Little Women (2019)

Set in the 1800s, ‘Little Women’ follows the March family, in particular the four sisters: Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen). A talented group of sisters who try to rebel against the world that has been set out for them: Jo the writer, Meg the actress, Amy the painter and Beth the pianist. We watch their lives as they struggle against a man’s world and the society’s pressure to marry and embody a ‘perfect woman’. A true feminist story of women dreaming their highest potentials and relaying the truths of the lives in the 1800s.

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Predominantly, we hear the story from the side of Jo as our centre main protagonist as she reflects on her life. We start in present day with Jo in New York attempting to sell one of her short stories, then throughout the film we reflect back and forth. However, it is done extremely well to not become confusing in this manner. Without being told, you know whether you are in present day or past. Throughout the film, we time travel through the March sisters’ lives, sometimes we are there for a long time, sometimes we are only there to see the necessary element to explain the present.

All the characters feel so realistic in their portrayal. The sisters were brought up homely and honest. Their sisterhood is a delight to see on screen. Jo is a fantastic character with her erratic but true emotions, she is a protagonist to be loved by the audience. Her friendship with Laurie (Timothée Chalamet) has to be one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, so pure and funny at times! Saoirse Ronan plays Jo so phenomenally, you feel all of her emotions pour out from the screen and the audience will for her to get everything she wishes. These sisters are flawed and not perfect at all, which just makes the film that much better. We can relate to these characters.

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‘Little Women’ is a beautiful film, that makes you laugh and cry. It’s a film of love, heartbreak, family and liberty. The desire to be something different. The story is obviously one rich in its history and successful for as many years it has been around, this is not the first film to take upon the story of the March sisters and it probably won’t be the last. However, I believe this 2019 version to be a story well told and beautifully so. The drama is executed so well which leaves the audience thinking about it after. It’s not a predictable film, but just one feeling truthful to real life.

Goal! (2005)

In a deal for my boyfriend to watch a romcom (‘When Harry Met Sally…’), in order to uphold my end of the compromise I promised to watch his favourite film: ‘Goal!’. From Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan to desperate football dreams – this isn’t quite the film I would be rushing to see. Nevertheless, it wasn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, I could tolerate it.

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The film follows are highly predictable plotline, I guessed the entire story before any of it happened. Don’t get me wrong a lot of films do this, and I love a lot of them that do, for instance any cheesy teen movie usually has the predictable finale, but it has that gooey ending you either love or hate. ‘Goal!’ follows the exact same pattern, however the gooey ending is edging more towards a dream come true in a different kind of love – football.

‘Goal!’ tells the tale of young Santiago (Kuno Becker) and his passion of football. While playing in Los Angeles, Santiago is approached by a scout who has ties to Newcastle United in England. Fighting against his father, yet fighting with his passion of football, Santiago makes it his mission to get to England to earn his chance at playing professional football. This young player would do anything to get his chance and show what he can do, but all the while things seem to be going against him. He realises the differences of football played, the toughness of getting to professional and his anxieties that make him believe an inhaler is a disadvantage to the game.

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Elements of the film seemed unnecessary, I particularly didn’t like the romance aspect, I even found it uncomfortable to watch at times. The film doesn’t seem high budget, the acting isn’t great, sometimes cringey. In its core, the film is about football and chasing dreams, doing anything to achieve the impossible and reaching for the goal (get it?). Would I watch it again? I don’t think so. It was tolerable, and I would say a love of football yourself might be needed for a love of this film. I did however enjoy the glimpse of David Beckham!

Never Let Me Go (2010)

So I bought this film on a whim, understandable as it starred Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield, a great Spider-Man, so it was added to my extensive DVD collection. However, if seen before, I wouldn’t say I would have actually bought it. This isn’t to say it’s a bad film, because it is far from that. My problem was the depressing nature of the storyline, there felt like there was no hope and I didn’t really see the point other than to sadden the audience.

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The film is split among three phases of the main protagonists’ life. We start in the present, in 1994, and we go to childhood, 1978. We stay here for a while, then the middle is possessed in 1985, then back to 1994. Now introducing the National Donor Programme, I told you it was a sad film. In 1978, the main three children, Kathy (Izzy Meikle-Small), Tommy (Charlie Rowe) and Ruth (Ella Purnell), were in an extremely strict school, Hailsham. The children were tracked by bracelets, had to take pills every day, and going past the boundaries spreads horrific scary stories of death. The real reason why there are there becomes abundantly clear when they are finally told the truth: when they grow up they are to give vital organs to people who need them, they do this until they “complete”, or in other words, die. Growing up Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) all know they will die for anyone who needs an organ. It’s a horribly sad film.

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‘Never Let Me Go’ is a film with a lot of deeper meanings, but by the end it’s all about death. You get to know these characters from childhood into adulthood – they are only on this planet to die for others. You explore the memories of drama and romance, of lost love and of hope. You watch as they try and cling on to every emotion and aspect they can before donations start. The three protagonists try and live their lives before their time is over. It is a beautifully well-done film full of drama based on a novel of the same name. Ready for a cry?

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

A biography of one of the most well-known bands in history: Queen. Revolving around the tale of the lead singer, Freddie Mercury (played by Rami Malek). The film follows the story of how Queen created their brilliant songs and albums, how their band was born and how they reached Live Aid in 1985 from an extremely bumpy, but musically-successful road.

Some of the classic Queen songs brought to screen, ‘Killer Queen’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘I Want to Break Free’, ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ etc. I did enjoy the development of the albums, especially the creating of the songs in the recording studios which was fun and creative with experimental musicals that made Queen’s music so unique and classic. Although, I have to admit, quite a lot of the songs were suddenly cut off, leaving me singing into the next scene… I was also hoping that the film would incorporate and intertwine real-life videos of Queen into the film, but sadly that didn’t happen – I just felt it would make it more authentic. However, saying this all the actors played their parts bringing their characters to screen visually as if Queen were all still alive today.

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To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed by this film. It just didn’t reach the potential of the hype surrounding the film. Freddie Mercury was painted in quite a bad light, but then again it’s a biography so perhaps that was the truth of it all. But I felt like it shattered the reality of the great Queen band with a lot of squabbling and selfish demanding from the lead singer. The film was also very fast-paced and a bit misleading at times, you sort of had to read between the lines to understand some aspects. But also I don’t know if this was done this way because maybe the truth wasn’t found to be so specific with Mercury’s life in such secrecy when he was alive? Maybe the unsure elements needed to be there for the audience to make their own assumptions. Overall, it seemed Mercury’s personal life presumed to be lost in “the wrong crowd” as they say, rather than actually understanding anything from his point of view. On the other hand, you can tell which of the character’s real personas have had an impact on the film and have had their own say.

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I guess the reality of this grand band wasn’t as smooth-sailing as believed. Therefore, the film was very drama-driven and not as much as the music-making as I thought it would be. But the music in it was thoroughly enjoyable and fun. Sadly, the film just wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be. However, I didn’t hate it, I just don’t know if I’d be rushing to watch it again.

Thoroughbreds (2017)

A dark comedy thriller drama, where two upper class girls regain a startling, unsure friendship. One, Amanda (Olivia Cooke) has no feelings, no emotions. The other, Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) is quite the opposite, feeling everything. Yet somehow, they become friends and spend more and more time with each other as ideas plot around their heads of crime.

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This film definitely intrigues from the beginning. The characters are so interesting and complex you watch as a want to know more and more about them. I think Amanda was a fab character, played so excellently! She’s so likable, yet has no emotions, and even comical at times. In fact, she’s actually quite funny with her witty remarks and total honesty. She’s a phenomenal character. Lily seems to be the one that’s relatable but there’s still an unnerving edge to her character. It’s all extremely well acted to bring these characters to life. You can not predict what they will do, it’s very clever.

‘Thoroughbreds’ is broken down into chapters, which is a nice change. I love the editing and the camera work with the film, the noise is excellently executed. There is a lot of real silence. We don’t need to see everything to know what’s happening, the camera is particularly clever. The whole film has a fresh feel to it, that is different and to be liked because of that.

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We follow these two young girls as they begin to spend more time together. With hatred running in the family, the girls want to get rid of a particular someone. The whole film has a feel of eeriness and unsettling moments, although you route for these girls. So it makes it a film enjoyable to watch.

“It’s only weird if you make it weird”.

A Simple Favour (2018)

This trailer executed a film full of suspicion and thrilling moments, one full of secrets and mystery. It definitely peaked my interest and want to watch it. Additionally, throw in Anna Kendrick – who I love from ‘Pitch Perfect’ and ‘Trolls’ – and Blake Lively – who is fabulous but also remembered as the scandalous Serena van der Woodson in ‘Gossip Girl’ – and I immediately thought the film couldn’t get much better to get me to watch it. The advertisement for this film seemed everywhere, and eventually I found the time to go to see it in cinema. To so much despair, I was left feeling deflated, underwhelmed and exhausted from sitting so long and enjoying little.

Two mums meet as their sons’ bond, on an unwilling playdate, the women become unlikely friends. Two complete opposite characters. Then one goes missing…

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I spent the whole film waiting for something to happen, for the thing to happen, and I never felt it came. Everything seemed too predictable, or if there was something shocking it wasn’t executed to the shock factor, instead I just found the truth when the main protagonist did; this was so slow, it wasn’t a big reveal, it was a slow recognition. Most of the secrets were actually visually played out with explanation, so again that didn’t help with any secrecy or mystery. I have to admit, there were a few ‘wow, it’s going to get good now!’ moments, but then I was slowly dropped back down again. It seemed like it had a long beginning, but at the same time, one not long enough to be fully explained, and then a long middle and end, an unsatisfactory end.

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It wasn’t all bad! I didn’t mind the characters, Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick are both great actresses and they played their parts well. Although I think we found out a bit too much of Blake Lively’s character, but the right amount of Anna Kendrick’s, even if I didn’t want to know… They were characters that felt quite real even if messed up in their own lives. Additionally, I loved the costumes, all clothing seemed perfect to all of the scenes, to add to their characters, to add to their personalities. And to add to the genre and potential suspicion. Along with this, was also the brilliance of the music, it again added to the scenes extremely well.

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As a whole, I think I just expected a lot more than what was actually there. With such a brilliantly open trailer there was so much for the mind to ponder over, but the imagination from the trailer almost ruined the film as it was lacking. The film also has a lot of swearing and some sexual scenes, so it’s definitely a film for older ages. Overall, I was let-down.

Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)

This drama is a biography of the life of the writer of Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne. I don’t know about you, but a life story of the writer of Winnie the Pooh is definitely not a history I had stored in my general knowledge. So I went into this film having no knowledge of what was going to happen or how these figures would react, other than Alan Milne eventually writing the childhood spectacular of Winnie and his friends. What I didn’t expect was to be blubbing throughout the film, it was a beautifully heart-wrenching film.

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The true story is inspired by one family, the Milne’s. The father, Alan Milne (Domhnall Gleeson), is nicknamed Blue, this is what he is mostly referred to as. Once a soldier in the First World War, Alan struggles with war-related flashbacks in uncontrollable states of bright lights, loud noises and sudden movements, you watch as this man struggles with his own hearing and sight but tries to hide himself in writing books. In constant fear of war, he retreats him and his family to the countryside to move away from the loud noises that haunt him so much. Soon he feels his books and plays are not making the difference he wants to make, he wants to stop all wars, to find any possibility to end another war, especially when he has a son. Daphne Milne (Margot Robbie), the wife and mother, is a complicated character. Her harsh ways but loving appearances are confusing to understand her charisma, but deep down she’s a character in agony of bearing a son when she believes there to be another war he will have to partake in. Both of these characters are riddled with reality confusions and are lost in their own despairs, that when the young boy grows up he never has much connection with either parent having been brought up by his Nanny (Kelly Macdonald).

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This little boy of course is Christopher Robin, but from a young age he was called Billy Moon by his family. He has so much love for his Nanny Nou as she was always more of a parent than his actual parents. But when she has to leave for personal reasons and the mother is also away, father and son are forced to spend time together like they’ve never before. This is when the exploration of the woods comes to life as young boy and father play and pretend of wild animals and bears. The creation of Winnie the Pooh is beautifully done as Billy Moon plays in the woods with his beloved teddy bear and illustrator draws the simplicity of Christopher Robin and his best friend. The contrasts and edits of the film create a truth in the children’s books coming to life as they did when first wrote.

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As the success of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh grows the harder is becomes for poor Billy Moon to cling onto his own childhood and his story. The film progresses through the life of the family as a lot of things change. Emotional and heart-felt, this drama cleverly plays on the audience’s emotions as anything could happen, but as a constant reminder this is the true story. The actors and actresses are brilliant as their real-life characters come into play in reality on film, every word is hung to as what was said. As the film passes through life, the movement of time has to be done well, which of course it is, the characters look older perfectly. You really do fall into this British beautiful drama of the Milne’s struggles and realities of creating a phenomenal children’s story.

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‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ was a true eye-opener to the effects of a successful book has on one family, even though they were the ones successful. The young boy could never have his story to himself ever again, it was always to be shared with the rest of the world. But on the other hand, Winnie the Pooh created a happiness in childhoods all around the world and is still remembered today, cherished in children’s memories of the wonders of a bear in the woods and all of his friends’ beloved.