up for: Supporting Actress, Costume Design, Production Design
Into the woods without delay! My first experience with this play was at a high school production and my first thought afterwards was “Awesome!” and my second thought was “Goodness, that was long”.
The film version of this Stephen Sondheim play is exactly that: a play on film. Usually, stage musicals are made more fluid and become structured more like a film and less like a play when they adapt to the screen. In this category, I would place the 2004 Phantom of the Opera, Sound of Music, 2012’s Les Mis, and even The King and I with Yul Brenner and Deborah Kerr. Honestly, MOST stage musicals made into films fall into this category. Into the Woods was different. In that regard, it can be tough to watch for people who are expecting a movie version of a play. However, it remains engaging and entertaining for those familiar with the play and those well prepared.
The basic premise is that there are several fairy tale characters living in the same land that find themselves thrown into different and intertwining dilemmas after venturing into the woods. The first half focuses on the characters accomplishing certain goals and the second half focuses on the consequences of their efforts.
It is long, because the play is long, but had a few things cut out. In Sondheim fashion, it is quite depressing. The production design is beyond fabulous. The sets are beautiful and react to the events happening in them in a way that accentuates the plot. It deviates from the brilliant production design of Interstellar in the way a painter deviates from a photographer – both are works of art but the intention is what makes them different. It was an almost tangible experience to be in the woods with these characters. Everything works so well with the cinematography and costuming as well that it is all one fluid piece of art. The costumes are big and intricate and frame each character’s background and personality well.
Last but not least, Meryl. Meryl Streep plays the Witch who connects all the characters together. Meryl is Meryl. I really don’t have a lot to expound on for her here. She’s had more powerful roles in the past for sure but she was great as the Witch.
I enjoyed the movie, even though I forgot about the depressing nature of the story. I’d definitely see it again, though. It has a way of getting into your head that keeps you thinking.
Supporting Actress: It’s kind of a weird category this year, so I honestly don’t know yet.
Production Design: Possible
Costume Design: Probable