Allen Ginsberg remains one of the Beat Generation’s most renowned poets. His poetry, which I will admit to having found a tad confusing and ambiguous, is also full of double meanings and poignancy. Ginsberg saw the world from an entirely unique and different perspective, falling victim to heartbreak after heartbreak, finding poetry to be his only solace. By using writing as an outlet, this infamous poet transcribed his very being, turning it into generation-defining words of passion.
When actors branch out and take risks, I find myself appreciating them all the more. Acting is a very tactful craft; many actors get type-casted, due either to their inability or refusal to take on roles that might produce controversy or allow them to be seen in a different light. James Franco, having starred in other indie films such as Milk and the upcoming 127 Hours, finds himself in the part of a misunderstood, gay, young poet. Guess what? He does a superlative job. This should come as no surprise, considering what a well-rounded actor Franco has become over the years. If he continues on this route, he might just end up being one of the all-time greats.
Howl, besides being a rather short film, is a lovely piece of art. The movie attains a poetic and life affirming feel to it, beginning and ending in such a way that you’re left wanting more. Not only are we witness to basic live-action, but entire sequences are animated, with short cartoons reflecting the ethos behind Ginsberg’s voracious mind. Sometimes these sequences appear far too often or are too lengthy, but it’s not difficult to solider on thru. Furthermore, the movie is directed with a fragmented sort of approach, as there are flash-forwards, flash-backwards, and for the most part, there is hardly a sense of time being linear.
One of Howl‘s special characteristics lies in how writers should be able to relate to much of what is said in regards to literature. There is much discussion on writing, poetry, and it’s overall meaning and significance. For anyone who has ever attempted to write some sort of creative piece, the movie is in that sense, easy to relate to. The stream of consciousness that lies within Howl operates like the mind of someone in constant thought. Sometimes the things you say do not make much sense, but that is okay, they don’t always have to.
I found Howl to be quite passionate in its undertaking of Allen Ginsberg, his life, and poetry. Leaving the theater, I found myself experiencing a profound sense of self-realization as I endured one of those moments in which Life and everything that entails, really mattered. Movies that make you appreciate living can be sometimes difficult to find, but upon viewing such a film, you’re glad you did.