Category Archives: Movies 2018

Movie: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

Somehow or other this book slipped past me, even though I now find that lots of people have read it.  It’s a satisfying little love story, nicely self-contained, with a strong feel-good factor. I must confess that I knew nothing about Guerney’s World War II history. And what book-lover couldn’t enjoy a film about other people who love books?

My rating: 3.5 stars


Movie: The Post

[Actually, I saw this film two months ago and forgot to post this review.  I often refer back to this blog when I can’t remember whether I’ve seen a film or not, so here goes…a review of a film that’s no longer screening]

This movie has both the big heavy hitters: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks who of course make acting look so simple that it barely seems as if they are acting. Having said that, I didn’t recognize Tom Hanks at first, so he was playing someone other than Tom Hanks.  It is, of course, the story of Katharine Graham’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, the forerunner to Watergate (to my shame, I wasn’t completely sure that they were two separate events).

The Smithsonian Mag has an interesting article about the authenticity of the film. They point out that Graham wasn’t quite as innocent and untried as the film suggests, because she had been running the paper for eight years previously.  They also point out that Graham was strongly involved in the decision to publish the Watergate papers too, even though she is almost expunged completely in All the President’s Men.

The film is produced by Steven Spielberg, who can be relied on to over-egg the pudding and he does it here too, with music so intrusive and such a wave of feel-good-ness at the end that it almost felt like a parody.

I found myself wondering whether it had been written post-Trump, as so many of the themes (freedom of the press, influence of the government, women) are so relevant right this minute. Apparently, the Smithsonian Mag article claims, the film rights were sold a week before the 2016 election.

The film underlines the importance of the press – a paid, professional, independent press. It made me feel a little smug and self-righteous but also proud that I continue to subscribe to several newspapers (even though I have a love-hate relationship with them all at one stage or another.)  I also feel a little frisson of pride that the Unitarian Universalist publishing arm, Beacon Press, was involved in the very risky act of publishing the first full edition of the Papers. You can read more about it here.

Movie: The Chess Player

<p><a href=”″>THE CHESS PLAYER – Trailer with English subtitles</a> from <a href=”″>Latido Films</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Well,  I can’t embed it so you’ll just have to follow the link to the trailer. I saw this as part of the Spanish Film Festival, in amongst what seemed to be a whole lot of comedies that did not attract me in the least.  I enjoyed it, but it felt a bit like ‘Dr Zhivago’ meets ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ . It seemed rather dated in its narrative, as if it had stepped out of the 1970s, but it was beautifully filmed.

I was able to follow the Spanish relatively well, but thank God for subtitles!




Movie: The Shape of Water

I loved this movie.  Old-fashioned and wistful, heart-warming, with very bad baddies and enough magic realism to make you smile. I’ve heard it likened to a cross between ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’, which rings true to me.

My rating: 5 out of 5.

Movie: I, Tonya

I really enjoyed this.  It’s filmed as a mockumentary and it places competing narratives against each other. After seeing the film, we watched ‘Tonya Harding: The Price of Gold” which is available on SBS On Demand.  I’m really glad that we went from the movie re-enactment to the documentary and not the other way round.  Margot Robbie was excellent, as was Allison Janney who played her chilling mother.  The documentary was actually the source inspiration for the film, and seeing them almost side-by-side, yo realize just how well Robbie picks up on Harding’s brittleness.  The film gives more weight to the domestic and emotional violence that was wrought all round.

Really good.

My rating: 5 stars.

Movie: Sweet Country

Set in the Northern Territory in 1929 and based on actual events, this is a beautiful filmed story of menace and injustice. When an aboriginal stockman kills a crazed white station owner in self-defence, he and his wife escape into the outback, where they are hunted by a posse of self-appointed avengers, assisted by other stockmen as trackers.  It has Bryan Brown and Sam Neill, both of whom have appeared in too many films like this. There are no romantic frontier myths here: it’s brutal and harsh and unforgiving.  Hard to watch, but necessary to watch, too.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Movie: Menasche

This is certainly no action movie, and it’s more an exploration of a situation than a plot. Menashe is a widower, and as a result his son is taken from his custody and raised in his brother-in-law’s house in a ‘proper’ family.  He works as a poorly paid grocery clerk, and is looked down upon by the other men of the community. The best way to think of the film is more as a documentary than narrative, and it certainly gives a fascinating look into a Hasidic community within a modern city.  The main character is actually acted by the real-life man on whose story the film is based, and it’s a bit like watching a reality program as it does not feel acted at all.  It’s completely in Yiddish with subtitles.

My rating: 3 stars out of 5