The Shape of Water (2017)

The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Hewlett
Seen on: 15.2.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Elisa (Sally Hawkins) works as a cleaning lady in a big research facility. That facility has recently become the home, or rather prison, of a mysterious sea creature (Doug Jones) that the scientists want to study and exploit. Elisa discovers the creature by chance, but she quickly becomes friends with him, teaching him sign language. But the facility, and above all Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon) have plans for the creature – and they are not necessarily humane.

I liked The Shape of Water in many things, but I found its treatment of disability absolutely problematic – and that soured things considerably for me. I still ended up finding it mostly sweet, but it should have been better about that.

Continue reading
Advertisements

Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington 2
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King, Simon Farnaby
Based on: Michael Bond‘s books
Sequel to: Paddington
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie WaltersHugh Grant, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Marie-France Alvarez, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ben Miller, Jessica Hynes, Robbie Gee, Richard Ayoade, Brendan Gleeson, Joanna Lumley
Seen on: 9.12.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Having settled with the Brown family and in the community, Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is happy. And his Aunt Lucy’s (Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday is coming up, so he is looking for the perfect present. He finds it in Samuel Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) shop: a pop-up picture book of London. But he needs a job to earn money to get it – which is not so easy as a small bear. And then it seems that Paddington isn’t the only one interested in the book at all as it gets stolen, and he gets in trouble for it.

As with Coco, I heard a lot of good things about Paddington 2 beforehand, and again I thought that the resulting film was even better than I expected from what I heard before. It’s a wonderful film that had me floating on a pink cotton candy cloud out of the cinema. What more could you ask of a film?

Continue reading

Maudie (2016)

Maudie
Director: Aisling Walsh
Writer: Sherry White
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett, Billy MacLellan
Seen on: 18.11.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Maud (Sally Hawkins) needs to get out from under her family’s wing. She sees her opportunity when she learns that grumpy Everett (Ethan Hawke) is looking for a housekeeper. Even though he is hesitant to take her on because of her disability, he doesn’t exactly have much choice and Maud is persistent, so they give it a try. In her off time, Maud starts to paint and polishes her personal style, while also finding a home in the community and with Everett.

Althoughe Maudie is a sweet film, I’m not entirely happy with it. Some things I knew going in would bother me, other things crept up on me during the film. Nevertheless I found it entertaining.

Continue reading

Persuasion (2007)

Persuasion
Director: Adrian Shergold
Writer: Simon Burke
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Rupert Penry-Jones, Alice Krige, Anthony Head, Julia Davis, Peter Wight, Marion Bailey, Amanda Hale, Tobias Menzies
Seen on: 28.6.2015
[Here’s my review of the 1995 version.]

Plot:
Many years ago, Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins) was engaged to Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones), but took the advice of her motherly friend Lady Russell (Alice Krige), as well as listened to the opinions of her father Sir Walter (Anthony Head) and her sister Elizabeth (Julia Davis)and dissolved the engagement since Wentworth didn’t have much standing. Quite by coincidence Frederick is back in her life after years in the Navy and has made a name for himself as well as a fortune. Anne is convinced, though, that he will never forgive her for her past actions. And when her cousin William Elliot (Tobias Menzies) starts courting her, she might be getting another chance, despite being alread 27 years old and still unmarried.

Despite my love for Sally Hawkins, this version of Persuasion absolutely did not work for me. Which is not her fault, but mostly due to the script and the direction.

Persuasion2007 Continue reading

Paddington (2014)

Paddington
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King
Based on: Michael Bond‘s books
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Matt Lucas, Steve Oram, Alice Lowe

Plot:
The bear Paddingtion (Ben Whishaw) was happily living with his aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon) in the Peruvian jungle. But when their home gets destroyed, Lucy sends Paddington to London, hoping that he will find a safe home there, as promised by an explorer who visited them a long time ago. Thankfully shortly after his arrival in London, Paddington meets the Browns –  Mary (Sally Hawkins), Henry (Hugh Bonneville) and their children Judy (Madeleine Harris) and Jonathan (Samuel Joslin). Together they start to look for the explorer to find Paddington his safe place. But not everyone is out to help Paddington.

The trailer for Paddington looked awful, full of unfunny slapstick and grossness. I wanted to see it despite the trailer, but was prepared for the worst. And (apart from the general postcolonial qualms I have about the story) I was pleasantly surprised by the film that is much sweeter and funnier than the trailer made me think it was.

Paddington Continue reading

Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla
Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer: Max Borenstein
Based on: Gojira
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Ty Olsson

Plot:
Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) used to work at a nuclear power plant in Japan until an accident claimed Sandra’s life and left Joe convinced that there was something more to it. As he tries to figure out what it could have been, it’s his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who suffers for it. Years later Ford is again called to Japan to help with his father who doesn’t care about the legality of his research that much. And it turns out that Joe was right all along and suddenly Ford finds himself in the middle of a fight against monsters.

Godzilla has beautiful special effects and a good cast but unfortunately also bland characters and a stereotypical story. It just couldn’t hold my interest.

Godzilla Continue reading

w Delta z (2007)

w Delta z
Director: Tom Shankland
Writer: Clive Bradley
Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Melissa George, Ashley Walters, Tom Hardy, Selma Blair, Sally Hawkins

Plot:
Detective Eddie Argo (Stellan Skarsgård) is investigating a series of murders with his new partner Helen Westcott (Melissa George). The bodies all have parts of an equation carved into their skin. They all seem to lead back to a horrific crime that happened a few years ago and that Eddie was deeply involved with. But what do the killings have to do with the equation?

w Delta z is a rather idiosyncratic film. It feels like a philosophical thought experiment in movie form. For long stretches that is interesting, but sometimes the film part suffers for it. But it’s always thought-provoking.

W-Delta-Z

Continue reading

Blue Jasmine (2013)

Blue Jasmine
Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alden Ehrenreich, Louis C.K., Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay

Plot:
Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) married rich when she was younger, but then her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) was arrested and she lost everything. So she turns to her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) for shelter, despite their strained relationship and even though Ginger lives way beyond the standards Jasmine is used to. Jasmine tries to get back on her feet but she isn’t in the most stable state of minds to begin with.

Blue Jasmine mostly lives off Cate Blanchett’s incredible performance, but otherwise pretty much continues Woody Allen’s streak of lukewarm films (as far as I have seen them).

bluejasmine

Continue reading

Jane Eyre (2011)

Jane Eyre
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Writer: Moira Buffini
Based on: Charlotte Brontë’s novel
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins, Craig Roberts, Harry Lloyd, Imogen Poots

Plot:
Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) is an orphan, growing up with her aunt Mrs Reed (Sally Hawkins), where she suffers a lot of abuse until she is sent to boarding school, where she suffers even more abuse. When she turns 18, she leaves there to take up a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall, which belongs to Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender). Jane and Rochester quickly connect with each other – but there is a secret in Thornfield Hall.

Jane Eyre was wonderful – one of the rare examples where the movie is actually better than the book. That cast, that cinematography, the costumes (and when I notice costumes, that’s freaking saying something)… Just wow.

Continue reading

Submarine (2010)

Submarine
Director: Richard Ayoade
Writer: Richard Ayoade
Based on: Joe Dunthorne‘s novel
Cast: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Oliver (Craig Roberts) is 15 years odl, an outsider and in love with Jordana (Yasmin Paige), who is pretty much out of his league – until he participates in a bit of mobbying and gains her favor. But while things seem to work out fine with Jordana, the marriage of Oliver’s parents (Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor) apparently falls apart when his mother’s first love Graham (Paddy Considine) moves back into the neighboring house.

The first 30 minutes or so are pretty much the perfect coming of age film. Entertaining, smart, sensitive, creative and funny. And then it just loses its momentum and peters out, leaving you wondering what the hell happened there.

Continue reading