Where Hands Touch (2018)

Where Hands Touch
Director: Amma Asante
Writer: Amma Asante
Cast: Amandla Stenberg, George MacKay, Abbie Cornish, Christopher Eccleston, Tom Goodman-Hill, Alec Newman, Will Attenborough
Part of: Toronto International Film Festival
Seen on: 9.9.2018

Plot:
Leyna (Amandla Stenberg) is a German bi-racial teenager. When Hitler rises to power in Germany, she gets caught between the lines: her German-ness is disputed because of the color of her skin, no matter how hard Leyna fights for her place. Lutz (George MacKay), on the other hand, is just what the nazis like: blond, German, member of the Hitler youth and son of a high-ranking SS officer (Christopher Eccleston). When the two of them meet, they are drawn to each other, but they are in the worst position to live their love.

Where Hands Touch tackles a really interesting topic that hasn’t been looked at a lot (at least in popular media): what happened with and to black Germans in World War Two? Unfortunately, the way it goes about it, is a little clumsy.

The film poster showing Amandla Stenberg in front of a building with nazi flags and airplanes flying over it.
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The Darkest Minds (2018)

The Darkest Minds
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Writer: Chad Hodge
Based on: Alexandra Bracken‘s novel
Cast: Amandla Stenberg, Harris Dickinson, Skylan Brooks, Miya Cech, Mandy Moore, Patrick Gibson, Bradley Whitford, Gwendoline Christie, Wade Williams
Seen on: 16.8.2018

Plot:
A disease killed 98% of all children. The remaining children are kept under lock and key by the adults around. Not because of fear for them, but of them. They have developed superpowers that are strictly classified into dangerous and harmless. Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) is considered dangerous. Or she would be, if people knew her real designation. So far, she managed to keep it hidden. But that doesn’t make life in the internment camps any good. So Ruby escapes the first chance she gets – and manages to find other children who are free, too. They throw their lot together, but they will have to decide soon whether they want any more out of life.

The Darkest Minds is pretty standard young adult postapocalypse fare. It’s nice to watch, but isn’t particularly outstanding – with the exception of Stenberg and Dickinson who are above average.

The film poster showing Skylan Brooks, Amandla Stenberg, Miya Cech and Harris Dickinson in the film.
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Everything, Everything (2017)

Everything, Everything
Director: Stella Meghie
Writer: J. Mills Goodloe
Based on: Nicola Yoon‘s novel
Cast: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose, Ana de la Reguera, Taylor Hickson, Danube Hermosillo, Dan Payne, Fiona Loewi
Seen on: 4.7.2017
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Plot:
Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) has severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), meaning that her immune system is so weak that just being outside could literally kill her. So she grows up at home, cared for by her mother Pauline (Anika Noni Rose) and her nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera), her social contacts pretty much limited to them, Carla’s daughter Rosa (Danube Hermosillo) and the internet. That is, until a new family moves in next door. Their teenage son Olly (Nick Robinson) catches a glimpse of Maddy, and they start a written correspondence that soon develops into something more.

There are many things that Everything, Everything gets right, but I’m not sure that they’re outweighed by the ableist fuckery the story devolves into.

[SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Amandla Stenberg
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
The USA don’t exist anymore. In its place are 12 districts and the Capitol that has the districts under its thumb. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in district 12, where at 16 she’s basically taking care of her mother (Paula Malcomson) and sister Prim (Willow Shields). Which means that she breaks the laws daily to go hunting with her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). But Katniss’ life changes radically when the kids for the Hunger Games of that year are reaped. In the Hunger Games every year 24 kids, 2 more or less randomly chosen from each districts, are pitted against each other in a battle to the death until only one remains standing. And in this year 12-year-old Prim is chosen. In desperation Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place. And so Katniss travels to the Capitol together with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) the baker’s son – to certain death for at least one of them.

Despite actually getting the story for the third time, I was completely into it again and it made me cry. Again.

The-Hunger-Games

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The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Amandla Stenberg

Plot:
The USA don’t exist anymore. In its place are 12 districts and the Capitol that has the districts under its thumb. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in district 12, where at 16 she’s basically taking care of her mother (Paula Malcomson) and sister Prim (Willow Shields). Which means that she breaks the laws daily to go hunting with her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). But Katniss’ life changes radically when the kids for the Hunger Games of that year are reaped. In the Hunger Games every year 24 kids, 2 more or less randomly chosen from each districts, are pitted against each other in a battle to the death until only one remains standing. And in this year 12-year-old Prim is chosen. In desperation Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place. And so Katniss travels to the Capitol together with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) the baker’s son – to certain death for at least one of them.

The Hunger Games is a tense and excellent movie that could have been better if it had dared to be as grizzly and outlandish as the book. Instead they played it safe. It’s still a really good film but I can’ thelp but feel ever so slightly woeful for missed opportunities.

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Colombiana (2011)

Colombiana
Director: Olivier Megaton
Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Cast: Zoe Saldana, Jordi Mollà, Lennie James, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis, Callum Blue, Amandla Stenberg

Plot:
When Cataleya (Amanadla Stenberg) is a kid, her parents are murdered for trying to leave Don Luis’ (Beto Benites) drug cartel in Bogota. Cataleya manages to escape to the USA where she moves in with her uncle (Cliff Curtis). Her only wish is to take revenge, so she grows up to be an assassin. Her uncle arranges the hits, while Cataleya – now grown up (Zoe Saldana) – does the killing. But she uses these murders to draw attention to herself, in the hope to make Don Luis and his henchman Marco (Jordi Mollà) come to her that way.

Colombiana was a really bad film – and it didn’t even have the decency to be funny with it. Though there were moments.

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