Cocktails and Movies Review: “Warm Bodies” – Cold Hands, Warm Heart

cocktails & movies presents warm bodiesCocktails and Movies picked “Warm Bodies” for its first “Cocktails & Movies” event (“Love & Libations”), and we couldn’t have picked a better movie for people to get together and  share drinks and a good time at the theater. To say that “Warm Bodies” could be an expose on today’s lack of social interaction (in the era of social media) would be missing the point that this is an excellent film. It takes the normal zombie movie genre of zombie apocalypse happens, people fight for their lives, try to get away and survive the impossible by taking a look at what it is to be a zombie from the zombies’ perspective. Based on the book of the same name by Isaac Marion, “Warm Bodies” is funny, smart, warm and sweet. 

What drives “Warm Bodies” is a tremendous performance by Nicholas Hoult (also appearing in “Jack The Giant Slayer” in March), who is cast perfectly as the young zombie, “R,” who falls in love with Julie (Teresa Palmer), a still-human girl who happens to be the daughter of the leader of the last remaining group of humans. R narrates about his day: moving through the same old routines, keeping to the same area of the airport he calls home, interacting with mere looks and grunts to other zombies, and inarticulate words with his “friend” “M” (played very well by Rob Corddry). It’s a great commentary on today’s social interaction and the metaphor is not lost on the audience.

After we peek into R’s life, the love story begins as R and the other zombies attack and kill a group of humans searching an old pharmacy for medicine. R kills Julie’s boyfriend and in eating his brains, falls in love with Julie. He saves her from the other zombies and takes her back to the airplane where he “lives.” As the two develop a relationship, R’s heart begins to beat again, bringing him slowly back to life. Julie convinces R to take her back home, but abandons him along the way when he reveals to her that he killed her boyfriend. Heartbroken, R returns to the airport only to find that the other zombies, having seen the love story unfold before them, are also returning to life. Unfortunately, “bonies” – zombies that have all trace of humanity – are attracted to anything with a heartbeat, including all of R’s zombie friends. R leads them to the walled human city, where Julie and her friend do a very funny makeover on R and they try to talk to her father (played by John Malkovich).

Unfortunately, her father doesn’t make the distinction of live or dead zombie, and Julie and R run away, only to find the bonies have caught up with R’s friends. A battle breaks out between the human forces and R’s friends and the bonies. R saves Julie from the bonies by jumping into a pool from the top of the building they are trapped in, only to have Julie’s father shoot him. But, because R has returned to life, he bleeds, proving that the zombies can come back to life. The human zombies and the humans are able to kill off the bonies and in the end, the wall around the city comes down and the R’s friends assimilate back into human life.

What sells this movie is the warmth and sweetness of the two main characters and their love story. It’s got some wry and socially funny humor. It’s amazing to see the growth of R throughout the film and incredible to watch Nicholas Hoult display the spectrum of emotions without using any, or coherent dialogue. Teresa Palmer plays a very real and convincing girl that falls in love with a zombie. (I don’t know any, but I imagine that if there WERE a girl that falls in love with a zombie, this is how she would act.) Rob Corddry adds some brilliant humor, again without too much dialogue. The love story is central here and like all love stories, it has obstacles – this one just involves being dead and things like that.

Needless to say we loved it.

Cocktails and Movies rating: 2 cocktails, a shot and a beer chaser – (two zombies was just right!)