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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The Happy Prince (2018)

The Happy Prince
Director: Rupert Everett
Writer: Rupert Everett
Cast: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Colin Morgan, Emily Watson, Anna Chancellor, Tom Wilkinson, Béatrice Dalle, Edwin Thomas
Seen on: 6.6.2018

Plot:
Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett) has been through hell and he knows that he won’t make it much longer. Reflecting on some of the most important relationships in his life – with his wife Constance (Emily Watson), his great love Alfred Bosie (Colin Morgan), his friend Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas) – he keeps returning to one question: how did things end up the way they did?

Oscar Wilde is a fascinating figure and looking at the darker moments of his life is certainly interesting. Unfortunately, the way the story is told in this film doesn’t work at all. In fact, it’s pretty bad.

Film poster for The Happy Prince (2018), showing Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde and Colin Morgan as Alfred Bosie Douglas walking down some steps in the sunshine.
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Everest (2015)

Everest
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writer: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy
Cast: Jason Clarke, John HawkesJosh Brolin, Naoko Mori, Michael KellyMartin Henderson, Jake GyllenhaalAng Phula Sherpa, Pemba Sherpa, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Elizabeth Debicki, Robin WrightVanessa Kirby, Clive Standen, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson
Seen on: 5.10.2015

Plot:
Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) thought he found his niche when he established guided tours up Mount Everest for more or less amateur climbers, but since he started, many others have followed his lead and now base camp is full with groups – one of them led by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal). Rob, too, brings yet another group to climb the top, among them journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), postman Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), enthusiastic climber Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) and Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori) who wants to complete her collection of over 8000m peaks she’s climbed. But the group encounters more than one problem.

I’m not a mountain person. I don’t even understand skiing as a pastime, something people do voluntarily (and I’m fucking Austrian). So the concept of climbing Mount Everest is utterly alien to me. I understand it even less after having seen this film.

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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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The Theory of Everything (2014)

The Theory of Everything
Director: James Marsh
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Based on: Jane Wilde Hawking‘s autobiography
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Harry Lloyd, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Christian McKay, Simon McBurney, Maxine Peake
Seen on: 06.01.2015 [cornholio suggested I add that info to my posts, let me know what you think.]

Plot:
Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) is a brilliant, but a little aimless physics student who not only spends his time studying, but also having fun with his friend Brian (Harry Lloyd). During one of their outings he meets Jane (Felicity Jones) and they fall in love. But then Stephen is diagnosed with an illness said to kill him in a very short time. Supported by Jane, he takes up the fight to survive and finish his studies and surpasses all expectations – not only regarding his health, but also his scientific accomplishments.

The Theory of Everything is a nice film, but it is so completely paint by the numbers, that it is also boring. It never does anything really wrong, but there is also nothing that really makes it stand out.

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Belle (2013)

Belle
Director: Amma Asante
Writer: Misan Sagay
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sam Reid, Tom Wilkinson, Emily WatsonPenelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, James Norton, Tom Felton, Matthew Goode

Plot:
18th century Britain. John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) had a relationship with a black woman which resulted in a daughter. He decides to accept Belle as his own despite being a nobleman and she being black and brings her to his aunt and uncle, Lady (Emily Watson) and Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) while he himself has to go back to sea. Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) grows up as a noblewoman together with her cousin Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon). But in a country where slavery is still going strong, Belle will never be a fully accepted member of society.

Belle was a wonderful film: sweet, romantic, political, feminist, outspoken and beautiful. It became my favorite Jane Austen movie without actual Jane Austen involvment straight away.

belle

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The Book Thief (2013)

The Book Thief
Director: Brian Percival
Writer: Michael Petroni
Based on: Markus Zusak’s novel
Cast: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily WatsonNico LierschBen Schnetzer, Roger Allam, Heike Makatsch, Barbara Auer

Plot:
Death (Roger Allam) tells the story of the Book Thief: Liesel (Sophie Nélisse), a young girl who, after the death of her brother, gets dropped off by her mother (Heike Makatsch) with a foster family (Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson). While World War II takes Liesel’s surroundings in Bavaria and her foster parents hide a Jew, Max (Ben Schnetzer), in their basement, she and her best friend Rudy (Nico Liersch) are more taken with a little mischief. And Liesel is inexorably drawn to books, even when or maybe especially when she has to steal them.

I really loved the book but unfortunately that did not extend to the film. Weird accents, unfortunate plot changes and quite generally lengths overshadowed the film’s qualities for me.

thebookthief

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Anna Karenina (2012)

Anna Karenina
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Tom Stoppard
Based on: Leo Tolstoy‘s novel (which I wrote about very shortly here)
Cast: Keira Knightley, Aaron Johnson, Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Ruth Wilson, Olivia Williams, Holliday Grainger, Emily Watson, Michelle Dockery, Steve Evets, Bill Skarsgard

Plot:
Anna (Keira Knightley) has been married to Alexei Karenin (Jude Law) for quite a while. It’s a marriage of convenience, but one that works quite well. Anna gives all her love to their son and seems content. That is, until she travels to Moscow to reconcile her brother Stiva (Matthew Macfadyen) with his wife Dolly (Kelly Macdonald) on whom he cheated. In Moscow, Anna meets Alexei Vronsky (Aaron Johnson), a young count who had been courting Dolly’s sister Kitty (Alicia Vikander), more or less seriously. Anna and Vronsky feel drawn to each other immediately – so much so that Anna basically flees back to St. Petersburg. But Vronsky follows her there, kicking off events that slowly spiral Anna’s life completely out of control.

The movie started and I immediately and irrevocably fell in love with it. And it didn’t disappoint me for one moment. It is a thing of beauty that I could watch over and over again.

Anna-Karenina

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War Horse (2011)

War Horse
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Lee Hall, Richard Curtis
Based on: Michael Morpurgo‘s novel
Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Kross, Niels Arestrup, Celine Buckens, Toby Kebbell, Eddie Marsan, Liam Cunningham

Plot:
Albert (Jeremy Irvine) has fallen in love with his neighbor’s foal and is out of his mind with joy when his father (Peter Mullan) actually buys the by now grown horse. Unfortunately they can’t actually afford it. But Albert begs until his mother (Emily Watson) allows him to keep Joey and together they find a way. That is, until war breaks out and Joey is bought by Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) and shipped off to war. Will Joey and Albert ever find each other again?

This movie was so freaking long, I don’t even have words for it. And my 12 year old me would hate me for saying this but: there was just too much of this damned horse.*

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Cemetery Junction (2010)

Cemetery Junction is the newest movie by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, starring Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan, Felicity Jones, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

Plot:
1973. Freddie (Christian Cooke) just got a job at the local insurance company, which he believes will make all his dreams come true – house, wife, kids, not working in a factory like his friend Bruce (Tom Hughes). But things get shaken up when it turns out that Freddie’s mentor Mike (Matthew Goode) is dating the boss’ (Ralph Fiennes) daughter Julie (Felitcity Jones). Julie and Freddie used to be friends as kids, and hit it off again right away.

Cemetery Junction is not what you expect Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant movie. Neither of them plays a big part and their usual humor is mostly absent. Instead, it’s a sweet, funny and romantic coming-of-age story.

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