I Am Not Your Negro (2017)

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Image via miff.com.au

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This unusually constructed documentary is an illustrated recitation of the words of James Baldwin, American writer and social critic. It begins with a letter to his agent about an idea to write the stories of Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X, all men who are outspoken about civil rights and all assassinated in the 60s. Continue reading

Passengers (2016)

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Passengers is a neat example of how female characters are stereotyped in Hollywood films. With only four named characters of substance, it’s not surprisingly that only one is female, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). Her role is to meet the romantic and sexual needs of the hero, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), and to provide a framework for the essential goodness and heroism of his masculinity by personifying the worst of archetypal femininity. If you plan on seeing this film, and I wouldn’t rush out to do so, perhaps read no further. I won’t give away any plot points that aren’t obvious from the outset but I will probably say enough about the characters that you have a pretty good idea of the entire film. So, spoilers. Continue reading

God’s Own Country (2017)

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I missed this one at MIFF and it’s a timely tale of the damage caused by a lack of love and acceptance. Johnny (Josh O’Connor) lives on an isolated Scottish farm with his dad (Ian Hart) and Nan (Gemma Jones). There’s not much warmth in his world. His dad, whose physical ability has been limited by a stroke, lets Johnny know of his expectations and also his constant disappointment. Continue reading

Mother! (2017)

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Like a Lanthimos film in a fever dream, Mother! is Darren Aronofsky at his most grandiose. Receiving both boos and standing ovations at festivals, this is a film you will either love or loathe. Obtuse, metaphorical and surreal, its central female character and dark vision held my attention throughout, only faltering as the worthy but somewhat prosaic meaning became clear. Continue reading