I’m back in The Atlantic today with a new piece about Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines and the pitfalls of autobiographical filmmaking. Here is an excerpt:
Cianfrance, in being so upfront about his personal connection to the material, has found an effective way to address the issues of working-class America. By making abundantly clear that the events in his films are at least in conceit based on his own life experiences, he has deflected the usual criticisms of films about poverty: that they are either patronizing towards their subjects or romanticizing their unadorned lives. Apatow, on the other hand, is now routinely criticized for solipsism, but perhaps the real problem is that he seems to be complaining about a life that looks pretty good to the rest of us.