By Orla Smith.
TRY TO SEE…
Ingrid Goes West
Ingrid Goes West could have easily been condescending. It’s not a film about how the internet is bad though: it is simply a perceptive, empathetic (but also satirical) portrait of internet obsession. A statement rather than a lecture; this is how it is, now you decide how it should be. Aubrey Plaza plays Instagram obsessed Ingrid with an understanding that her character is mentally ill. The film is very funny, but it ultimately takes her mental illness seriously. Elizabeth Olsen is equally as good. Her performance as a vapid LA lifestyle blogger recalls Emma Watson’s brilliant turn in The Bling Ring. Ingrid Goes West is a whole lot of fun, and maybe a bit too relatable.
In Jeune Femme, Laetitia Dosch plays the young woman of the title with unapologetic ferocity. The film starts with her splitting open her head and manically pleading directly into the camera’s lens. Jump cuts immerse us in her fractured, impatient mind. As a character study, Léonor Serraille Camera d’Or winning debut is impeccable, if not exactly gripping. Jeune Femme is aimless and happy to be. It lacks momentum, but it cannot be faulted for the execution of its intentions: to show the stagnant life of a woman who challenges the limits of likeability, and never once sugar-coat.
On Chesil Beach
Stuffy British period dramas are easy to dismiss, and that seems to be the fate of On Chesil Beach given the initial festival circuit buzz. However, the film is so much more intelligent than that label gives it credit for ― in fact, it is a comment on the stuffiness of the era. Both emotionally resonant and intellectually stimulating, director Dominic Cooke and screenwriter Ian McEwan explore the relationship of a pair of newlyweds (Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle) who are caught up in class barriers and changing times. It is an excellent, classically crafted film that only fails itself in its epilogue, which slides into more conventional territory and sidelines Ronan’s character just when it ought to have dug deeper.
That Saturday Church fails miserably as a musical almost doesn’t matter when its heart is as big as it is. It would be difficult not to fall for this tale of Ulysses (Luka Kain), a New York teen questioning their gender identity and sexuality. Director Damon Cardasis finds the story’s heart in Ulysses’ discovering of an LGBT+ community that supports and accepts each other where parents and peers may not. Bad songs, half-hearted choreography and flat out terrible lip-syncing be damned… the earnestness of Saturday Church making for wonderful viewing.
Beast doesn’t work, but it’s fascinating to watch it try. Director Michael Pearce attempts to tackle the thorny topic of sexual violence, and he almost hits on something true ― but Pearce’s screenplay constantly veers away from its most interesting ideas. Jessie Buckley’s impressive performance is wasted on iffy characterisation. It’s a visually promising debut that almost gets there… Pearce just needs to learn how to distinguish his good ideas from his bad ones.
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