romance

Magic in the Moonlight

August 30, 2014
Colin Firth in 'Magic in the Moonlight' (2014)

Either the films are getting better or I’m becoming one of those critics who find redeeming features in unlikely places. Most reviewers seem to lose it after about 300 superhero flicks, when they finally begin to believe that someone in coloured leotards may have a rich inner life. My particular Waterloo might be Woody Allen. … More


Reaching for the Moon

July 26, 2014
Miranda Otto in 'Reaching for the Moon' (2014)

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master;” wrote Elizabeth Bishop, in One Art, the poem that gets most traction in Bruno Barreto’s bio pic, Reaching for the Moon. “so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” It’s an obvious choice for a feature poem, as … More


The Lunchbox

July 12, 2014
Irrfan Khan in 'The Lunchbox' (2013)

India is by far the world’s largest producer of feature films, but very few of them make their way into our cinemas. For westerners it seems surreal when a Bollywood drama suddenly erupts into an elaborate song and dance routine that would leave Busby Berkeley gasping. For Indian audiences the opposite applies. Without the songs … More


Grace of Monaco

June 7, 2014
Nicole Kidman in 'Grace of Monaco' (2014)

In every photograph, French director, Olivier Dahan, is shown wearing a hat. Sometimes it’s a beret, but more often a baggy, brimmed affair that makes him look like a fashion-conscious engine driver. Although I’m no style guru, it seems a rather silly affectation. In theory a director’s dress sense shouldn’t have any relevance to the … More


The Broken Circle Breakdown

May 17, 2014
Veerle Baetens & Johan Heldenbergh in 'The Broken Circle Breakdown' (2012)

Belgians have a reputation for pursuing individualism to the point of eccentricity. The Broken Circle Breakdown will confirm that reputation, but the film has a lot more to offer than mere quirkiness. Viewers who enter the cinema in one piece may emerge trying to reassemble the fragments, having experienced alternating extremes of exhilaration and tragedy, … More


Only Lovers Left Alive

April 26, 2014
Tilda Swinton in 'Only Lovers Left Alive' (2013)

Last time we saw Tilda Swinton on screen, in The Grand Budapest Hotel, she was playing a corpse. In Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, she is a vampire. This may be considered a form of progress. Since the days of Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) and Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932) there have been thousands of vampire films … More


The Invisible Woman

April 19, 2014
Ralph Fiennes in The Invisible Woman (2013)

Charles Dickens (1812-70) was not only a literary giant, he was a celebrity whose every move was chronicled in the press. As a practising Christian and tenchant social critic Dickens had a reputation to uphold, but his temperament and energy lured him away from the path of convention. The Victorians were no more flawed than … More


Romeo and Juliet

April 5, 2014
Douglas Booth in 'Romeo and Juliet' (2013)

When an actor’s star is rising there is no point in pausing to ask whether they are actually right for a role. Douglas Booth may have been a bit too pretty and soft to play Noah’s son, Shem, but one could say the same about his portrayal of Romeo in Carlo Carlei’s new version of … More


Le Weekend

March 1, 2014
Lindsay Duncan & Jim Broadbent in 'Le Weekend' 2013

To turn from Gloria to Le Weekend is to become conscious of the gulf that separates 58 from the mid-60s. Instead of the problems of being a single mature-age woman, we meet with the frustrations of a couple who have been yoked together for 30 years, to the point where they can hardly imagine themselves … More


Blue is the Warmest Colour

February 15, 2014
Léa Seydoux as Emma in 'Blue is the Warmest Colour', 2013

Queen Victoria allegedly saw no reason for criminalising lesbianism because she couldn’t understand what such women actually did. Although this old story is almost certainly false, on the very slim chance there is anyone today feeling similarly bewildered, Blue is the Warmest Colour offers a most comprehensive demonstration. This film, which goes by the catchy … More