On Chesil Beach (2017)

On Chesil Beach
Director: Dominic Cooke
Writer: Ian McEwan
Based on: his own novel
Cast: Billy Howle, Saoirse Ronan, Anne-Marie Duff, Adrian Scarborough, Emily Watson,
Samuel West
Seen on: 5.7.2018

Content note: (sexualized) abuse

Plot:
Edward (Billy Howle) and Florence (Saoirse Ronan) come from different backgrounds – Edward being working class and Florence more upper class. That hasn’t kept them from falling in love, though. Now they finally got married and have reached the beach where they’re supposed to spend their honeymoon. But with the wedding night and associated pressures looming over them, they are not really at ease.

On Chesil Beach is pretty much feel bad cinema with sharply observed characters and relationships. It wasn’t quite as depressing as I feared it would be, nor was it as good as I hoped it would be. It is very far from bad, though.

Film poster showing Billy Howle and Saoirse Ronan on a beach, looking in opposite directions.
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Macbeth

Macbeth
Director: Rufus Norris
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: Rory Kinnnear, Anne-Marie Duff, Kevin Harvey, Stephen Boxer, Trevor Fox, Hannah Hutch, Anna-Maria Nabirye, Beatrice Scirocchi, Parth Thakerar, Patrick O’Kane,
Seen on: 10.5.2018
[Here are my reviews of other takes on Macbeth.]

Plot:
Macbeth (Rory Kinnear) and Banquo (Kevin Harvey) just fought successfully for King Duncan (Stephen Boxer) and are finally on their way home. In the woods, they meet three witches who predict, among other things, that Macbeth will become King. Spurred on by that prophecy and uncontent to just wait for it to come true, Macbeth and his wife (Anne-Marie Duff) hatch the plan to help things along when Duncan comes to visit. But murder comes with moral consequences – and it might not be the only thing necessary to make Macbeth King.

This version of Macbeth has its strong moments and I have definitely seen worse productions, but I’ve also seen better.

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Suffragette (2015)

Suffragette
Director: Sarah Gavron
Writer: Abi Morgan
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie DuffHelena Bonham Carter, Romola GaraiGrace Stottor, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson, Meryl Streep
Seen on: 09.02.2016

Plot:
Maud (Carey Mulligan) has spent more or less her entire life working as a washer woman in a factory. Quite to the contrary to her co-worker Violet (Anne-Marie Duff), Maud is trying to keep her head down. Violet, on the other hand, is a passionate suffragette, fighting for women’s rights. But the longer Maud hears about this fight, the more she finds herself drawn to it, slowly stumbling into the movement until she herself has to make some hard choices about her life.

The reactions to Suffragette I encountered so far were lukewarm at best – and I’m the next person with that reaction to add to the list. It’s not really a bad film, but it isn’t very good, either.

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Before I Go to Sleep (2014)

Before I Go to Sleep
Director: Rowan Joffe
Writer: Rowan Joffe
Based on: S.J. Watson‘s novel
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Anne-Marie Duff

Plot:
Christine (Nicole Kidman) has a special form of amnesia: she can’t remember the past few years, instead she can only retain a day’s worth of new memories at a time. That means that each morning she wakes up next to a stranger who turns out to be her husband of many years, Ben (Colin Firth). Then she spends the days trying to get her bearings in her life, but after she goes to sleep at night, it’s all erased and it starts all over again the next morning. But then one morning Christine gets a call from Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong). He claims that he has been working with her for a while, without Ben’s knowledge, and that she’s hiding a video diary. The Christine in the video diary has her suspicions about her general situation. Christine herself has to figure out what her life is and who to trust.

Before I Go to Sleep is not a revolutionary film but it is a pretty decent thriller with a good cast that works quite well. I enjoyed it.

Before-I-Go-To-Sleep[Massive SPOILERS]

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Nowhere Boy (2009)

Nowhere Boy is Sam Taylor-Wood‘s first feature film, starring Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey, Ophelia Lovibond and Thomas Sangster.

Plot:
John Lennon (Aaron Johnson) grows up with his aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and his uncle George (David Threlfall), his mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff) never playing a big role in his life. Until his uncle dies and he sees her at the funeral. John starts visiting Julia more and more often and they forge a bond over Julia’s love of Rock’n’Roll. But John soon makes the painful discovery that there’s an actual reason why he doesn’t live with his mother.

Nowhere Boy is a well acted and written examination of an angry adolescent (yeah, I know, a bit of a tautology), which has little to do with the “legend” John Lennon, member of the Beatles. It paints quite a different picture from what we have of him today, which makes it even more interesting.
Unfortunately, I only got to see the German dubbed version and the translation is absolutely grating. [What the hell, OV cinemas in Vienna?]

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The Last Station (2009)

The Last Station is the newest movie by Michael Hoffman, based on the book by Jay Parini and starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, James McAvoy, Paul Giamatti, Kerry Condon and Anne-Marie Duff.

Plot:
Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy) gets a post as the new secretary of Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer). Tolstoy is currently considering donating the rights to his works to the Russian people, much supported by Vladimir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti), his friend and partner-in-politics. Alone Tolstoy’s wife Sofya (Helen Mirren) strongly opposes this – she fears for her future, as well as the future of her kids. This fight leaves their marriage more than strained.

This is one impressive movie, thanks to Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer. Also, the relationship between Sofya and Leo is very fascinating. Unfortunately, not all progressions within the story are completely clear to me…

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