Good Machine | Release Date: December 15, 2006
8.1
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Universal acclaim based on 21 Ratings
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8
RichP.Jan 2, 2007
I could easily have slipped out of the movie within the first 20 minutes and missed a very thought provoking and emotionally rendering film. The slow start was the means to obtain an initial reading of the Hanna's character and my I could easily have slipped out of the movie within the first 20 minutes and missed a very thought provoking and emotionally rendering film. The slow start was the means to obtain an initial reading of the Hanna's character and my reading was that I did not like to be around her. Tim Robbins character on the other hand starts out as glib and carefree as his bed confinement would allow him and from this vantage point you see the two characters wind around each other's emotional weaknesses in an unwanted type of collaboration. Patience and thoughtfulness are required to really be taken up by the film. I don't know if I really enjoyed its viewing as much as the following conversations with friends about the movie's development. Expand
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7
ChadS.May 14, 2007
After we hear Hanna(Sarah Polley) tell Josef(Tim Robbins) her story of survival during the Balkan War, some of us may question why she'd volunteer her nursing services on an oil rig, a place that will be populated predominantly by men? After we hear Hanna(Sarah Polley) tell Josef(Tim Robbins) her story of survival during the Balkan War, some of us may question why she'd volunteer her nursing services on an oil rig, a place that will be populated predominantly by men? Isn't she supposed to be traumatized by the male species? Hannah's occupation as some nondescript factory worker seems like a custom fit for her life's agenda of complete anonymity, because it's egalitarian and the monotonous nature of this sort of job neutralizes a person's strengths and weaknesses. The uniform aids her invisibility because it desexualizes herself, as well as the other women and men. But then Hanna is forced to go on vacation by management. Exactly why she wants to be an individual again(a nurse, a person who stands alone) is never made clear. We know Hannah is alone, but that's her choice. There's also a certain oddness in Hannah's decision to confess her traumatic past to Josef, her patient, who helped inspire a friend to self-immolate due to his sexual indiscretion. In spite of her painful experiences with men, she's attracted to a bad boy. Why not fall in love with the nice marine biologist who wants to save all the sea creatures? He's kind of blind, too(like Josef due to the fire). He's more interested in the sea than this beautiful girl. Still, Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins have chemistry, which is important to help stave off the claustrophobia of a largely one-setting movie. Expand
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9
LynJan 15, 2011
Quietly powerful. As people on the periphery provide some interesting quirks and questions, the stories of the two main characters unfold slowly. Details that you learn about them & guess about them pull you into their stories and make youQuietly powerful. As people on the periphery provide some interesting quirks and questions, the stories of the two main characters unfold slowly. Details that you learn about them & guess about them pull you into their stories and make you hope fervently that each finds a way to recover and rebuild. I found it an interesting exploration of the ways that wounded people tend to be drawn to each other. Expand
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8
SindriFeb 20, 2011
Whispering words of substantial meaning - As Jane Campion, Susanne Bier, Lynne Ramsay and Sally Potter, Spanish director Isabel Coixet who caught my attention with "My Life Without Me" (2003) has a subtle, lyrical and ravishingly beautifulWhispering words of substantial meaning - As Jane Campion, Susanne Bier, Lynne Ramsay and Sally Potter, Spanish director Isabel Coixet who caught my attention with "My Life Without Me" (2003) has a subtle, lyrical and ravishingly beautiful way of depicting human relations and emotions, which shines through in this heartfelt and universally appealing story about Hanna, a lonely factory worker in Northern Ireland who after being instructed to take a holiday by her boss returns to her lonely life at the coast where she realizes that a holiday is the last thing she wants and ends up taking a job as a nurse at an oil rig.

Isabel Coixets fifth feature film is mostly set on a distant oil rig focusing on Hanna's evolving relationship with her patient Josef and her meeting with seven men who share her need for solitude and privacy. The role of Hanna is portrayed by Sarah Polley, an actress with a great gift for interpreting internal and low-keyed characters with great conviction, "The Sweet Herafter" (1997) being one of them, and here she practically conveys the soul of the film through her intuitive and quiet though expressive performance, which transcends in the scene where she confides to her patient, gracefully played by Tim Robbins.

"The Secret Life of Words" is well-paced character study with fragments of poetry that has lively visuals, mood-setting music, many colorful characters and is observantly written and gently filmed by Isabel Coixet. It is a memorable movie experience which through it's depiction of people who turn to their loneliness in order to regain their security succeeds to affirm new perspectives on life.
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