Mudbound (2017)

Mudbound
Director: Dee Rees
Writer: Virgil Williams, Dee Rees
Based on: Hillary Jordan‘s novel
Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige, Jonathan Banks
Seen on: 05.04.2020

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism, racial violence

Plot:
Henry McAllan (Jason Mitchell) buys a farm in the last corner of Mississippi without discussing it with his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) who is not thrilled. Nevertheless, they, their children and Henry’s cranky, racist father (Jonathan Banks) make their way there. The farm is being worked on by Hap Jackson (Rob Morgan) and his family who have been tending the land without much hope of ownership for generations. The McAllans and the Jacksons not only have the land in common, though under completely different conditions, but als World War II. Henry’s brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) is a soldier as is Hap’s son Roncel (Jason Mitchell). But the racial divide looms large in more than one way.

Mudbound is an excellent film that carries quite a punch and managed to not only not make me hate voice-over, but actually appreciate it. It’s definitely not easy to watch, but it is even more definitely really good.

The film poster with all of the main characters artfully arranged.
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Wildlife (2018)

Wildlife
Director: Paul Dano
Writer: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan
Based on: Richard Ford‘s novel
Cast: Ed Oxenbould, Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Travis W Bruyer, Zoe Margaret Colletti
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 5.11.2018
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Plot:
Joe (Ed Oxenbould) lives with his parents Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) in what could and should be the standard family of the 1950s. But when Jerry loses his job, things start to fall apart. He finally decides to leave town to find employment, effectively leaving Jeanette and Joe as well. Now Joe has to watch his mother trying to cope with the situation by flirting which puts him in a very difficult situation.

I’m afraid that my expectations for Wildlife were a little too high. It’s not bad, but it just isn’t as great as the cast would suggest.

The film poster showing Carey Mulligan and Jack Gyllenhaal sitting apart in front of a canvas showing the sky, looking at each other.
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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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Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)

Far from the Madding Crowd
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Writer: David Nicholls
Based on: Thomas Hardy‘s novel
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple, Jessica Barden, Michael Sheen
Seen on: 21.7.2015

Plot:
Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is rather poor, but her neighbor Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) whose hard work has seen him well-established as a farmer courts her anyway. But Bathsheba doesn’t want to get married and give up her freedom, and before she can change her mind, Gabriel loses everything and Bathsheba surprisingly inherits a large estate. With their fortunes reversed, Gabriel starts working for Bathsheba who not only tries to run her new farm on her own, but also finds herself entangled with her rich, well-settled neighbor William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) and dashing young officer Francis Troy (Tom Sturridge).

Far from the Madding Crowd is a beautiful piece of cinema: great cast, stunning camera work, perfect score and an engaging, interesting story. I loved it.

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Skylight

Skylight
Director: Stephen Daldry
Writer: David Hare
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy, Matthew Beard

Plot:
Kyra (Carey Mulligan) works as a teacher and lives in a small, pretty crappy apartment – but she likes it. She is surprisingly visited by Edward (Matthew Beard) whose nanny she used to be. Edward feels lonely and abandoned by Kyra, especially since his mother died, but mostly he struggles with his father Tom (Bill Nighy) and hopes for help from Kyra which she can’t really give. After Edward leaves, Tom shows up himself, wanting answers, reconciliation, a fresh start. After all, Kyra left the family when Tom’s wife discovered that Tom and Kyra had an affair. But a lot of time has passed and it is unclear whether such a fresh start is possible – or even desirable.

Skylight is an excellent play and the production we saw is fantastic. It was absolutely captivating.

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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Ethan Phillips, Robin Bartlett, Adam Driver, Stark Sands, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham

Plot:
Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a struggling folk singer whose life is less than glamorous. He has no money – instead he has a floundering solo album. He doesn’t have an apartment – instead he crashes on friends’ couches until they kick him out. He doesn’t have a girlfriend – instead he sleeps with Jean (Carey Mulligan) who is actually with Jim (Justin Timberlake). And Jean is pregnant and needs an abortion because she really doesn’t want Llewyn’s child. So Llewyn has to figure out a way to make it happen.

Inside Llewyn Davis breaks my Coen Brothers rule: I usually only ever like every other film they make and it wouldn’t have been their turn to be liked, but it worked out that way anyway. I was enchanted by Llewyn and the hypnotically slow pace of the film.

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The Great Gatsby (2013)

The Great Gatsby
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writer: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce
Based on: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel
Cast: Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprioCarey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Adelaide Clemens, Amitabh Bachchan, Callan McAuliffe

Plot:
Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) decided to get into the bond business. He moves into a little house just outside of New York and reconnects with his cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan) who lives nearby after getting married to Tom (Joel Edgerton) who comes from a whole lot of old money. Nick’s next door neighbor is a man called Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is filthy rich as well, but from new money. Gatsby celebrates grand parties every weekend. When Nick is invited to one, he finds out that Gatsby and Daisy are somehow connected.

Unfortunately I didn’t love the movie as much as I loved the book. It wasn’t that bad but there were also a few issues, making the movie work only half of the time.

The-Great-Gatsby

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Northanger Abbey (2007)

Northanger Abbey
Director: Jon Jones
Writer: Andrew Davies
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Felicity Jones, JJ Feild, Carey Mulligan, Hugh O’Conor, Catherine Walker, Liam Cunningham, Geraldine James, William Beck

Plot:
Catherine Morland (Felicity Jones) is the daughter of a family with a lot of children and not a whole lot of money. She grew up quite the tomboy, but has recently discovered her love for gothic horror novels. So when the Morland’s neighbors the Allens ask Catherine to come with them to Bath, Catherine is overjoyed to accept, expecting finally an adventure like the ones she read about so much. Once there, she meets Isabella Thorpe (Carey Mulligan) and her brother John (William Beck), friends of Catherine’s brother James (Hugh O’Conor). John shows immediate interest in Catherine, but Catherine is much more interested in Henry Tilney (JJ Feild) and his sister Eleanor (Catherine Walker).

After having fallen in love so much with the book, I was kinda apprehensive about the adaptation living up to it. But I need not have been. They really did a very good job with it and the movie is almost as sweet as the book.

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Shame (2011)

Shame
Director: Steve McQueen
Writer: Abi Morgan, Steve McQueen
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale, Nicole Beharie

Plot:
Brandon (Michael Fassbender) has carefully built his life around his sex addiction. Everyhing revolves around sex for him. When he isn’t flirting, he’s watching porn. When he isn’t getting it for free, he pays for it. The only thing that he stays away from as far as he possibly can is intimacy. But that life completely falls apart when his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) suddenly shows up. She takes up residency on his sofa and bit by bit everything goes to hell.

Shame is depressing, calm, intense and beautiful. It’s a movie that hurts – and I loved it.

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Drive (2011)

Drive
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Hossein Amini
Based on: James Sallis‘ novel
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
The Driver (Ryan Gosling) is actually a stunt man, but he also works as a getaway driver for robberies. He is always on the move. The only constant in his life is his employer/agent/friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston). Shannon tries to find funding to get him established as a race car driver. When the Driver gets involved into a heist for the sake of a friend, things start to go wrong very quickly.

The buzz for Drive is pretty impressive. What’s even more impressive is that it’s also absolutely true. It’s an incredibly intense, well acted and beautifully shot film.

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