Movie Review – A United Kingdom

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by Amma Asante

A tale of love, courage and perseverance

The story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his loving but controversial marriage to a British white woman, Ruth Williams, put his kingdom into political and diplomatic turmoil.’ (IMDb) (by Amma Asante, 111 min.)

I was so utterly surprised by how much I liked this film. I knew I would love the story, because it is a well-known story of love and of courage and of two people fighting for each other and for the country they care so much for. But the way this movie was made, the way this story was told was just so beautiful, that I couldn’t stop watching and kept rooting for them to succeed.

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There are still some things about the story, about the film that bothered me a bit. At the beginning of the film I wasn’t connected to the characters. I just didn’t believe in their love. It felt a bit pushed and not real. Not because of the actors, because they were great, but I felt it was pushed a bit too quickly. I think the film would have benefited from it if they put in 10 more minutes of them falling in love with each other. Because now it was too quick for my taste. I had the feeling that the director, Amma Asante, wanted to get to the ‘juicy’ part, to the real story of this film.

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Which made it a bit harder for me to connect to the characters. I did find that Rosamund Pike was perfect as Ruth, a young woman falling in love and leaving everything behind and pack all her belongings to go off to Africa. She portrays Ruth perfectly. You feel with her when she starts her life in Africa and feels the racism and the difficulties to fit in there, which she also faced in England. The fears and the difficulties to learn the language, to make his people love her and accept her, became real and made the movie so much better towards the end. Their love became so much more apparent and real towards the end of the film. Actually from the moment he left to go back to England and she stayed behind in Botswana. 

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David Oyelowo was great as well. He has already played in so much of my favourite films, that it came as no surprise that he portrayed Seretse so well. You felt with him, with everything he went through. When he got the news that he was banned from his country and from his pregnant wife, that just hit me in the heart. He was vulnerable, yet so strong because he didn’t want to give up on Ruth. You could feel his love for his country, but that he also wanted to do the right thing, even if he knew that he would be met with a lot of resistance. There were so much emotions going through me while watching this. 

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This is a great example of the perfect combination of great acting, gorgeous images and the right use of music. If only the beginning of the film wasn’t pushed so much and didn’t go by so quickly, I think this would have been in the top 5 of my favourite films of the first half of 2017. I will be checking out Amma Asante’s next film, because I do feel she evolves with every story she tells and she knows how to put her land on film in such a beautiful way. Can’t wait to see what she brings out next.

7/10 stars.

Movie Review – La La Land

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by Damien Chazelle

Charming and colourful…

‘A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.’ (IMDb) (by Damien Chazelle, 128 min.)

This is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. I may not have seen a lot of them until now (start of february), but I can say with certainty, that this film will stay with me. Just as ‘Whiplash’ stayed with me and gives me chills everytime I watch it again or think about it… ‘La La Land’ makes me smile and tingly when I think about it. I left the theatre with a smile and with a little jump in my step, like I could take the world.

This film is a love letter. A love letter to the old musicals like ‘Singing in the Rain’, … A love letter to Hollywood, to the way they made movies back in the day. (Straight lines, camera use…) A love letter to dreamers, to Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling… A love letter to the world.

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Let’s start with the story. The movie begins with a dance number and there we get a first taste of the style of the movie. It’s full of colour, of fun camera moves, but still a stylised way of filming. At the end of it we’re introduced to the two main characters: Emma Stone’s Mia and Ryan Gosling as Sebastian. Two dreamers, wishing for a career in the old city of Dreams.

Mia tries to break through as an actress, but has to juggle working as a barista while going to auditions (where she keeps being rejected). Sebastian is stuck in the world of Jazz and dreams of opening his own bar where everybody is free to play the more pure jazz he is so in love with. They meet and start to fall in love. And here I will stop, well, because of spoilers.

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If you watch the movie, yes, the story is kind of straightforward. Boy and girl meet, they are both dreamers, they fall in love and story continues from there. But the way it was brought felt old and new at the same time. It felt retro because you could see and feel all kinds of references to other movies. But it also feels new and refreshing because of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. And the music! The music was fabulous, uplifting and it sticks. I’ve been singing ‘City of Stars’ and ‘Another Day of Sun’ for days and I’m a terrible singer. My colleagues hate me a little right now. ^^

if there is one thing I would say about this little gem is that I did feel that the third part of the movie dragged on for a little bit. The story kind of got stuck in a certain point a bit less colorful. And that’s the only ‘negative’ thing I can think of and it’s a part of the story we have to get through to get to the end and feel the full impact of the story, if you really think about it. So in the end it didn’t really take away from the enjoyment I had from the movie. It was a minor thing.

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It’s a perfect mixture of colour, uplifting music, beautiful performances of two brilliant actors and you feel the love Damien Chazelle has for movies, musicals, Hollywood and this story.

9 out of 10 stars !!

Movie Review – The Theory of Everything

by James Marsh

by James Marsh

‘The relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife.’ (IMDb) (by James Marsh, 123 min.)

This movie was so good. I never thought a film about Stephen Hawking could be this great, but man, I almost cries while watching this film. Off course, the only reason this film worked was because of the actors and their connection.

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are so adorable together and they have this connection that sparkles of the screen. They are perfect together and give this entire relationship on screen an extra dimension. And they’re both marvelous in their roles.

Eddie Redmayne gave a beautiful performans as Stephen Hawking. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for him, but I’m glad he won the Oscar. He so deserves it for this role. The entire story is just so marvelous and his performance just draws you in.

It definitely is a movie I won’t forget and will watch again and again. It gave me chills when I watched it in the cinemas and I’m glad it got all the attention, because they definitely earned it all.

out of 5 stars.

Movie Review – The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (Him & Her)

by Ned Benson

by Ned Benson

‘One couple’s story as they try to reclaim the life and love they once knew and pick up the pieces of a past that may be too far gone.’ (IMDb) (by Ned Benson, 123 min.)

I find it so refreshing to see a story told in a completely different way. There are two movies of the same story, but told from two different perspectives.

I must say that I preferred the Him-version. I just couldn’t entirely relate to the Her-version of the story. So I think that’s what made my entire vision of these movies a bit less positive.

It’s the story of a young couple who, after a few difficult months, decide to go their separate ways, with the guy (James McAvoy) having no idea why or how or for how long, with no explanation at all. And I was hoping to get an explanation at the end of both movies. You kind of get an explanation, and I kind of get it. But I couldn’t connect entirely with her. And it isn’t because of Jessica Chastain.

The both actors were amazing. James McAvoy was sensitive, nice. You could totally relate to him and see that he was struggling with everything. Jessica Chastain was good, but again, I couldn’t relate to this character. And I think it had more to do with the way her character was written, than her acting. Because she is one of my favorite actresses of all times.

3,5 out of 4 stars.