Film Reviews by JL

Welcome to JL's film reviews page. JL has written 5 reviews and rated 6 films.

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Hope Gap

Painful and painfully true tale of the death of a marriage

(Edit) 18/03/2021

Beautifully acted by Annette Bening, Bill Nighy and Josh O'Connnor and beautifully directed and written by William Nicholson (how could the writer of Shadowlands do otherwise?). While the minutiae of marital collapse is both utterly credible and exhaustively explored.

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Roma

Urban life, loves and crises in Mexico city

(Edit) 10/02/2021

A moving slice of life that we can all recognise, spiced with a down-town Mexican take on events that seeds the view with both friction and delight

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The Perfect Candidate

A careful probe into women's suffrage in Saudi Arabia

(Edit) 02/02/2021

One wants to be thankful for this courageous assault on the sexist and generally 19th-century attitudes towards women in Haifaa al-Mansour's second feature. And in many ways she succeeds by venting her frustration with the complacency and limited social horizons of the men who run everyone's life in Saudi Arabia. Of course our heroine (sorry for the plot spoiler) fails in her attempts to get herself elected to her local council, but we're grateful that we've been able to watch her try. So I'm glad I've seen this film, but if you located the plotting to any western locality you wouldn't bother with such a careful and extremely modest tale. In short, it is worth seeing for its insights into Saudia Arabian society, just don't expect any fireworks by our usual standards. At least there's one heart-warming sign of progress – an elderly male hospital patient finally relents and accepts, gratefully, the care and expertise of our heroine (a politically active doctor) after refusing to let her anywhere near him.

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Love and delicacy

(Edit) 08/12/2020

Loved it. Gentle, wise and moving. It almost felt like a film that a man couldn't have made. The writing, acting and direction had a wonderful focused intent, enveloping us in a mystery that I (a man) felt privileged to share.

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The Good Liar

Exhausted idea dies before your eyes

(Edit) 14/07/2020

A clunker. Been there so many times before. It had all the mechanical predictability of a 1950s Play for Today on TV. Of course, McKellen and Mirren worked their little socks off (good pro performances) and I was mildly curious to see how soon and in which direction the plot twists would kick in and deliver their utterly predictable punch lines. But that was it. I had been seduced by the star power of the cast when I ordered "The Good Liar", and expected a truly fresh take on an achingly exhausted concept. But no. Painting by numbers beats it hollow for artistic ambition and expression.

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