romance

The Danish Girl

January 22, 2016
Eddie Redmayne in 'The Danish Girl' (2015)

When Gore Vidal’s novel, Myra Breckinridge, was made into a truly lamentable movie in 1970, transgender issues were hardly front page news. The idea that someone could feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body, or vice versa, was the stuff of ribald comedy. The wheel has turned so completely that transgenderism now occupies … More


Carol

January 14, 2016
Rooney Mara & Cate Blanchett in 'Carol' (2015)

It’s difficult to make a great movie from a great novel. Even the best directors struggle to capture the psychological nuances, the purposeful construction of personalities and subplots. An author can tell us much that a director can only suggest, unless he or she wants to make an unbearably wordy film. In Carol, Todd Haynes … More


By the Sea

December 10, 2015
Angelina Jolie Pitt in 'By the Sea' (2015)

By the Sea has received such terrible notices I went along with diminished expectations – which was probably the ideal frame of mind in which to view Angelina Jolie Pitt’s third outing as a director. Think: “I know this is going to be bad,” and for a long time you can fool yourself that it … More


Man Up

November 6, 2015
Simon Pegg & Lake Bell in 'Man Up' (2015)

Ben Palmer is another director who has spent much of his career in television, but Man Up has more verve than most romantic comedies. There are moments when this movie becomes genuinely funny and anarchic, but the claims of the genre keep reasserting themselves, allowing the return of the godawful sentimentality that makes such films … More


Freeheld

November 5, 2015
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in 'Freeheld' (2015). Photograph: Lionsgate

Some actors always get to play the romantic lead, the vamp or the action hero, Julianne Moore should be careful she doesn’t get stuck with another terminal illness. Having gradually succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease in Still Alice, she now gets the chance to experience Stage 4 lung cancer in Freeheld. Unfortunately she’s really excellent in … More


The Lobster

October 23, 2015
Colin Farrell in 'The Lobster' (2015)

Yorgos Lanthimos could never be accused of a lack of originality. All over the world, one imagines viewers wandering out of The Lobster, asking: “So what was that about?” If I say it’s an allegory, that will do little to ease the confusion. Think of the late, deadpan surrealist comedies of Luis Bunuel and you’ll … More


unINDIAN

October 16, 2015
Brett Lee in 'UNindian' (2015)

If there were an Academy Award for product placement, Anupam Sharma’s unINDIAN would be this year’s hot favourite. This self-confessed “frothy” flick is not going to win any awards for acting, directing or scriptwriting, but when it comes to acknowledging sponsors it is in a class of its own. unINDIAN is an attempt to make … More


Learning to Drive

October 9, 2015
Ben Kingsley & Patricia Clarkson in 'Learning to Drive' (2014)

Learning to Drive is one of those films that spin an entire story around one simple metaphor. For a middle-aged woman, learning to drive is an act of self-determination, a way of taking control of one’s life. Having entered one’s fifties as a passenger there is a profound sense of affirmation in finally getting behind … More


The Diary of a Teenage Girl

September 25, 2015
Bel Powley in "The Diary of a Teenage Girl' (2015)

“I had sex today. Holy shit!” Welcome to The Diary of a Teenage Girl – a film that throws us into the deep end with its opening line. The place is San Francisco, the time 1976, and the narrator, 15-year-old Minnie Goetz – a precocious schoolgirl who confides everything to her tape recorder. Minnie recounts … More


Force of Destiny

September 12, 2015
Shahana Goswami & David Wenham in 'Force of Destiny' (2015)

Paul Cox’s Force of Destiny is another film that straddles the twilight zone between life and art, but this is because the story is so closely based on the director’s own battles that it becomes an oblique autobiography. In 2009 Cox was diagnosed with liver cancer and given only a short time to live. Towards … More