Russian Movie Review: Oblamov


Other reviews may do the film more justice than I will. I am sorry, the movie was boring, and so was the story behind the movie.

Having said that, I LOVED the movie. It did a great job of contrasting the Slavic culture with the German culture. Yes, these depictions were stereotypical, but they were well done. They were not prejudicial, just stereotypical.

The story is a very sad love story, and the movie did the story line justice.

The story is about best friends (Russian Style). Oblamov grows up with Stoltz. And it is Stoltz who introduces Oblamov to the beautiful Olga. And Stoltz encourages Olga to pamper Oblamov. The result is Olga and Oblamov fall in love.

There is good tension between the three friends. But, it is in a friendly way.

We are also shown Oblamov as the overbearing, yet loving, master of Zakhar.

We are also introduced to Oblamov’s stoic friend Alexeyev. And for the life of me, I think the author could have done a better job using this friend as a ‘foil.’ Alexeyev provides little to the actual plot, or even to his own character. He seems to just be there so Oblamov has someone to talk to. I think a narrator, or a soliloquy would have worked better. Alexeyev’s acting was good, rather the character seemed to be little more than a wooden plot tool.

But, the character of Alexeyev was not as bad of a plot tool as the flashbacks were. The flashbacks were some of the boring content of the movie. Almost every flashback was too long. And only a couple of the flashbacks seemed to give any value to the plot. Even worse, the flashbacks did not explain ‘why’ the principle characters had become the men that they were in the movie.

And even worse than just being bad flashbacks, the flashbacks included GHOST images of the main characters standing and watching themselves in several scenes. They may have used different actors, but several (too many) scenes depicted a character looking just like one of the two main protagonists in the same scene as the main protagonists.

The worst of the scenes has another little boy watching the little Oblamov with Oblamov’s mother. The ghost boy just stands there. And had they not panned back to him, you might think he was just a servant boy. But, the long shot showed him dressed just like Oblamov’s character in the scene.

OK, the story was slow over all, and they had those strange flashbacks and some over use of too similar actors.

But, the story was an enchanting look at how Slavic men and women react in a love situation.

Other reviewers may point out that the story does a great job describing depression. OK, it does that as well.

But, the movie wonderfully describes the Slavic love story. Women are much more active in the early stages than their western counterparts. And men are sometimes much slower than their western counterparts.

AND, the movie gives us these descriptions as it entertains us. It does not lecture us.

And the movie wonderfully presented how the Slavic culture deals with the classic love triangle. Friendships are kept. And friends are supported in their choices of love.

OK, you have got to watch the movie, or read the book. I won’t give you a spoiler. Except to tell you it is a bitter-sweet ending.


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