Well, aside from it being a question I'm wondering my own self...
"When Will I Be Loved?" is a new independent film starring Neve Campbell as Vera, an indulgent young woman with wealthy parents (we're never really sure what her parents do exactly) who has newly moved into a spacious Manhattan loft even you would envy (courtesy mommy and daddy naturally). She has a lover/boyfriend named Ford, who looks really good and wishes he were wealthy and important (he thinks of himself as a music producer) but is mostly just "talk" trying to walk the walk (as he spends 75 percent of the film walking around town on his cell phone babbling about nothing).
I heard about this two weeks ago on IFC and I must admit I was intrigued, because they featured an interview with the director I found quite interesting and I also happened to read an article in a college geared newspaper. Then there was all this talk about pre-Oscar buzz, along with John Sayles' new one "Silver City", and you KNOW I had to check this out to validate my opinions on that rather enormous claim.
Needless to say...er...well - let me just let you in on a few facts you may not already know. The writer and director - a man by the name of James Toback (he also wrote "Harvard Man") - authored this script listening to and influenced by the same song over and over, ironically enough (or not ironically enough, considering he named his movie after the song) entitled "When Will I Be Loved." He also penned himself into his script as a Jewish American university teacher of African studies (I mean it doesn't get much odder than that) looking to hire Vera on as his teaching assistant. This script which was initially only 35 pages and had no ending. He presented his script to Neve who agreed to do the film and shed her no nudity clause along with it (yes, the first image of the film is her naked in the shower) because she believed in it, but only after she gave her own creative input in regards to finishing up the script.
Ok, all that being said, there never was an ending written to this movie. Nor was there a middle, and you know what, there was barely even a beginning. This film could easily, EASILY have been a fifteen minute short, with all the horrible improvisation that occurred and all the frayed ends never tied into the neat little package films generally wind down into. There was no character development, characters appeared and disappeared just as quickly (even the director's own character was in his film maybe...two or three scenes? great cameo by Mike Tyson as well), and as soon as you think - hmm, this is finally getting interesting after all the superfluous BS to kick it off.... Boom, it's over. 85 minutes of your life spent with slim to nil satisfaction.
That's not to say Neve herself does not glow onscreen, because she is a radiant, beautiful actress and this role I would say suits her, but not nearly enough was done with it to make me feel like her acting was justified. I can't really say too much without giving the whole thing away because there is so little to it, but I offer encouragement to the budding screenwriter: you don't really need much to make a movie. You don't need a hugely complex storyline, you don't need deep characters, you don't even have to finish all the subplots you start. Just put in at least one significant event that a reader will remember (preferably somewhere near the end for maximum impact) and someone is bound to come knocking at your door, as they did Mr. Toback's.
It has nice imagery and settings. I can't think of a more ideal place to shoot than in the springtime in New York City (if you can manage it), but nice locals, a few racy moments and one big event at the end do not a complete film make.
Oscar, shmahsker... Sorry, but this film won't be THAT loved.