I was lucky to be in Los Angeles, because ‘God’s Own Country’ had a very limited release schedule and I was even able to use my Movie Pass to watch it. Directed by Francis Lee, this movie is set in Pennine Mountains, in England, which is a farming town. Johnny (Josh O’Connor) takes care of the herd, and he is somewhat of a lost soul, as well: he goes drinking every night at the local bar, probably to forget the fact that he is hiding his homosexuality from his parents. When Romanian Gheorghe arrives to help out (a handsome Alex Secareanu) he is met with hostility by Johnny, who is wary of him.
And they they fall in love. And what happens next is kind of sweet. Some have compared this movie to ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ but the scope of this film is smaller, and the love story is more pointed, and sweeter. One can’t help but get involved in their love, amidst the picturesque landscape. The latter part of the film is on the predictable side, but the pay off ending doesn’t feel tacked on, thanks to sensitive acting by the leads. The languid pacing can be argued, but I just take it as indicative of how slow the pace of life in those parts. But the real get here is the sense of genuine affection the two characters have for each other that was essayed by the movie. This a small film with a big heart.
Just like every other self-respecting gay boy of the 80s, I was a ‘Dynasty’ watcher. And of course, by transitivity, a Joan Collins fan – I, like everythng else, was awed and fascinated by Alexis Carrington Colby – her fabulousness, her glamour, her everything. My friends and I would reenact all of alexis and Krystle’s fight scenes from the show, adding even more dramatic effect. But was there ever a follow up project for her that matched Alexis? Maybe I wasn’t paying attention if there was.
Cue: ‘The Time Of Their Lives,’ where Collins plays Helen, a washed up actress from the 60s in a senior home. She finds out that the director of her biggest hit (we find out later he was her lover as well) has died and she wants to go to the funeral in Il de Re, France. However could she go from England to there, without having any money?
Well, there’s Priscilla (Pauline Collins) who accidentally gets trapped on her bus, and they go on a road trip together, getting into bumps along the way, of course, just like every other movie road trip out there. You can see the bumps a mile away, but you know what, both Collins have great rapport that you go along with it, even enjoy it.
Ultimately, this is all about Joan: there she is, larger than life, with her updo coif and Chanel jacket. There she is – self-deprecating, and down to earth. (The scene where she takes off her wig will break your heart) She is aspirational and relatable at the same time, and she is delicious every time she is on screen, with that boundless charisma. I lover her here, and I love this movie for existing.
Although ‘Love Of My Life’ is set in Toronto, I thought I would love it because it stars and is about British people, Anglophile that I am. Directed by Joan Carr-Wiggins, it stars Anna Chancellor as Grace, a woman who potentially could only have five days left to live – she has a brain tumor. her husband is crying as the film opens, and then we met a motley crew – her ex-husband and his current girlfriend, among other people. But these people are so unlikable that if I were Grace, I would think it may not be too bad for me to go right away. The movie didn’t engage me at all, as I thought it would, and it’s attempt at humor there a major fail. The film suffers from being too bland, in my opinion – it’s not necessarily a bad film, just nothing for anyone to be excited about – even the cast seems bored.
I just saw two films in a couple of days with similar themes – taking care of elderly people. This topic is very close to me because I went through it, and in some ways I am kind of glad that I have ‘graduated’ from it, but it certainly is a story that can be told in very different ways.
Amanda Sharpe’s ‘Sticky Notes’ stars Rose Leslie as a struggling dancer in Los Angeles who gets ‘summoned’ by her father in Florida after he reveals to her that he has been diagnosed with cancer. So she sets out to visit at first, and goes through the process of giving care to his father as he starts chemotherapy. Ray Liotta plays his father – rough, gruff, difficult. (I was racking my brain the whole first part of the film to see where I knew Rose Leslie from, for she seemed ver familiar, until I realized she is in that spinoff of The Good Wife on CBS.) Their strained father-daughter relationship gets a boost here, and things get fairly predictable after. There is a little bit of unnecessary epilogue here but all in all this is a pleasant if perfunctory film about loss, love, and all its accessories.
I liked the ‘The Carer,’ much better. This is a British-Hungarian production that more or less treads the same formula. An elderly Shakespearean actor, played by Brian Cox gets taken cared of by a young Hungarian actress, and yadda yadda yadda they learn more from each other. I mean, I can just give you the synopsis and you can more or less tell what the film would be like. But the script here has a lot of nice touches, and Coco Konig makes a fine debut as the caregiver. Or perhaps I am just an Anglophile – the sights and sounds of London and British countryside was very much appealing to me from start to finish, and of course, Brian Cox holds the screen effortlessly. The feel of this film is more TV movie, but i’s quite rewarding nonetheless.
Look, I probably love London more than anyone I know, but in ‘Kids In Love,’ I learn that millenials in there are just as annoying as the ones in the United States. Will Poulter stars in this movie directed Chris Foggin’s kids-filled movie. he plays Jack, who is eighteen years old, and is taking a gap year before going to Uni. Then he meets a mysterious French girl named Evelyn, played Alma Jodorowsky, and his life is momentarily turned upside down. He hangs out with them, he squats at their place, foregoing household responsibilities, childhood friends, and an internship acquired by nepotism. Everything is fun and games until you realize you need to work to live life, and then you go back to reality. That is basically the plot of this film, its thinness ready to sink the whole thing at any minute. I felt a lot of it a waste of my time, but I did enjoy the obscure London locales, so it wasn’t a total loss I guess. But for others, I bet it will be.