Let Me Go (2017)

Director: Polly Steele

Writer: Polly Steele (Screenplay)

Starring: Juliet Stevenson, Jodhi May, Lucy Boynton, Karin Bertling, Stanley Weber, Evan Magyar

 

Plot: Let Me Go is a film about mothers and daughters, it is about ghosts from the past and the impact they leave on the present. Developed from Helga Schneider’s true life story, Let Me Go explores the effect on Helga’s life of being abandoned by her mother, Traudi in 1941 when she was just four years old. The film is set in the year 2000 following not only Helga and Traudi’s journeys but the next two generations and how Beth, Helga’s daughter and Emily her granddaughter are confronted with the long-term effects of Traudi’s leaving. When Helga receives a letter telling her that Traudi is close to death, it is Emily with whom Helga shares the truth. Emily volunteers to accompany her to Vienna to meet the great-grandmother she thought was dead, and experience the unraveling of the darkest of family secrets.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performances

 

Story: Let Me Go starts as Helga (Stevenson) learns her mother Traudi (Bertling) is near death, the same mother that abandoned her 58 years ago. Helga’s daughter Beth (May) is going through her own problems and her daughter Emily (Boynton) has a strong bond with her grandmother.

Helga travels with Emily to confront her mother in Vienna where truths of Traudi’s life come out, while Beth is left at home feeling alone because of the relationship her mother and daughter have. Family secrets come out over the trip both on the trip and back home.

 

Thoughts on Let Me Go

 

Characters – We follow four generations of one family here, Traudi is the oldest, the one that abandoned her daughter during World War II, she is dying and has reached out to reconnect before she dies, even though her past will only bring nightmares to the rest of the family. Helga is the daughter that was abandoned, she has raised her own family with ease believing her mother was dead, only to need to confront her and her past. Beth is Helga’s daughter, divorced and trying to make sure her own daughter has the future she is dreaming off, often left out of place due to the relationship her mother and daughter have. Emily is the youngest member of the family, she is at university and joins Helga in Vienna using the trip to learn about her family and prepare for the course she is taking.

PerformancesWe have four powerful performances from four actresses at different stages of their careers, all four are fantastic with what they must deal with as the story unfolds and learn about the past.

StoryThe story shows us how four generations of one family have been affected by what happened when one Helga was abandoned by her mother, we see how the past has broken the people involved and how sometimes the past is better left kept secret. This is a drama that is heavily involved in how the people react to hearing about what people went through and how the moment that let it all comes.

SettingsThe film uses the two main settings, we see parts in London but we are mostly focused on Vienna which shows us just what the history of one of them will have on the story.


Scene of the Movie –
The moment of truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This doesn’t hit the marks it could for emotional impact.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful performance driven movie that does show a story which is based on a real person, it is an important moment for the four generations of one family will go through.

 

Overall: Powerful performance driven movie.

Rating

 

 

Little (2019) Movie Review

Director: Tina Gordon

Writer: Tracy Oliver, Tina Gordon (Screenplay)

Starring: Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin, Justin Hartley, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tone Bell, Mikey Day, JD McCray

Plot: A woman is transformed into her younger self at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear.


Tagline – She woke up like This.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Strong Performances, Weak Laughs

Story: Little starts as we meet strict boss Jordan Sanders (Hall) who treats everybody badly with her bossy mentality, which has grown in her since her time at school, she walks all over everybody in her business, with her assistant April (Rae) dealing with most of her abuse.

With Jordan’s biggest client about to walk away from the company and the pressure is cranked up and things only get worse for Jordan, when a little girl sees her ways, wishes she was little again, Jordan (Martin) now school kid age must return to school, leaving April to run company for her.

Thoughts on Little

Characters – Jordan Sanders is the strict boss that always looks down on people, bullying them into the work in her life, she has made plenty of enemies along the way and is about to lose her biggest client. Caught in the act of her bossy ways, she turns back to her teenage self, one that was bullied, never fitted in and here she must learn a lesson about herself and her future. April has been the assistant to Jordan for years now, she does want to be her own woman with her own ideas, which as always shot down by Jordan, when Jordan becomes little, she turns to April who gets her chance to step up in her life, proving to be a friend that Jordan never thought she would have.

PerformancesRegina Hall does well as the strict bossy figure, but it is Issa Rae and Marsai Martin that shine the most bringing their characters to full life in the position where they wouldn’t normally see themselves.

StoryThe story here follows a successful strict boss that gets turned back to her younger self, forcing her to let people do things for her, while trying to learn a lesson about letting people into her own life. We have seen the body swapping ideas before, while this isn’t a full body swap, it does show how damaged somebody can be, making them closed off from the rest of the world. While this story might have a deeper meaning about how to make the best decisions in life, certain pop culture references, don’t help everything and we do end up not spending enough time with the school side of little Jordan’s time, which is where she is meant to learn the most.

Comedy/Fantasy/RomanceThe comedy in the film doesn’t hit well enough for the most part, it all seems like everybody is trying to hard, rather than being naturally funny, the fantasy side of the film looks how a spell could change somebody, just like any fantasy body swapping film, with the romance being there, only not getting enough time to focus on.

SettingsThe film shows the successful selfish life Jordan has ended up living, it shows how Jordan is only interested in her own life.


Scene of the Movie – Little Jordan’s first day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of the comedy doesn’t work.

Final Thoughts This is a basic comedy that does have a bigger message about treating people better in life, or you will end up finding themselves alone when they need help the most.

Overall: Simple Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – L – La Vie en Rose (2007)

Director: Olivier Dahan

Writer: Isabelle Sobelman, Olivier Dahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Emmanuelle, Gerard Depardieu, Jean-Pierre Martins

 

Plot: Biopic of the iconic French singer Édith Piaf. Raised by her grandmother in a brothel, she was discovered while singing on a street corner at the age of 19. Despite her success, Piaf’s life was filled with tragedy.


Tagline – The passionate life of Edith Piaf

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cotillard is Outstanding

 

Story: La Vie en Rose starts when young Edith is left in her grandmother’s care in her brothel where prostitute Titine (Seigner) becomes her best friend, she suffers here after becoming sick and newly losing her sight. Taken to the circus by her father, it isn’t long before the two find themselves alone with Edith showing signs of her singing ability.

At the age of 20 Edith (Cotillard) is singing on the street corners with her friend Momone (Testud) before she gets noticed by Louise Leplee (Depardieu) who offers her a chance to sing in his clubs, this is just the beginning of her career as a performer. Edith’s life never went a smoothly as many others because behind the scenes we had plenty of problems.

 

Thoughts on La Vie en Rose

 

Characters – Edith Piaf is the famous French singer, she didn’t start on the top, we learn the struggles she faced, with her upbringing in a brothel and circus, before turning to the streets as a singer. Given the chance to perform on stage she never looked back when it came to performing, but she did enjoy partying which catches up with her as people try to control her rise to the top. Through the film we meet people that are important in Edith’s life, though one thing becomes clear, she doesn’t seem to stay around many people for too long.

PerformancesMarion Cotillard won an Oscar for this performance, you can see why, she is fantastic cover multiply different years of the singer making each age seem realistic for the audience to understand the struggles she is facing next. Everyone else in the film is great, though most struggle to reach the complete level Cotillard achieves in this film.

StoryThe story follows the life and career of performer Edith Piaf one of the most famous French singers of all time, we see how her life started with the battles to get out of the brothel and off the streets, to be where she belonged, on the stage, however many tragic events came her way. The story is told with plenty of time jumps between different ages which at times can be frustrating because this style of movie is often better to watch in the linear process, even if it is somebody looking back on life. Away from that little nit-pick, we see how amazing the story of Edith was with her final performance being the most iconic of all her songs.

Biopic/RomanceWe get to see most of the important moments in Edith’s life with this story, the performances and the tragic moments.

SettingsEach setting used in the film shows us just how the film was able to recreate the location that would have been used for the real moments in the life of the singer, with the performances feeling like they would be where they would really have taken place.


Scene of the Movie –
The final performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The time jumps are off putting at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant biopic that shows just how talents Cotillard is and teaches us about a brilliant singer that will never be forgotten.

 

Overall: Brilliant Biopic.

Rating

 

 

The Lighthouse (2019) Movie Review

Director: Robert Eggers

Writer: Max Eggers, Robert Eggers (Screenplay)

Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman

Plot: Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.


Tagline – There is enchantment in the light.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Atmospheric

Story: The Lighthouse starts as the two lighthouse keepers Thomas Wake (Dafoe) and rookie Ephraim Winslow (Pattinson) arrive at their remote lighthouse, Thomas wants to work with the light, while making Ephraim do the housework and maintenance work.

The two men have no previous connection, which sees Ephraim wanting to play by the rulebook, while Thomas is will to let his experience guide the time together, seeing the two clash, as superstitions start to take control of what Ephraim is allowed to do. Add in the mystery of a creature Ephraim keeps seeing, he is trying to unlock the mystery of the island, one he believes Thomas isn’t letting him know about.

Thoughts on The Lighthouse

Characters – Thomas Wake is the experienced lighthouse keeper, he has been doing this for decades, sacrificed family to do so. He is strict, wanting to only deal with the light responsibilities taking advantage of his rookie partner, he doesn’t show him any respect unless he is drunk, while keeping a mystery about the island to himself. Ephraim Winslow is the rookie lighthouse keeper on his very first job, he has learnt the rulebook wanting to play along with it to make sure the job is done well, he finds himself becoming the housekeeper doing the chores around the island, keeping everything operating smoothly. He starts to question what is happening on the island, having visions of a mysterious creature, all while trying to prove himself to Thomas.

PerformancesWillem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are both truly outstanding in this film, in the last couple of years we have seen plenty of lighthouse based films, with these two giving the best performances in any of them by a long way.

StoryThe story here follows two men with different levels of experience working on an island lighthouse, where they soon start to see the strange event happening, leaving themselves to question their sanity. This is a story that does keep you wondering just what is going to happen next, while we can start in the non-horror side of the story, we see how the two must put up with each other, finding the only joint idea being, having too many drinks, the respect does start to grow. When we look at the horror side of the story we are left scratching our heads, trying to unlock the truth, where everything is more about the sanity of the human mind over anything else, showing just how mentally challenging the roles of lighthouse keepers really were.

HorrorThe horror comes from seeing just how the human mind could start to unfold, we might have a few creature related scares, but the human mind slowly going into insanity is where the real horrors lay.

SettingsThe film is set on the single remote island, with the lighthouse being the only building, it reflects the complete isolation the two characters are living through.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we do have strong ones when we need them, we don’t turn to a constant onslaught of needing them, but when an injury or unusual situation happens the characters react like anybody would.


Scene of the Movie – Drinking and dancing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much maritime talk.

Final Thoughts This is one of the most surreal horrors of the year, it will offer plenty of questions with performances that are truly outstanding.

Overall: Surreal.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2019 – L – The Lion King (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Jeff Nathanson (Screenplay) Brenda Chapman (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Donald Glover, Beyonce

Plot: After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.


Tagline – Be Prepared.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Animation is Fantastic, the Rest is Terrible

Story: The Lion King starts as a young lion cub Simba learns about the kingdom his father Mufasa rules, he learns his place in the pride and just what he will need to do to be prepared to take over one day. As Simba continues to want to learn about his place, he only gets himself into more trouble, forcing him to leave.

As Simba grows up under the guidance of Timon and Pumbaa, he learns to take life more laidback until Nala finds him, getting Simba to return to end Scar’s reign of terror on the kingdom.

Thoughts on The Lion King

Characters – Simba is the young king to be, he is starts as a cub that is exploring his future kingdom, already wanting to break the rules, as a cub he attitude towards Scar doesn’t make their bond get any better. After he is forced to run and hide after his father’s death, he sees a new lifestyle, until he learns that he must learn his rightful place in pride rock. Scar is the brother to Mufasa, he was next in line to be king before Simba and he wants his chance of being king of the pride, he has always been planning his own ideas to take over, breaking the rules, close to be exiled. Mufasa is the king of pride rock, every animal looks up to him and he protects the land fairly. Zazu is very annoying, it sad that they decide to make more bout the voice actors stand up than an actual character. Timon and Pumbaa are the unlikely partnership of a warthog and a meerkat that helps Simba see life in a different way and want to use him as protection for their own life, they do have excellent chemistry though.

StoryThe story here follows a young lion cub that sees his father killed and must learn his place in the world to reclaim his rightful place as king. This is a remake of the 1994 version of the film, with the story offering little to nothing new to what we saw back then in storytelling, it does seem to make more out of the villainous ways of Scar, with him always holding a grudge against Mufasa, knowing he could never replace him. Simba however is made to feel a lot more annoying as the cub, he is an entitled character who only seems to care about himself. If you want to see the same story, it is a lot easier and more reward to watch the 1994 version.

Adventure/MusicalThe adventure is showing how Simba must learn about his future even after running from his past., the musical side of the film, well we are going to go through the songs comparing them to the originals,

  • The Circle of Life – Weak

  • I Just Can’t Wait to be King – Lacks the Sparkle

  • Be Prepared – Serious what was this?

  • Hakuna Matata – Passable, the best of the songs so far, but still not on the level of magic as the original.

  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight – Cut too short.

  • Can You Feel the Love Tonight – Oh, Boy this was bad.

  • Spirit is a new song and is the only one that seems to fit this film.

SettingsThe film does recreate the original settings, well but this is more about just how good the animation really is.

AnimationHowever much we can talk about the weaknesses in this film, the one true standout part of the film is the animation which looks beautiful and the team involved should get all the praise in the world.


Scene of the Movie – Timon and Pumbaa’s entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Simba is more annoying this time around.

Final Thoughts This is such a pointless remake that only gets the praise for the pure quality of the animation being used, otherwise it just does nothing.

Overall: Just Terribly weak outside of the Animation team.