The Souvenir Part II is really for die hard fans of The Souvenir. If you come to this film fresh, it’s like joining a conversation already in full flow, and laughing at jokes you don’t understand but do so just to be part of the group.
The Souvenir Part II is Joanna Hogg’s sequel to her 2019 film The Souvenir in which the protagonist, Julie Hart (Honor Swinton Byrne) is struggling to make sense of all that has happened, the aftermath of love loss with the heroin addict Anthony (Tom Burke), his resulting suicide and her trying to make her way in the world. She does all this through the creation and completion of her student film. A film within in a film.
The Souvenir Part II asks a huge indulgence of the audience to plunge itself back into the 1980s and watch the creation of a film within a film, dream like sequences and a script that lacks depth. That’s not to say that the attention to detail, cinematography and direction are not good. These are all good but the soul is missing. With The Souvenir the interest was watching the relationship between Anthony and Julie develop and not knowing where it might lead.
The Souvenir Part II is a dissection of this which feels at times unnecessary, overlong and lacking any charm. The only real highlights is the director of photography of Julie’s first film who questions what they are all doing there. As well as Patrick (the wonderful Richard Ayoade) who feels like the only fully formed and authentic character in the entire film.
The Souvenir Part II is released in cinemas across the UK on Friday 4 February.
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