Tough Women, Tough Watch- 20th Century Women Film Review

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20th Century Women Courtesy CubeCinema

20th Century Women Courtesy CubeCinema

There comes a film once in a while that makes you get up and think about what if? That is how 20th Century Women is. Mike Mills who has directed the film last made The Beginners with a star cast including Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer who ended up winning both the Golden Globe and Academy Awards for his role.

20th Century Women is semi-autobiographical and Mike has shown his life through the protagonist, young Jamie.

The story is set in a vintage house owned by Dorothea Fields (Annette Bening) and her son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) with their tenants Abbie (Greta Gerwig), William (Billy Crudup) and neighbor Julie (Elle Fanning). Each character is going through their personal struggles and in the backdrop of the 70s in Santa Barbara.

Dorothea is in her 50s and Jamie came late in her life, so she is contemplating whether he is missing a father figure and puts Abbie and Julie to help in life. The two girls are working around the rising feminism, while William is struggling with his cult-marriage demons.

This slow paced conversation style film is not a cup of tea for many but does provoke many thoughts.

The performances by Lucas and Annette are excellent, while Elle Fanning will easily be selected for many more mega-budget movies. Greta Garwig made her breakthrough in the film Maggie’s Plan and will continue to get more arty roles still. Billy Crudup will always be remembered for being Elizabeth’s mean husband from Eat Pray Love.

20th Century Women is a tough watch.

Straight From The Heart, Film Review LION

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Sunny Pawar stars in LION
Photo: Mark Rogers

When a true story makes headlines around the world and especially at the Academy Awards, you have to sit up and take notice. Dev Patel is back in India and searching for his family.

After his successful debut in the Danny Boyle film Slumdog Millionaire, Dev plays Saroo Brierley who is adopted by Australian parents and then goes back to India in search of his family with the help of Google Earth.

This is a big film for Director Garth Davis and he has certainly delivered a magnificent story. Cinematographer Greg Fraser has captured both Australia and India in the most stunning way possible, while still maintaining the reality of the situation, for example when young Saroo wakes up alone at a platform at the railway station, the loneliness creeps you up too.

The star of the film however remains the young Sunny Pawar who plays young Saroo. This little kid wins your heart and the story spends a good 30 minutes in the beginning in India, a risky proposition but Garth Davis knew what he was doing. Nicole Kidman as Sue Brierley, Saroo’s adoptive mother is superb and being such a mother in real life too must have added to her work in this film. David Wenham as John Brierley, Saroo’s adoptive father is good too and also Rooney Mara as Lucy, Saroo’s girlfriend is excellent.

This true story is remarkable and worth a watch. The film has been adapted from the book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose.

Bollywood actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Deepti Naval also add their excellent skills to their short roles.

LION is a story of the brave, the lost and the hopeless who overcome life’s harsh realities of belonging.

All That Blue, Film Review Moonlight

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Mahershala-Ali-Facts

Moonlight was the most deserving winner at the Academy Awards this year. The film has been directed by Barry Jenkins and this is his second film only. Playwright Tarell Alvin McCarney has written the story and if this is any success to go by, he may write more screenplays.

Moonlight is Chiron’s story, the little boy who is facing an absent mother, the teenage boy who is facing an alternative sexuality and the man who is facing his lover. Barry transitions the life of Chiron in a natural way, you grow up with him but you need a strong heart to watch this reality. There are no guns blazing, drugs pouring or domestic violence going out of hand. It is just the story of a boy who looks blue in the Moonlight.

Chiron meets Juan and he becomes his mentor. Juan defines Chiron’s journey.

There are excellent performances by all the 3 Chiron’s from the little Alex Hibbert, young Ashton Sanders and adult Trevante Rhodes. Juan is played by Mahershala Ali, the first Muslim to win an Academy for Best Supporting role and Chiron’s mother is Naomie Harris.

Moonlight is a tough story relayed like the blue ocean, still and deep.

Blue Jasmine- Indeed a Blue Dream, Film Review

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Cate Blanchett (Courtesy Rotten Tomatoes)

Speechless, loss of love, perhaps desperation? How else can Jasmine’s journey be described otherwise. Meet Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine played by Cate Blanchett. Nobody else would have been less perfect and if she does win the Academy Award, it is well deserved.

Blue Jasmine is the story of a school dropout who marries a rich man (Alec Baldwin) who turns out to be a con and her world comes crashing down. The difference is that it has been made by Woody Allen who has his signature strength that of relationships. Jasmine has no choice but to go back to her step sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) and face the challenge of starting her life again. When she arrives with her Louis Vutton bags, she quickly realizes the adjustments she must make and when she meets Ginger’s new boyfriend Chili (Bobby Cannavale) it reminds her that she doesn’t want to live in mediocrity and going back to school as much as getting a job will bring her back to her feet.

She soon gets a job as a Dentist receptionist who no doubt tries to seduce her and here you also see that no matter what poverty and embarrassment her husband Hal put her through her dignity and value as a woman remain intact. At a boring party she bumps into Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard) but her white lie catches up and Dwight doesn’t have the depth to see the real Jasmine.

Cate Blanchett has been most stunning and very close to her performance in the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, with Blue Jasmine she goes beyond and is the winner through and through.