LFF 2017 Review Round-Up #6

Lady Bird

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Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age dramedy is not the runaway hit you might expect. That’s not a slight on its quality: Lady Bird is a wonderful, perfectly realised depiction of a teenage girl (Saoirse Ronan) in her last year of high school. However, it would be misleading to go in expecting to be immediately blown away. While its small pleasures are gratifying in the moment, it wasn’t until after the film was over that it started growing on me as something larger than the sum of its parts. Through episodic storytelling Gerwig has crafted a remarkably comprehensive portrait of growing up: trying on new identities, having new experiences, testing the boundaries of new and old relationships, and longing for something more than the small town you grew up in ― while coming to terms with how much you’ll miss it when you’re gone. In its detailed specificity, Lady Bird articulates emotions that are recognisable, and will be applicable to many of our memories of youth. It’s destined to be loved for many, for many years to come.


Angels Wear White

LFF 2017 Review Round-Up #6

Angels Wear White

Vivian Qu’s Angels Wear White was the only film in this year’s Venice Film Festival competition that was directed by a woman. Fitting then that Qu’s film is so unapologetically female gaze. Many films about rape come off sickeningly misjudged, but Angels Wear White prioritises the emotions of the victims and the other women surrounding the case, rather than sensationalising the act itself (which is not shown). It is a horrifying exposé of rape culture that crucially ends on a note that is not happy, but defiant

The Breadwinner

Following a young girl in Afghanistan who dresses as a boy in order to provide for her family, Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon’s latest is a gorgeous piece of hand crafted art. Unfortunately, the film falters when it gets too caught up in the visual wonder of its storytelling. Rather than making the body of the story feel substantial, a large chunk of the film is devoted to animating bedtime stories that protagonist Parvana (Saara Chaudry) tells to her younger brother. It’s a shame that this should distract from a narrative that is, in itself, compelling

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will be a hit with audiences. It unexpectedly won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. Three Billboards may look like a black comedy with dramatic elements, but it’s really a drama with elements of black comedy. McDonagh’s signature wit in no way dims the huge emotional impact of the story of a mother (Frances McDormand) seeking revenge on the man who raped and murdered her daughter. The film is episodic, with scenes that work in a vacuum but struggle to connect as a cohesive whole. Still, it is both entertaining and moving


The Boy Downstairs

LFF 2017 Review Round-Up #6

The Boy Downstairs

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Sophie Brooks’ rom-com The Boy Downstairs is not even for fans of the genre ― of which I am one. To her credit, she captures natural speech patterns realistically, but there’s absolutely nothing more to the film than that. It is uninvolving and uninteresting in every way, making no effort to separate itself from the standard formula. Being conventional isn’t so bad though, as long as your film has warmth. This doesn’t.

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<p>Orla thinks that Sofia Coppola is the greatest living director, so you’ll probably disagree with her at least 50% of the time. At least. She was born and raised in Watford which, for all you internationals out there, is near enough to London for you to mentally-register it as such, if you don’t know what a Watford is. She’s studying film and hopes to make a few of them herself one day, but in the meantime she’s happy watching, writing and talking about them every hour of every day. Really, it’s unhealthy. Somebody should stop her.</p>