Carrie Pilby (2016)

Carrie Pilby
Director: Susan Johnson
Writer: Kara Holden
Based on: Caren Lissner‘s novel
Cast: Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Vanessa Bayer, Colin O’Donoghue, Jason Ritter, William Moseley, Desmin Borges
Seen on: 19.3.2020

Plot:
Carrie (Bel Powley) was a child prodigy. Having graduated Harvard at 18, she is now in New York and pretty much at a loss. She resents her father (Gabriel Byrne) for having sent her away when she was so young and doesn’t really know how to adjust to life outside of education. Her therapist (Nathan Lane) tries to get her to live a little instead of just reading books. When he gives her a list of tasks to fulfill – like going on a date or doing something she liked doing as a child – and at the same time, her father gets her a job as a copyeditor for a law firm, Carrie starts to make new experiences.

Carrie Pilby is a sweet, fun film with a complex female character at its center. It balances humor and serious issues nicely, making it absolutely enjoyable.

The film poster showing a drawing of Carrie's face, looking widely upwards.
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Mary Shelley (2017)

Mary Shelley
Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Writer: Emma Jensen, Haifaa Al-Mansour
Cast: Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley, Tom Sturridge, Joanne Froggatt, Stephen Dillane, Maisie Williams, Derek Riddell, Hugh O’Conor, Ben Hardy
Seen on: 9.1.2019
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Plot:
Mary (Elle Fanning) is the daughter of two authors, William Godwin (Stephen Dillane) and Mary Wollstonecraft. Her mother, unfortunately passed early and her father’s new wife (Joanne Froggatt) is not easy on her, leaving Mary at even more of a loss than your average 16-year-old. That’s when she meets Percy (Douglas Booth), a charming poet who intrigues her. They fall in love and together with Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairmont (Bel Powley) they run away to Geneva to meet Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge) and Polidori (Ben Hardy). The five of them spend an intense time together – a time that includes a literary contest that pushes Mary to write her first novel, Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley, unfortunately, didn’t really come together, although I am uncertain what went wrong here – they had all the right ingredients to make a feast and ended with a slightly bland meal that didn’t sate. (I promise I won’t be stretching this metaphor any further.)

The film poster showing half of Mary's (Elle Fanning) face.
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A Royal Night Out (2015)

A Royal Night Out
Director: Julian Jarrold
Writer: Kevin Hood, Trevor De Silva
Cast: Sarah Gadon, Bel PowleyJack Reynor, Emily Watson, Rupert Everett, Jack Laskey, Jack Gordon
Seen on: 4.10.2015

Plot:
World War II is finally over and all of London is preparing for a huge party. Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Princess Margaret (Bel Powley) would like to join into the festivities, incognito. The King (Rupert Everett) and Queen (Emily Watson) are not really convinced that it’s a good idea, but then give in anyway. Chaperoned by Lieutenatns Pryce (Jack Laskey) and Burridge (Jack Gordon) they make their way into the city. Soon enough though, they not only escape their chaperones but also lose each other. Elizabeth recruits soldier Jack (Jack Reynor) to help her get Margaret home in one piece and before their curfew.

A Royal Night Out was a sweet, fun film that takes absolutely no (narrative) risks whatsoever, transforming the royal family almost ino superhumans in their attempt to be pleasing.

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