In this episode of The Popcorn Conspiracy Dave Griffiths and Kyle McGrath take a look at Queen And Slim.
Universal Pictures is thrilled to release the NEW poster for DIRT MUSIC, the film adaptation of Tim Winton’s acclaimed novel.The film is directed by Gregor Jordan and stars Kelly MacDonald, Garret Hedlund David Wenham, Aaron Pederson, George Mason and Dan Wylie. The film also features original music written and performed by Julia Stone.
The modern day fairytale drama The Baker & the Beauty will premiere exclusively on Stan from 14 April, same day as the US. The heartwarming trailer for the series takes us on a dramatic rollercoaster ride that navigates family, fame and finding true love.
The uplifting romantic drama series will take viewers on a flavour-filled adventure between relatable everyman Daniel Garcia and international superstar Noa Hamilton. Daniel is working in the family bakery and doing everything that his loving Cuban parents and siblings expect him to do. But when he meets Noa on a wild Miami night, his life moves into the spotlight. Will this unlikely couple upend their lives to be together and pull his family into a culture clash?
The Baker and the Beauty stars Australian actress Nathalie Kelley (Furious 7) as Noa Hamilton, Victor Rasuk (Jack Ryan, 50 Shades of Grey Franchise) as Daniel Garcia, Carlos Gómez (Madam Secretary) as Rafael Garcia, Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal) as Lewis, Lisa Vidal (Being Mary Jane) as Mari Garcia, David Del Rio (Pitch Perfect) as Mateo Garcia, Belissa Escobedo as Natalie and Michelle Veintimilla (Gotham) as Vanessa.
Dean Georgaris is the writer/executive producer and showrunner. The Baker and the Beauty is based on the hit Israeli show created by Assi Azar, originally for Keshet Broadcasting. Keshet’s Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan are executive producers, along with Assi Azar. Jim Chory and Steve Pearlman also serve as executive producers.
The Baker & the Beauty premieres 14 April only on Stan, with new episodes weekly
– same day as the US.
In Red Rover, coming to digital this May, after feeling he has nothing left to live for on earth, a lonely geologist tries to qualify for a one-way mission to Mars with the help of an offbeat musician who is just as lost as he is.
From director Shane Belcourt, and starring Kristian Bruun (Ready or Not), Cara Gee (The Expanse), Meghan Heffern (“Wynonna Earp”), and Anna Hopkins (“The Expanse”), Red Rover premieres On Demand May 12 from Indiecan Entertainment.
Damon (Kristian Bruun) spends his waking hours searching for that elusive something. Whether it’s for deeper meaning, love, or just “treasure” on the beach with his metal detector, but to no avail. So when Damon meets an offbeat musician named Phoebe (Cara Gee) handing out flyers for a one way trip to Mars, a bond quickly forms. She’s going to help him find that thing he is looking for by sending him 33.9 million miles away, even though what he needs might be right in front of him.
Summary: A couple’s first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 12th March 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States, Canada
Director: Melina Matsoukas
Screenwriter: Lena Waithe
Cast: Flea (Mr Shepherd), Melina Halfkenny (Naomi), Daniel Kaluuya (Slim), Benito Martinez (Sheriff Edgar), Indya Moore (Goddess), Chloe Sevigny (Mrs. Shepherd), Sturgill Simpson (Police Officer Reed), Bryant Tardy (Chubby), Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen), Jahi Di’Allo Winston (Junior), Bokeem Woodbine (Uncle Earl)
Running Time: 132 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia)
Dave Griffiths’ Queen & Slim Review
There have been a number of films over the years that have dealt with the topic of white Police violence against black citizens. Films like Fruitville Station and The Hate U Give have shown a spotlight on the issue with some sheer cinematic brilliance. Now comes Queen & Slim a film that explores the topic while bordering on being a genre flick.
Directed by Melina Matsoukas (Insecure) Queen & Slim possibly depicts one of the worst Tinder dates of all time. Bored and frustrated are having one of her clients put to death lawyer Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith – Jett) responds to a Tinder request from the quiet and law-abiding Slim (Daniel Kaluuya – Black Panther). However, the date ends disastrously when on their way home they are pulled over by a white Police Officer. When he pulls his gun and shoots Queen Slim is forced to kill him in self defence.
Convinced that nobody will believe their story the pair begin a journey across America aided by Slim’s ex-military turned criminal Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine – Spider-Man: Homecoming) as they try to evade the manhunt that is now coming their way. Meanwhile the rest of America takes sides – some say they should be brought in as criminals while others want to help them escape Police.
The first thing that I should say about Queen & Slim is that this is not a multiplex film. I’ve read comments that the film is over-long etc. That simply is not true, but as you view the film your realise that Matsoukas has shot this is a way that is reminiscent of the arthouse films that Larry Clarke made in his heyday – films like Bully and Kids that made a point and stuck with you long after the credits had rolled.
The style in which Matsoukas has shot this film is hard-hitting and gritty. She is a filmmaker who is obviously not afraid to take risks – how many other filmmakers these days would have the courage to have an entire scene shot from a camera mounted and locked off on a car. Her style also allows the audience to feel like they are part of the action which in turn makes you feel a lot closer to the two main characters – Queen and Slim. The result is an understanding and closeness to them that most other filmmakers could only dream about capturing.
Having said that though there are some weaknesses with the film. At times it feels like as a director Matsoukas has been let down by the screenplay she is working with. There are too many times during the film were events happen that should be treated as major events but are never fully explored. From a man who wants to talk to them but is hit by their car through to a teenager who idolises them despite his father’s beliefs, these events happen way too fast and the audience never really get to feel the full affect of the events that surround these characters.
The film is at its best though when it allows the audience to soak up the locations and the characters that the characters find themselves around as the film goes on. One of the best characters in the film is Queen’s Uncle Earl and because of the extended time you spend with him as character the impact of his involvement in the story weighs more heavily for the audience watching. Likewise when Slim takes Queen to a dingy blues bar – the suspense is through the roof as you are never really sure whether the couple are welcome there or whether someone will turn them in.
One of the highlights of the film though are the acting performances. If nothing else Queen & Slim has introduced the cinematic world to two future stars. Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner Smith put in two stunning performances. No matter whether they are asked to deliver a deep and meaningful dramatic scene moved along only by dialogue or asked to perform graphic sex in the front seat of a car the two deliver in spades. As the film meanders along you get a strong feeling that these two actors are people we are going to be watching on the big screen for many years to come.
As a film Queen & Slim does have its flaws but it also has moments of true cinematic awe as well. Two brilliantly performed roles by the film’s stars makes up for the film’s errors while Bokeem Woodbine makes a welcome return in a truly memorable performance that only he could deliver. Likewise the film introduces us to a filmmaker that can only be described as a director that we all need to become aware of. Melina Matsoukas’ gritty style of filmmaking is a welcome relief in a cinematic world where it feels like every film needs to look ‘clean.’ Hard-hitting and at times experimental Queen & Slim is not a film that is easy to forget.
Poised to thrill audiences around the nation, the Alliance Française French Film Festival has today unveiled the full line-up for its eagerly anticipated 31st season at www.affrenchfilmfestival.org
Spreading its cinematic stardust across 8 cities and 4 satellite locations, the Festival, which is proudly presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, Unifrance Films and screening partner, Palace Cinemas, will commence its national tour from 10 March until 19 April and is set to thrill audiences with a stupendous selection of 49 contemporary and classic French films, many enjoying their Australian premiere.
We’re also delighted to announce that dynamic filmmaker, Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders, Macbeth, True History of the Kelly Gang), who has long taken inspiration from French cinema, will be the 2020 Festival Patron.
Additionally, acclaimed director/actor, Zabou Breitman, whose lyrical, animated drama, The Swallows of Kabul (Les hirondelles de Kaboul), has won plaudits from critics and audiences alike on the international film festival circuit, will be visiting Melbourne to introduce a screening of this, her latest feature, which she directed with Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec. This special Festival event is slated for the evening of Tuesday 17 March at Palace Cinema Como, and will be followed by a filmmaker Q&A.
On a more sombre note, this year has already experienced horrific bushfires ravaging our land and robbing so many of their lives and homes. The Alliance Française, and venue partners thereby invite you to join us in helping those impacted by this tragedy by supporting special previews of How to Be a Good Wife and In the Name of the Land (both screening courtesy of Palace Films) to be held in all capital cities on 9th and 10th of March. 100% of tickets sales for these sessions will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Appeal and Rural and Remote Mental Health.
And in celebration of mankind’s great capacity for kindness and compassion – which often comes to the fore in times of crisis – the Festival will launch the 2020 season with The Extraordinary (Hors normes), one of the most gloriously uplifting films to emerge from France in recent years, which will screen courtesy of Madman Entertainment.
The latest feature from renowned filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano (who delighted with The Intouchables and C’est la vie!), The Extraordinary is inspired by a true story and was honoured as the Closing Night Feature at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. For twenty years, Bruno (Vincent Cassel) and Malik (Reda Kateb) have run two separate non-profit organizations where they train young people from underprivileged areas to be caregivers for autistic youth abandoned by the state system. But the authorities, concerned that they’ve never sought certification and that many of their carers aren’t ‘officially’ qualified, decide to mount an investigation.
The result of two years’ immersion in the lives of the two associations, The Extraordinary is a crowd-pleasing charmer, which will have viewers experiencing a gamut of emotions as they fall in love with a host of extraordinary characters in exceptional circumstances. It’s a testimony to the great things that can be achieved when people support one another in the face of adversity.
And concluding the 2020 season, on a deliciously whimsical note, will be The Bare Necessity (Perdrix), the directorial debut of Erwan Le Duc, starring Swann Arlaud, Maud Wyler, Fanny Ardant and Nicolas Maury. Set within a tiny town nestled in the woody mountains of Vosges, this sweetheart of a movie, which delighted hardened cynics when it premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2019, looks at the romantic mayhem that ensues when an enigmatic young woman forces a stagnant family to re-define their boundaries and begin to truly live.
With so many highlights bursting from this year’s programme, it’s impossible to list every film, but read on for some of the delights to be savoured:
Director: Daniel Cohen
Cast: François Damiens, Vincent Cassel, Bérénice Bejo
In this delicious tale of tested loyalties, the close friendship of two long-time couples is put at risk when one of the two wives unexpectedly becomes a best-selling author, upsetting the intricate balance of this formerly close-knit quartet.
AZNAVOUR BY CHARLES (Le regard de Charles)
A Film by Charles Aznavour, Directed by Marc di Domenico
Narrator: Romain Duris
Crooner, Charles Aznavour, beguiled his legions of fans with a dream of romance. But his life beyond music was even more extraordinary. An actor, political activist, diplomat and filmmaker, this enthralling documentary, with rare footage, reveals a complicated, multi-talented man who entertained for the greater part of a century.
DEERSKIN (Le daim)
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel, Albert Delpy
With his life in disarray, Georges might not be able to control his circumstances but he can control his wardrobe. Believing that the deerskin jacket of his dreams is the answer to all of his problems, Georges’ delusions gradually increase each time he wears it, edging his obsession closer to a violent delirium.
Director: Alexis Michalik
Cast: Thomas Solivérès, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner, Dominique Pinon
Paris, 1897. Although not yet thirty and clearly gifted as a writer, Edmond Rostand already has two children, many anxieties, but scant literary success. When given three weeks to write a play for a mercurial star of the stage, all he has is the title, Cyrano de Bergerac. Can he accomplish the impossible?
Director: André Téchiné
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Kacey Mottet Klein
Muriel, a respected member of her idyllic local community, is horrified to discover that her visiting grandson, who claims to be heading to Canada for work, has in reality been radicalised by Islamist extremists. His plans to fight for ISIS in Syria expose this ordinary woman to a moral dilemma of heart-breaking proportions.
HOUSE OF CARDIN
Directors: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes
Synonymous with glamour, refinement and sophistication, this documentary provides a rare glimpse into the world of a 20th century icon. Allowing unprecedented access to his personal archives, we follow Cardin from his birth in the Italian countryside circa 1922, to his move to France where he made his name in fashion.
HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE (La bonne épouse)
Director: Martin Provost
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Yolande Moreau, Noémie Lvovsky, Edouard Baer
In 1968 amidst the lush regions of Alsace, the head of a housekeeping school that transforms teenage girls into ideal housewives, has her pristine life implode when she encounters her long-lost first love whilst simultaneously learning that her business is on the brink of financial ruin.
IN THE NAME OF THE LAND (Au nom de la terre)
Director: Edouard Bergeon
Cast: Guillaume Canet, Veerle Baetens, Anthony Bajon
Returning to France in the late 70s, Pierre marries his sweetheart and takes over his father’s farm. But twenty years onwards, Pierre is exhausted. With mounting debt, what was once satisfying begins to take an insidious toll on his family who risk being torn apart by the property that binds them, in this powerful tale of resilience.
LA BELLE ÉPOQUE
Director: Nicolas Bedos
Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tiller
Disillusioned, his long-term marriage on the rocks, a man is given a second chance when he encounters a company offering a unique theatrical service that enables customers to revisit memories through carefully orchestrated re-enactments, thus allowing him to return to 1974 and the peak of his happiness.
THE LOST PRINCE (Le prince oublié)
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Omar Sy, Bérénice Bejo, François Damiens
Djibi, a devoted single father, transforms into a heroic Prince in the nightly fairy-tales he tells his beloved 7 year-old daughter, Sofia. But as the years pass, Sofia is ready for her own stories with different heroes. But is the Prince ready to become just a memory of his daughter’s childhood?
LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT (Mon inconnue)
Director: Hugo Gélin
Cast: François Civil, Joséphine Japy, Benjamin Lavernhe
After waking in a parallel universe, Raphaël finds his wife, Olivia, is nowhere to be seen and his professional achievements have vanished. Without Olivia, his life is empty, but winning her back proves harder than he could have imagined – especially when he realises she doesn’t even know who he is!
Director: Yvan Attal
Cast: Yvan Attal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Eric Ruf
Henri, a writer in the depths of a mid-life crisis who hasn’t released a successful book in 25 years, strikes-up an unconventional friendship with a stray, bad-mannered dog who inspires him and his dysfunctional family to re-examine their lives and attitudes towards each other.
THE MYSTERY OF HENRI PICK (Le mystère Henri Pick)
Director: Rémi Bezançon
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Camille Cottin, Alice Isaaz
The late Henry Pick, in life an unassuming Breton pizza marker, is celebrated as a brilliant author when a lost manuscript, attributed to him, becomes a literary success. But one outspoken intellectual thinks the whole thing is a sham, and, after losing his wife, his job and his prominence due to his opinion, decides to uncover the truth.
ONLY THE ANIMALS (Seules les bêtes)
Director: Dominik Moll
Cast: Denis Ménochet, Laure Calamy, Damien Bonnard
Set in an isolated town in the lush, wintery mountains of southern France, the film opens with the departure of Evelyne, a local woman whose disappearance during a snowstorm soon reveals itself as murder. This act of violence gradually unveils the hidden agendas of several locals, setting the unexpected into motion.
Director: Alice Winocour
Cast: Eva Green, Zélie Boulant- Lemesle, Matt Dillon
As the only woman in the European Space Agency astronaut-training program, single mother Sarah struggles with guilt over the limited time spent with her young daughter, which escalates when she’s invited upon a year-long space mission – Proxima – forcing her to choose between her work and her child.
ROOM 212 (Chambre 212)
Director: Christophe Honoré
Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Benjamin Biolay, Vincent Lacoste
After Maria reveals a long history of affairs to her husband, she opts to spend the night at a hotel opposite their home. But this is a “magical night”, and it’s not long before time collapses upon itself opening a window into the past where young passions are revisited and the very concept of love, questioned.
Director: Justine Triet
Cast: Virginie Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gaspard Ulliel
Dissatisfied with her life, Sibyl, a psychiatrist, decides to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Casting professional ethics aside, she secretly uses the private sessions of her actress patient, Margot, as inspiration for her novel, a decision that irreversibly impacts upon both their lives.
SPREAD YOUR WNGS (Donne-moi des ailes)
Director: Nicolas Vanier
Cast: Jean-Paul Rouve, Mélanie Doutey, Louis Vazquez
Christian, a visionary scientist, studies wild birds. For his son, a teenager obsessed with video games, the idea of spending a vacation with his father in the middle of nature is a nightmare. However, father and son soon bond over a daring project to save an endangered species, which takes them on an incredible journey.
THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL (Les hirondelles de Kaboul)
Directors: Zabou Breitman, Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec
Voice: Simon Abkarian, Zita Hanrot, Swann Arlaud
Based on the cherished novel of the same name, this critically acclaimed, animated drama follows two couples living in the Afghan capital during the 90s and the impact Taliban rule has on each relationship. Through their individual love stories, unforgettable characters emerge amid the devastating impact of armed combat.
THE TRANSLATORS (Les traducteurs)
Director: Régis Roinsard
Cast: Lambert Wilson, Olga Kurylenko, Riccardo Scamarcio
Nine language experts, hired to translate the final book of a bestselling trilogy, are in lockdown within a luxurious bunker. But when the top-secret manuscript’s first ten pages appear online, their dream job implodes. The culprit has to amongst them and the publisher is ready to do whatever it takes to unmask who it is.
TWO OF US (Deux)
Director: Filippo Meneghetti
Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker
In this emotionally compelling tale, pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is tested when circumstances trigger a series of events, preventing them from moving freely between each other’s apartments.
Director: Cathy Verney
Cast: Romain Duris, Céline Sallette, Florence Thomassin, Julie Fournier
When Vernon Subutex, an unemployed former owner of a once legendary record shop, is evicted from his flat, he’s helped by old friend rock star Alex Bleach. But Bleach’s sudden death makes Vernon a deadly target when it’s discovered that he’s in possession of 3 mysterious videotapes owned by Bleach.
WE’LL END UP TOGETHER (Nous finirons ensemble)
Director: Guillaume Canet
Cast: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche, Laurent Lafitte
About to turn 60, nearly broke and estranged from his former friends, restaurateur Max embraces solitude at his soon-to-be-sold beach house. So when his ex-buddies arrive for a surprise celebration, he turns them away. But this cannot be – something has to be done! The sequel to 2010’s star-studded comedy, LITTLE WHITE LIES.
Director: Bertrand Bonello
Cast: Louise Labèque, Wislanda Louimat, Adilé David, Ninon François
Haiti, 1962…A man is resurrected from the dead and trapped in a nightmare of slavery. Modern-day Paris…Haitian teen Mélissa, the new girl at an elite school, is invited to join a secret ‘literary sorority’. But the incendiary family secret she harbours becomes a source of fascination to others, who exploit her heritage with shocking results.
National dates and venues for the 2020 Alliance Française French Film Festival are:
10 March – 8 April
Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema, Palace Central & Hayden Orpheum Cremorne
11 March – 8 April
Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Kino Cinemas & The Astor Theatre
11 March – 8 April
Palace Raine Square, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX,
Windsor Cinema & Camelot Outdoor Cinema
12 March – 8 April
Palace Electric Cinema
17 March -14 April
Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinema
18 March -14 April
Palace Barracks & Palace James Street
19 – 28 March
19 March – 1 April
Avoca Beach Picture Theatre
26 – 29 March
Riverside Theatres Parramatta
31 March – 12 April
Palace Byron Bay
17 – 19 April
17 -19 April
Summary: The Austrian Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious objector, refuses to fight for the Nazis in World War II.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 30th January 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: Germany, USA
Director: Terrence Malick
Screenwriter: Terrence Malick
Cast: Dimo Alexiev (Nikolai), Leo Baumgartner (Toni Strohhofer), Ulrich Brandhoff (Captain Jurgen), August Diehl (Franz Jagerstatter), Alexander Fehling (Lawyer Feldman), Johannes Gabl (Hessler), Bruno Ganz (Judge Lueban), Adolf Hitler (himself (archival footage)), Bernd Holscher (Judge Ranft), Moritz Katzmair (Martin), Waldemar Kobus (Warden Stein), Jonannes Krisch (Trakl – The Miller), Levan Khurtsia (Levan), Dieter Kosslick (Judge Musshoff), Aennie Lade (Loisi Jagerstatter), Katja Lechthaler (Frau Pate), Monika Lennartz (Frau Schuster), Johan Leyson (Ohlendorf – The Painter), Jasmine Barbara Mairhofer (Frau Pate), Max Malatesta (Max), Karl Marcovics (Mayor Kraus), Ulrich Matthes (Lorenz Schwaninger), Max Mauff (Sterz), Wolfgang Michael (Eckinger), Tobias Moretti (Fr. Furthauer), Thomas Mraz (Prosecuter Kleint), Ida Mutschlechner (Rosi Jagerstatter), Karin Neuhasuer (Rosalia Jagerstatter), Johannes Nussbaum (Josef), Michael Nyqvist (Bishop Fliesser), Valerie Pachner (Fani Jagerstatter), Oliver Pezzi (Fitz), Jurgen Prochnow (Major Schlegel), Nicholas Reinke (Father Moericke), Franz Rogowski (Waldland), Sophie Rois (Aunt Walburga), Andro Sarishvilli (Andro), Matthias Schoenaerts (Captain Herder), Christian Sengeweld (Fr. Kreutzberg), Amber Shave (Rosi Jagerstatter (young)), Ermin Sijamija (Ermin), Maria Simon (Resie Schwaninger), Maria Stadler (Maria), Barbara Stampfl (Maridi Jagerstatter (young)), Benno Steinegger (Corporal Grimm), Michael Steinocher (Officer Kersting), Mark Wasschke (Spitz, the blacksmith), Maria Weger (Maridl Jagerstatter), Martin Wuttke (Major Kiel)
Running Time: 174 mins
Classification: PG (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
Kyle McGrath’s Review
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Summary: Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on their own terms.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 1st January 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 9th January 2020
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: Greta Gerwig
Screenwriter: Greta Gerwig, Louisa May Alcott
Cast: Dash Barber (Fred Vaughn), Timothee Charlamet (Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence), Chris Cooper (Mr. Laurence), J.M. Davis (Susan Robbins), Laura Dern (Marmee March), Lilly Englert (Kate Vaughn), Sasha Frolova (Mrs. Hummel), Louie Garrel (Friedrich Bhaer), Jayne Houdeyshell (Hannah), Ana Kayne (Olivia), Tom Kemp (Asa Melvin), Charlotte Kinder (Viola), Adrianne Krstansky (Mrs. Dashwood), Tracy Letts (Mr. Dashwood), Bill Mootos (Mr. Davis), Jen Nikolaisen (Evelyn Meriweather), James Norton (John Brooke), Bob Odenkirk (Father March), Maryanne Plunkett (Mrs. Kirke), Florence Pugh (Amy March), Abby Quinn (Annie Moffat), Jared Reinfeldt (Ned Moffat), Hadley Robinson (Sallie Gardiner Moffat), Saoirse Ronan (Jo March), Amber Leanne Rothberg (Young Meg), Eliza Scanlen (Beth March), Meryl Streep (Aunt March), Emma Watson (Meg March), Lewis D. Wheeler (Josiah Workman)
Running Time: 135 mins
Classification: G (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
Timeless tales never die. That is the only defence you can really use against people who are convinced that the new adaption of Little Women should never have been made. Yes, there have been a number of cinematic versions of Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale that have made it to the big screen over the years, but every adaption has its own tone and feel and that is what makes them unique. I can remember the same being said when Baz Luhrmann re-created Romeo + Juliet… and look how well that ended up turning out. Besides after the quirkiness of Ladybird how could anybody not be curious to see what Greta Gerwig was going to do with Alcott’s classic.
Gerwig does do little to change the basic storyline. The film is set in 1868 with Jo March (Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn), a budding young writer getting a story published by a local publisher. At the same time her work is heavily criticised by one of her co-workers and in a bid to escape how she feels about it she uses the fact that her sister, Beth (Eliza Scanlen – Sharp Objects) is sick to return home. As she spends time with her mother (Laura Dern – Wild) and her other two sisters, Meg (Emma Watson – Harry Potter & The Philospher’s Stone) and Amy (Florence Pugh – The Commuter) she reflects on their lives and the obstacles they have overcome.
A scathing critic would probably try to point out that Little Women’s main focus is on female empowerment but I would argue that Gerwig’s film goes even deeper than that. This is not simply a film about female empowerment this is the film that explores the notion of how a family pulls together to overcome some of the most turbulent and life-changing obstacles that anybody can face. From the harsh fights between Amy and Jo, through the four sisters having to face numerous struggles with their father is off at war this is more a film about family then it is anything else.
The power of this version of Little Women though is how much the film draws you into the character’s lives. At a quick glance the character of Jo could be considered cold-hearted especially towards the men in her life, including Laurie (Timothee Chalamet – Beautiful Boy). But through the power of Gerwig’s writing and directing the audience gets to see what makes Jo this way and that is something that can’t be said for all versions of Little Women. Gerwig also allows the film to show the struggle of the artist as well – whether it be a writer, a painter or a teacher all find themselves tested during this time of war and this secondary element to the plot adds a powerful element to the film that continues to draw the audience in.
What also drives this film is a repeat of one of the strengths from Lady Bird. As a director it is obvious that Gerwig knows how to draw the best out of her cast. Here Saoirse Ronan is once again in award winning form and she is well supported by Emma Watson and Florence Pugh who both seem to have turned up their acting game several levels as well. In regards to Ronan though she is well directed by Gerwig with the scene of the final confrontation between herself and Laurie being an absolute highlight. The raw emotion that is generated from the screen during the scene is a rarity in modern day cinema and needs to be cherished.
A special mention must also be made to Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada). While she has limited screen time she managed to steal every scene she was in with a truly powerful performance. Her scenes with both Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh are some of the best examples of brilliant acting you will all year. There is a real power with those scenes and neither younger actress seems to be over-awed by the fact that they are sharing the scene with acting royalty.
Every adaption of Little Women has something that sets it apart from the others but few have the sheer emotion and power that we see here with Gerwig’s interpretation. Here Gerwig uncovers secret layers to the plot that lesser filmmakers would have not noticed while at the same time she directs one of the most talented younger casts that modern day cinema has ever seen assembled. If you leave in preconceived notions you have about Little Woman at the cinema door you will find yourself totally drawn into this worthy drama.
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teamed up with Defiant Screen Entertainment to give you a chance to win a copy of this must-see film on DVD. Directed by award-winning director Wim Wenders (The American Friend, Wings Of Desire) and starring James McAvoy (Split, Filth) and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, Tomb Raider) in their most powerful roles yet Submergance is one of the msot under-rated films of 2018.
The film is released on home entertainment through Defiant Screen Entertainment on November 21st but we are given five lucky people a chance to win the film on DVD by simply private messaging our Facebook page and telling us which character James McAvoy portrays in the Marvel universe.