It’s ok to enjoy schmaltz every now and then. Even critics can’t live on Three Colours alone. Although art-house cinema has its rewards, something about pure, flagrantly manipulative schmaltz is necessary to maintain good movie-mental health. I know there are those who would insist Disney’s Enchanted is an insult to the art-form that gave us Au Hasard Balthazar, but let’s face it, with a choice between manipulative joy and a dead donkey lying in a field – are you really such a stick-in-the-mud? Enchanted might not be art, but it has a sense of fun that few art-house movies’ possess. It’s also impossible not to sing-along to, which is not something you say of, say, Mouchette.
Elizabeth Wurtzel once wrote that the only real choice we have in life is whether to be bitter or gracious. Granted this may not be our only choice (there’s always room for contrariness on this blog), but it is the only choice Bill Murray is given in Groundhog Day – a movie that does for déjà vu what Au hasard Balthazar did for donkeys (i.e. bestows grace).