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Short Reviews of Films

Like many of you, I spent a reasonable amount of time this Winter watching films and telly. With a couple of months left to watch films and telly, here’s some of what I’ve enjoyed so far.

Animals
It’s been pitched as two young women being total drunken ladettes, and there is an element of that, but it’s so much more. A really touching depiction of friendship alongside the struggle to do something “meaningful” that doesn’t descend into mawkish “Eat-Pray-Love” bollocks or dark cynicism. Alia Shawkat is fab but Holliday Grainger is a revelation. Highly recommended.

Damsels in Distress
We’ve been doing a bit of a deep-dive into Greta Gerwigs career and this 2011 outlier caught my attention as something maybe a bit lighter than some of the Noah Baumbach collaborations. It is, but it also kinda isn’t, in that Gerwig’s character is not all there (a mix of OCD and Asperges is hinted at), but then neither are any of the other students at the college, and the heightened surreality of the film makes everything flow nicely over the dark undertones. Written and directed by Whit Last Days of Disco Stillman.

Let It Snow
This teen rom-com ensemble came to my attention via the Guardian’s “Films you might have missed” roundup, standing out like a sore thumb amongst the euro-arthouse-misery flicks. I recognised a couple of the cast so gave it a go, and it’s wonderful. Nothing original, nothing revolutionary, completely by the numbers, but the young acting talent is fantastic. Isabela Moner in particular is someone to watch.

Charlie Says
I’ll always seek out a Mary Harron film - she does great work that, with the exception of American Psycho, always seem to slip under the critical radar. I Shot Andy Warhol introduced me and my friends to the wonders of Valerie Solanas and The Notorious Bettie Page was definitely the better Page biopic. This film looks like it’s going to be all about Charles Manson, which is potentially a big yawn, but it’s actually about the three women who committed the murders on his instructions and is framed by their conversations with graduate student Karlene Faith, played by the wonderful Merritt Weaver. I will watch anything where Merritt Weaver talks sympathetically with damaged women (see also the amazing Unbelievable.) Her voice is like the best hug ever.

That’ll do for now.

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