This glam rock picture hops around chronologically, just as I'm Not There does, and though Brian Slade / Maxwell Demon (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Mandy's husband, is the film's principal shape-shifter the other characters also mutate as they tell their communal story. When it comes time to hear her side of the story, about 50 minutes into the movie, we meet Mandy who has retained precious little of the former glitzy diva that we've come to know. Her hair is dishevelled and she moves slowly, taking drags from a cigarette.
Because honestly darling, I haven't spoken with Mr. Slade in, what? Seven years at least. Wow. Yeah, at least.On the last line Todd Haynes cross-dissolves the image and we drift into Mandy's memories, the film restlessly seeking out visual wonders in the stimulating time period. But even before we've jumped backwards, Collette --a great storyteller of an actress-- has already teased out the past. The "darling" comes out both nostalgic and self mocking (or patronizing, perhaps?) and we know she's performing for the interviewer, remembering a younger version of herself .
No, right after everything crashed we split. Brian... he just became someone else but then again he always was.
Haynes weaves her narration in and over musical moments and between shimmering images of Brian Slade, Jack Fairy and Mandy colliding sexually and emotionally.
It was New Years Eve, 1969, the start of a new decade. The feeling in the air that anything was possible. See Jack Fairy had also come to London in the swinging '60s. And in crowded clubs or hotel bars, this shipwreck of the streets rehearsed his future glory. A cigarette tracing a ladder to the stars.Her narration ends there followed by Brian singing to her and a sex scene that beautifully captures the fluidity of these young musical creatures. Before Haynes leaves Mandy's story behind, he returns to her voice... in the past... only now it's overtly theatrical, less self aware, and more than a little childlike.
I needn't mention how essential dreaming is to the character of the rock star.
Jack was truly the first of his kind. A true original. Everybody stole from Jack. But from the moment Brian Slade stepped into our lives, nothing would ever be the same. It was his nature. So I married him.
Time. Places. People. They're all... speeding up. So to cope with this evolutionary paranoia, strange people are chosen... who through their art can move progress more quickly.Todd Haynes is one of those people that can move progress quickly through his art. Toni Collette is the strange person who was chosen for this great role.
[narrating again] It was the most stimulating and reflective period of our marriage.