Victoria & Abdul (2017)

Victoria & Abdul
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Lee Hall
Based on: Shrabani Basu’s book
Cast: Judi DenchAli FazalTim Pigott-SmithEddie IzzardAdeel AkhtarMichael GambonPaul HigginsOlivia WilliamsFenella WoolgarJulian WadhamRobin SoansRuth McCabeSimon Callow
Seen on: 14.10.2017

As Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) celebrates the 50th year of her reign, two Muslim Indians are chosen to present her with a commemorative coin. One of them is Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). Abdul is excited at the chance to visit England and see the Queen, and in his excitement he forgets the most important rule and makes eye-contact with her. Instead of catastrophe, this leads to Victoria striking up a friendship with Abdul who teaches her about India and much more.

Victoria & Abdul left me deeply uncomfortable and its blatant ignorance of colonialism and the power structures involved – despite the topic at hand. That overshadowed everything else for me.

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Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot
Director: Stephen Daldry
Writer: Lee Hall (book and lyrics), Elton John (music)
Based on: their film
Cast: Brodie Donoguher, Thomas Hazelby, Euan Garrett, Nat Sweeney, Ruthie Henshall, Deka Walmsley, Matthew Seadon-Young, Gillian Elisa, Howard Crossley, Phil Snowden
Seen on: 26.10.2015

Billy (either Brodie Donoguher, Thomas Hazelby, Euan Garrett or Nat Sweeney) lives with his father (Deka Walmsley), his brother (Matthew Seadon-Young) and his grandmother (Gillian Elisa) in a small mining town in northern England. While the miners are on prolongued strike, people try and keep up some kind of routine. For Billy this includes going to boxing training every week. But one day Billy stays behind after class and gets caught up in the ballet training. He discovers that dancing is much more to his liking than boxing anyway.

I’m a huge fan of the film that this play was based on and I had heard only good things about the play in advance. Plus, it was my third attempt to catch it in London and I had even missed the transmission in Austrian cinemas earlier this year. So when it finally worked out this time, you can imagine that my anticipation was strong and my expectations were high. Happily the play has no problems fulfilling those expectations.

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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

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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