cinema · LFF20

Film review: Ammonite

 Following on from the critical success of his groundbreaking debut God’s Own Country, writer and director Francis Lee revisits the theme of repressed homosexual romance with his semi-biographical drama Ammonite. Set on the blustery shores of Lyme Regis in the 1840s, the plot is loosely inspired by palaeontologist Mary Anning. On his European tour, a wealthy fossil enthusiast arrives in town to visit Mary (Kate Winslet) to discuss her geological findings. His young wife Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan) is suffering from severe melancholia and he decides that the sea air will aid her recovery, so he carries on without her, leaving her in Mary’s care. Despite their stark financial and cultural differences, the pair strike up an endearing friendship, leading to a forbidden love that would impact upon their lives forever.

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cinema · LFF20

Film review: Supernova

On his first outing behind the camera, actor turned filmmaker Harry Macqueen crafted an indie hit on a low-budget and played one of the central parts himself. In contrast to this for his sophomore feature, he has brought together two of the finest actors in the business. Relationship drama Supernova stars Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as husbands Sam and Tusker, whose lives are turned upside down due to the latter’s dementia diagnosis. They embark on a road trip in an old RV whilst coming to terms with their situation, visiting old friends along the way.

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cinema · LFF20

Film review: Possessor

Following in the footsteps of his father, the iconic filmmaker David Cronenberg, writer and director Brandon Cronenberg dabbles in the ‘body horror’ sub-genre that his old man pioneered for his grisly sophomore feature Possessor. Revered hitwoman Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is at the centre of the sci-fi thriller, working for an organisation that uses brain-implant technology to allow assassins to carry out hits whilst inhabiting someone else’s body. For her latest assignment, she must ‘possess’ Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) to take out his boss John Parse (Sean Bean), the filthy rich head of a data mining corporate empire.

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cinema · LFF20

Film review: Shirley

Based on the novel of the same name by Susan Scarf Merrell, the latest drama from director Josephine Decker stars Elisabeth Moss as reclusive horror writer Shirley Jackson. As the eponymous author and her professor husband Stanley (Michael Stuhlbarg) invite newlyweds Fred (Logan Lerman), a fresh-faced teaching assistant, and his wife Rose (Odessa Young) into their marital home, the plot explores the complex dynamics of their relationships. In the beginning, the young and impressionable couple are keen to gain wisdom from their talented elders, but as the situation takes a perverse turn, their marriage is put to the test.

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cinema · LFF20

Film review: Rose – A Love Story

Jennifer Sheridan’s feature debut Rose – A Love Story follows the mysterious life of a couple living in a shadowy cabin in the woods. Husband Sam (Matt Stokoe) and wife Rose (Sophie Rundle) are almost detached from civilisation in their somewhat strained, yet very loving, marriage. He spends his days outdoors, chopping wood for their fire and hunting their dinner, while she stays inside, working on her next book. It transpires that the pair are protecting a dark secret as when they reluctantly take in an unexpected house guest, their secluded refuge comes under severe threat.

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cinema · LFF20

Film review: Mangrove

Steve McQueen’s work was lauded with much critical acclaim when he directed historical saga 12 Years a Slave. For his latest effort, he tells another important true story of racial prejudice, but this time it’s much closer to home. The first episode of the Small Axe mini-series, Mangrove follows modest restaurateur Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes) as he opens a West Indian eatery in the Notting Hill district of West London. His place becomes a lively neighbourhood hub for the black community and after continuous harassment from the local authorities, he is encouraged by Black Panther Movement leader Altheia Jones-Lecointe (Letitia Wright) to make a stand. Their peaceful protest soon descends into chaos, leading to an emotionally-charged trial.

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