Misbehaviour (2020)

Misbehaviour
Director: Philippa Lowthorpe
Writer: Rebecca Frayn, Gaby Chiappe
Cast: Keira Knightley, Jessie Buckley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ruby Bentall, Lily Newmark, Maya Kelly, Loreece Harrison, Suki Waterhouse, Clara Rosager, John Heffernan, Rhys Ifans, Keeley Hawes, Phyllis Logan, Greg Kinnear, Lesley Manville
Seen on: 14.10.2020

Content Note: (critical treatment of) sexism, racism

Plot:
Sally Alexander (Keira Knightley) is active in the women’s group on her campus and struggles against the sexist condecension she encounters every day. Through that group she also meets Jo (Jessie Buckley) who has a more radical approach to feminism and doesn’t mind a little rule-breaking here and there – the system needs to be overthrown, after all. Sally is taken aback by Jo’s brash manner at first, but she is also drawn to her and her group. When they start to plan a big protest against the Miss World pageant, Sally joins in. Meanwhile, the Miss World preparations are going strong, especially after they had to face some criticism in the past few years. Among the contestants is Jennifer Hosten, Miss Grenada (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who is hoping to win, as unlikely as that is for a Black woman.

Misbehaviour tries many things, and with most things it is rather successful in its attempt to marry light-hearted comedy with complicated political and feminist issues.It’s both fun and gratifying to watch.

The film poster showing Jennifer Hosten (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) seated on a throne, Sally (Keira Knightley) and Jo (Jessie Buckley) in front of her and Dolores Hope (Leslie Manville), Eric Morley (Rhys Ifans), Julia Morley (Keeley Hawes) and Bob Hope (Greg Kinnear) behind them.
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Dolittle (2020)

Dolittle
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Writer: Stephen Gaghan, Dan Gregor, Doug Mand, Chris McKay
Based on: Hugh Lofting‘s books
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Harry Collett, Carmel Laniado, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Kasia Smutniak, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Jason Mantzoukas
Seen on: 13.2.2020
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Plot:
Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) has a gift: he’s a veterinarian who can talk to the animals directly. But every since his wife (Kasia Smutniak) was lost at sea, he hasn’t worked anymore. This changes quickly, when he gets two visitors in a day: the first one is Tommy (Harry Collett) who brings in a hurt squirrel, and the second is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who brings the news that the Queen (Jessie Buckley) may well be dying if Dolittle doesn’t help – and that would mean that he’d lose his entire estate. Forced from his isolation, Dolittle takes on the case – and Tommy makes sure to be part of it.

Dolittle has potential – Downey Jr. surrounded by animals voiced by a whole lot of excellent people? What can go wrong? A lot, apparently. Maybe this film should serve as a case study for that.

The film poster showing Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) surrounded by various animals.
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Judy (2019)

Judy
Director: Rupert Goold
Writer: Tom Edge
Based on: Peter Quilter‘s play End of the Rainbow
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Darci Shaw, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, Richard Cordery, Royce Pierreson, Andy Nyman, Daniel Cerqueira, Bella Ramsey, Lewin Lloyd
Seen on: 22.1.2020

Plot:
To say Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) has seen better days is putting it pretty mildly: the glory days of the former child star (Darci Shaw) are over. Now she’s fighting her ex-husband Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell) for the custody of their children (Bella Ramsey, Lewin Lloyd). But since she has no money, no home and practically no work, she doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Begrudgingly, she therefore accepts an invitation to do a show in London, even if it means separation from the kids for now – and probably more pressure than she can actually handle.

Judy is, I’d say, okay as a film but elevated above and beyond its overall quality by Zellweger’s amazing performance and the fascination Judy Garland herself can inspire without actually being present herself in the film.

The film poster showing Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger)
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The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale
Director: Kenneth Branagh, Rob Ashford
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Miranda Raison, John Shrapnel, Hadley Fraser, Tom Bateman, Jessie Buckley, Michael Pennington
Seen on: 26.11.2015

Plot:
Leontes (Kenneth Branagh), King of Sicily, is visited by his old friend Polixenes (Hadley Fraser), King of Bohemia. When Polixenes wants to leave, Leontes asks his pregnant wife Hermione (Miranda Raison) to convince him to stay. When she succeeds, Leontes believes it’s because she and Polixenes have an affair. Convinced that the child isn’t his, Leontes tries to poison Polixenes and imprisons Hermione, setting events in motion that will have consequences for years to come.

The Winter’s Tale is a mixed bag of beans. While I enjoyed much about it and it really was a high quality production, there were so many unnecessary things that kept adding length when I was hoping for speed that the overall effect was rather meh.

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