Tag: London

The Children Act

August 29th, 2018 — 4:26am


The Children Act-sp

This is one of those films in which everything seems so well done from the story line, the mood background music and the outstanding acting. It is based on a novel by Ian McEwan, who also wrote the screenplay, with direction by veteran director Richard Eyre.

The setting is in London and the main character Fiona Maye (Emma Thompson) is a judge in the British Judicial System. When she is working, she wears the traditional judicial garb and she is referred to as “My Lady.” She is very dedicated to her work and appears to frequently handle sensitive ethical issues. Her childless marriage to her husband Jack (Stanley Tucci) is not going well as he tells her that he is planning an affair.

The film then focuses on one very delicate legal case that Judge Maye must opine upon which deals with a 17-year-old boy with leukemia who needs a blood transfusion to save his life. He and his parents are devoted Jehovah’s Witnesses where blood transfusions are forbidden and the patient and the parents are refusing that he should have one. “My Lady”, the Honorable Judge becomes ultra involved with his case as she feels she must visit him in the hospital and try to understand him.

The success of the film is not only the interesting storyline, but it is the very sensitive and well done performance by Thompson who emanates her pain and turmoil as she changes the life of the boy (who is played by newcomer Fionn Whitehead). There may not be any ultimate satisfaction at the end but you come away feeling you have been through the painful experience that the characters on the screen have been going through, and the questions raised will stay with you long after the film ends. (2018)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Love Actually

June 17th, 2017 — 6:01am


Love Actually-nf

Through the magical power of Netflix, we are able to go back in time, 14 years and view an ensemble film that we recall was well received at the time and was nominated for a Golden Globe award. You will see a number of familiar faces in this movie who turned in great performances. This includes Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Laura Linney, Allen Rickman, Billy Bob Thornton and others who we didn’t recognize but who were quite good.

The movie is the brainchild of writer-director, Richard Curtis. This setting is on the other side of the pond in London, England. The film is about couples being attracted to each other and falling in love. There are about 10 separate couples involved but the stories do interconnect. There is a British prime minister who falls for his assistant, a screenwriter who is drawn to a young Portuguese woman although they can’t speak each other’s language. There is a married CEO who is smitten by his secretary. There is even an approximately 10 to 12-year-old boy who is certain that he is in love with a girl in his class and is getting advice how to declare his love by his recently widowed dad. Contrast that scenario with two porn stars who aren’t moved by their coupling on the set but find themselves in a budding romance off screen. The movie takes place around Christmas time which adds to the joyous feel good mood which emanates from the screen. There is a great soundtrack which facilities the exciting emotions sprouting forth before us.

The title suggests that this movie is a celebration of love. We would beg to differ on this point. Just about all the characters have a relatively superficial relationship and very little knowledge of each other at the point where they believe they are falling in love. Certainly, we understand this could be a very exciting time for people experiencing this great attraction to each other. If this were real life, many of the relationships would soon cool off and unfortunately, it might even taken several years of marriage before they would go their separate ways. So while the title is Love Actually, we think it might better be called Actually Attraction. Nevertheless, it was a great film to watch. The DVD also has an interesting narration of the movie while it is playing by the director-screenwriter, Richard Curtis who discusses the film with some of the well-known actors who appear in it (2003)


Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Drama, Romance

The Deep Blue Sea

April 18th, 2012 — 9:53pm


The Deep Blue Sea- rm-  This movie is set in about the 1950s in post World War II London. It focuses on the troubled personality of Hester Collyer   (magnificently nuanced performance by Rachel Weisz) who is unhappily married to a much older but caring British judge, Sir William Collyer (Simon Russel). After a chance meeting with Freddie Page, dashing former RAF pilot, (Tom Hiddleston) Hester moves out of her passionless, childless marriage to live with this new lover. She soon realizes that between his drinking and his self-centeredness, he has very little to offer her. On the other hand it becomes clear that she is obsessed with her neediness and passion for him. She is caught between a marriage that doesn’t work for her and an attraction and dependency that is equally doomed. This would seem to leave her with tremendous emptiness and a tumble towards a suicidal despair, which is emotionally enhanced by Barbe’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra op 14.  The story is based on a play by Terrence Rattigan and is written and directed by Terrence Davies who uses various flashbacks to try to fill in the back-story. Any student of a psychological drama such as this one yearns to know the determinants of this troubled character. We are only told that her father was a Church Vicar who was quite demanding of her. We are also shown that she was a young woman of wartime London and all the insecurities that must have brought to her.  One poignant scene in the subway during a bombing attack during the war and another of children playing in the rubble give us hints of what may have added up to her tremendous neediness and the fleeting attraction to this war hero. Even if all our intellectual understanding of this character were not fully satisfied, Rachel Weisz conveyed the emotional substance with which we could identify and by which we could be moved. (2012)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Foreign

Made in Dagenham

June 7th, 2011 — 3:29am


Made in Dagenham- nf- If you are one of those people who care about the important equal rights and social justice moments, especially those of the last 50 years, you will not want to miss this movie. It is a dramatization of a true story that took place in 1968 when the women in a Ford manufacturing plant in London who sewed the upholstery for the car seats demanded the same pay as men for their work. The movie shows the coming together of three unlikely allies in the cause of justice for women. Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins) a young factory worker becomes incensed when she realizes the inequalities towards women and takes a leadership role in organizing the strike of the 187 women of a factory which also employs thousands of men. She by chance meets Lisa (Rosamund Pike), wife of one of the company executives who despite being wealthy feels treated as a second class citizen even in her marriage and lends encouragement to the beleaguered strikers. Ultimately a meeting with the British Secretary of Labor Barbara Castle (Miranda Richardson), who also identifies with the strikers who by this time are quite determined although holding on by their finger tips. Despite facing the serious threat of Ford pulling out from England Carson  then institutes the deal which promises near parity with men and a plan to put forth equal rights legislation. The dramatic victory at the conclusion will send a chill up your spine and a tear to your eye. The acting is excellent and it was well directed by Nigel Cole . There are no big surprises but the movie will grab your emotions. In a sense, it  channels the 1979 classic film Norma Rae which told the true story of one woman’s battle to organize the minimum wage workers in a cotton mill and which earned Sally Fields an Academy Award. We need films like this to remind us what determined people can do and how some things are worth fighting for. (2010)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, History

Another Year

November 22nd, 2010 — 10:00am


Another Year sp -  As the title suggestions four seasons pass and nothing has really changed. Seeing this movie reminds us why we are always looking for an interesting story line or some character development where something has changed which in our opinion this film really doesn’t have. For example, Mary (played by Lelsley Manville ) is a reasonably attractive  middle aged single secretary working in a counseling center in London and she periodically visits the home of  one of her co-workers who happens to be counselor. She is clearly an alcoholic, hasn’t been able to establish a good relationship with a man and is barely being politely tolerated during these visits by her friend and her husband. Mary flirts with the couple’s son, is disappointed when she ultimately meets his future wife and even unsuccessfully tries to develop a relationship with the tacit brother of her friend’s husband while he is grieving for his recently deceased wife.  Mary is basically a pathetic person who hasn’t changed at all in the year that we observe her. That’s it! Now, the acting in this movie is fantastic. All the characters seem quite real. The married couple is warm and friendly and Manville very realistically portrays Mary the alcoholic friend, as did the other actors in their roles. In fact, Manville might even earn an Oscar nomination for her acting However, what we found interesting about this film was not what was on the screen, but rather the unique manner in which director writer Mike Leigh uses to put together this film as well as others which he has done.  Lesley Manville was the guest at our preview screening of this movie and she explained how Leigh prepares the barest outline of each character. He then meets separately with each actor for a series of meetings over 2-3 months. During this time the actors invents or develops in detail the background and the history or their character. They construct their family background, likes and dislikes, nature of relationships etc. So then when the characters meet for the scenarios, which Leigh has designed, each actor acts as if they are the character, which they have invented. Various dialogue emerge and Leigh encourages the ones, which he likes. The actors never have a script but ultimately they have agreed upon the words, which they will use when they get around to shooting the film. Seeing the results of this process may be a worthwhile experience for students and aficionados of cinema. It appears to bring out a sense of realism that comes from deep in the soul. However, we get bored and turned off by real people from time to time and we didn’t think the experience of watching these people was worth two hours of our time.(2010)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

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