Movie Review:  The Kissing Booth (2018)

TKB

Plot: When Elle Evans (Joey King), a pretty, late-bloomer who’s never-been-kissed, decides to run a kissing booth at her high school’s Spring Carnival, she unexpectedly finds herself locking lips with her secret crush- the ultimate bad boy, Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi). Sparks fly, but there’s one little problem: Noah just happens to be the brother of her best friend, Lee, (Joel Courtney) and is absolutely off limits according to the rules of their friendship pact. Elle’s life is turned upside down when she realizes that she must ultimately make a choice: follow the rules or follow her heart. Based on Beth Reekle’s self-published coming-of-age novel that became an international sensation, THE KISSING BOOTH is a Netflix Film, written and directed by Vince Marcello.

Wow. So. Bad.

To be fair, I am older than the target population for this movie (like, way). But it took me about three attempts to really get through this movie. I have never heard such a screechy voiced intro like the voice over by Joey King in this film. It started off bad, it ended badly, and it was just all around bad.

This is a movie where a teenager goes from being not kissed to being not a virgin in the space of thirty minutes. It also involves a kissing booth, as you might have cleverly guessed.

Were the writers on crack? From too short skirts to hiding under your boyfriends’ bed while his mom hunts for his rotten socks, the writers spared no level of stupidity and accessed it all.

What could possibly happen in a movie where two best friend’s biggest friendship rule is to not fall in love with the other friends’ sibling? You guessed it. Elle (Joey King) falls in love with Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi), the absurdly attractive older brother of her best friend Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney). When Lee finds out, he is the world’s biggest little piece of shit you could find. There is also really offbeat parts about Noah’s temper and that he is secretly very smart and just needs the right girl (who, incidentally, is underage).

Can you survive Elle’s really stupid personality and giggling and generally being insufferable? All the giggling and crazy overreactions are likely something teenagers still do, so please just keep me away from them.

I will give kudos to King, Courtney and Elordi – they really did the best with the material they were given.

Shame on you, Netflix.

It gets better – there is a SEQUEL.

Rating: 4/10

Advertisements

Movie Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

tatb

Plot: A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.

So after all that complaints about the immoral Sierra Burgess is a Loser, I thought I could at least let you know about one of the Netflix films I adored. I have seen many good things online about To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and it was high on my list when I signed on for Netflix earlier in the year. And you all know by now, I seriously love a good romcom and I also feel that the genre has been terribly neglected the last few years, so I was all on board for this.

This is the cutest movie! Lana Condor is the cutest! Noah Centineo is the cutest! Cute! Cute! Cute! Can I say cute again? All you need to know – Lara Jean Covey (Condor) is one super – cute – teenage girl, independent, kind and smart. She’s also full of anxiety and overthinking and is now dealing with her older sister Margot (Janel Parrish, thankfully sane in this role), leaving for university. Lara’s life is turned upside down when the love letters she wrote to all her crushes suddenly reach their hands, with some disastrous and hilarious side effects. The one guy is her sister’s now ex-boyfriend Josh (Israel Broussard), which could naturally mean many unpleasant situations should Margot find out, the other one turned out gay, and then the other one is the beautiful and cute Peter Kavinsky.

Enter Peter, the teenage boyfriend we all deserved. No more toxic suggestions that men should be closed off and sullen, Peter is open, warm, interested and as full of personality as Lara herself. They strike an arrangement that can only take place in romantic comedies, but it is fun to watch. The arrangement? Peter wants to show his ex-girlfriend, for whom he still pines, that he has moved on in the hopes that she will realize her terrible mistakes. It also helps Lara, because not only is Peter famous and will help her social status, he is not Josh, which will save her relationship with her unsuspecting sister. All manners of shenanigans ensue, and this adorable cast really make the situations they find themselves in cute and fun.

There is also the appearance of John Corbett, himself a leading love interest once upon a time. He plays Lara’s dad, Dr. Covey, who handles raising three girls alone like a pro. His age reminded me of MY age, but it was nice to see him in something.

Hmm, what else? This movie goes in exactly the direction you would expect it to go – no surprises or sudden twists. It carries a whole different message than the other nonsense, and for that I can only be thankful. There is also just a teensy drop of help in there about cyber-bullying, and I hope if any girl has a video leaked of herself in a compromising position she knows what to do.

Can I also just say that I really enjoy the diversity in many of these movies lately? It seems a much better representation to have Asian people, black people, white people and all the other peoples’ being treated as main characters. It’s refreshing and so much better to see this than purely whitewashed movies.

I am giving this an 8/10, because although I have seen better movies, the rating is primarily for the cuteness of the cast and the whole feel good feeling around this movie.

Movie Review: Sierra Burgess is a Loser (2018)

ss

Plot: A case of mistaken identity results in unexpected romance when the most popular girl in high school and the biggest loser must come together to win over their crushes.

I swear there are a couple of films from Netflix that I adored like crazy, but right now I can only write about the ones I infinitely despised. There was the truly horrific The Kissing Booth, which was just plain awful, and a review you shall be getting, but then there is this movie, which isn’t bad acting per se and contains the adorable Noah Centineo (always a plus), but the damn message they portray for impressionable young teenagers is so terrible I was in the mood to smash things.

Dear teenage girls – CATFISHING IS WRONG. It is wrong if you are traditionally attractive and it is wrong if you are traditionally unattractive. It is wrong if you are insecure and it is wrong if you have all the issues. It is never right.

In a nutshell – Veronica (Kristine Froseth) is a little pain in the ass who passes out the phone number of Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) as a cruel joke to boys who ask for her number. Veronica is the typical terrible pretty girl you just know will rear her head in this type of movie. Sierra starts talking to Jamey (Centineo), a handsome guy from another school who also seems like a decent enough person. It escalates and eventually Jamey wants a date. At this time Sierra has roped in Veronica to play along, because naturally veronica is insecure about her intelligence and needs tutoring and blah blah blah, we’ve seen all of this before. Said date happens, and when Jamey tries to kiss Veronica, Sierra jumps in and kisses the boy.

Let’s just be clear on what assault it – it is any situation where something is done to another person without their consent, and yep, this is assault. I hate to play this game, but if the roles were reversed and Jamey kissed Sierra without her consent, there would have been hell to pay in the media.

RAGE. FURY. DEATH.

Also, it is only Hollywood that will cast Shannon Purser in roles for the “more unattractive” – I find her quite gorgeous and natural and it irritates me to no end that Hollywood has such warped ideas about feminine beauty. She has had some roles (#JusticeForBarb) which highlights her talent and gives her a place to deservedly shine. She really shouldn’t have done this, because it takes away from her talent and plays into the hands of creepy old men who think they can dictate the messages we send to teenagers. Anyway.

Then there is Centineo, who is the cutest thing to rear his head in a long time. Just, again, someone isn’t automatically a good person because they have someone with a disability in their family (his deaf brother), but let’s also move on from that. A way this movie should have ended is Jamey getting a restraining order against both female nutcases in this.

Last of the unholy trio of terrible messages to portray on young girls, is Kristine Froseth as Veronica, the cute preppy girl everyone hated in school. She has issues as well, she’s insecure about her intelligence and about the older douchebag she had the misfortune to date. So much stereotyping!

Finally, again, this movie is a terrible message to girls and please correct them if they ever think it is okay to misuse boys just because the media told them to.

Rating: 5/10

Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Endgame

Plot: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe

After 10 incredible years of the MCU, it seems that every single moment has led up to this film. Fan or not, you have probably heard of the staggering success of this film the last weekend – 1.2 billion dollars within one weekend. It is absolutely insane, yet no one seems overly surprised. I am not. I got my ticket for the first release in South-Africa. I get grumpy with spoilers but I don’t have meltdowns, yet I suspected I would have one if someone spoiled this form me. I will keep this review as spoiler free as possible, because if you have eagerly awaited each of these films as I have, you deserve to have it unspoiled for you.

Overwhelmed, emotional, shaken, surprised. That is pretty much how I felt. It became inevitable with the lead up to this film not to ask if a major superhero would die, but which one would. I will tell you that whatever happens feels completely right for that character, like they were always written for it. It is sad, but it feels like the perfect ending.

There are two character developments which feels… weird, even for Marvel. The one I will literally never be able to unsee but the actor involved handled it with charm and comedic ability. But still. It felt like a personal attack on the most beautiful character. The other one was quite hilarious but showed good character development. I am sorry, I am not really making any sense, am I?

It is a mammoth film, with a running time of three hours and 1 minute. It is a feat that I in particular didn’t feel that the film was drawn out, it is written well enough and is entertaining enough that the film runs without ever feeling that unnecessary time was wasted.

What worked well in this film is that the focus was very much on the original 5 superheroes. The Avengers crew has become way too large over the last couple of years and Avengers: Infinity War’s ensemble cast was large enough to host a high-school reunion of a really robust year. I don’t think it is too much of a spoiler to mention that when the rest of the avengers return, it is worth it and at the exact right moment. It is also really beautiful with the focus on one character’s reaction specifically, and you will have to have been dead inside for a thousand years not to be touched by it.

I will probably return with another review once the spoilers are out everywhere. Further than that, it was good and powerful and I enjoyed it. It has been a wild ride, and a beautiful one.

Love you 3000 😉

Rating: 7.5/10

Movie Review: Aquaman (2018)

Aqua poster

Plot: Arthur Curry, the human-born heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, goes on a quest to prevent a war between the worlds of ocean and land.

April is such an exciting month! Avengers Endgame AND Game of Thrones! Yup, I’ve seen the first episode, and it was good, I just can’t see myself reviewing per episode on here. Since I am SO ready for Endgame, I thought I would do a quick post on the only superhero movie I have seen that I haven’t put on here yet, Aquaman (although not even in the same universe, ha).

I saw this in the cinema in December 2018. It got some good reviews and reached the billion dollar club (The club which is not so elite anymore, but anyway). Some people thought this was a great film, and that’s okay. For me it was merely decent and while better than some of the other DC flicks, it still left much to be desired.

rev_1_AMN_JBG_0067r_High_Res_JPEG.0

I love Jason Momoa – he’s marketable, funny, beautiful and impressively big. I am not convinced he’s the best actor on the planet, but at this stage he doesn’t need to be. He chooses this big and gruff roles because it actually looks like that is who he is as a person. He does fine with Stephen Curry, and even though there are moments where he isn’t utterly convincing, he does remain one entertaining man. And even if he was terrible, you still get to see a really big and attractive man wet and built for two hours and 22 minutes. The love story between him and Mera (Amber Heard) felt really forced and unnecessary. A couple of superhero films have done really well by now without some romantic entanglement, and I think this would have survived without that as well.

Nicole Kidman plays Arthur Curry’s mom and the Queen of Atlantis. She’s named Atlanna, just so that no one gets confused who she really is. It’s a role far beneath her acting abilities and she navigates the sea without much issue. If you can believe that she mothered Momoa’s genetics, you can believe anything.

1543919564-aquaman-patrick-wilson

Patrick Wilson plays Curry’s half-brother King Orm. He’s a terrible leader in this movie and also has dealing with the pirates Curry tackles in the beginning of the film. Other than Wilson’s deeply upsetting hairstyle, he does a decent (if one layered) villain. This is a nice setup for a second movie to begin with, which I am sure after a billion dollars no one will hesitate to commit to.

At the core, this origin story is nothing new. The release was well timed, in time for the relaxed holiday viewers. The last battle will leave you feeling exhausted because it is just so stupid and long. It’s really not that bad, just cheesy and silly. I definitely won’t commit to a second viewing, but that isn’t because of the quality – I rarely feel that superhero movies need to be watched twice.

Rating: 6/10

maxresdefault

 

Movie Review: A Star Is Born (2018)

ASIB

Plot: A musician helps a young singer find fame as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral

Some people are born with a whole lot of talent. Like, sickening amounts. Two such humans, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, decided to collaborate in a project we never knew we needed quite this much. They are a powerhouse combination as Ally, the down-to-earth-but-wildly-talented Italian American girl who meets Jackson Maine (Cooper), where he stumbles into a burlesque bar one night while she’s performing. Jack, a country megastar is an alcoholic and on a slow medical decline due to his ever growing hearing impairment. Ally seemingly stabilizes him for a while, and as her star continues to shine Jackson’s doesn’t really grow dimmer so much as that his out of control problems rips their life into chaos.

Let’s first focus on the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper. He is a great actor, but might I say he is an even better director? There are strokes of genius moments – focusing on Jackson instead of on Ally while she performs, giving him as the actor enough time to show the feelings the character is experiencing while Ally changes some of his previous ideas. It’s beautiful and touching and inspired. The movie is also incredibly real feel to it, never shying away from the sweaty looks while artists are onstage that makes them so undeniably human – there is one particular scene where Ally is performing one of her new songs to a large crowd and she is sweaty and messy and very human. I am not too great at chatting about why I believe a director is great, but can I finally also add that the colors and use of lighting in this film is really good.

As an actor, Cooper undertook 18 months of vocal training to perfect Jackson’s gravelly country drawl. He also performs all the songs himself and sang live in all the shots in the film. Like I said, sickeningly talented. There is also a heartbreaking raw desperation to Jackson – sad and lonely and dealing with an idolization of a father who was anything but great. It’s impossible not to be touched by scenes where he describes how he was treated by the father he idolizes, and it is clear that his problems started

There is nothing particularly fresh about how the story is told, and even the ending is slightly darker than the usual route, it still remains a well visited topic. A Star Is Born is unique because, in my opinion, the following reasons:

  • Lady Gaga is not only a phenomenal performer with one of the best voices of our time. She is more than a passable actress. Cooper chose well to have her in this role and the movie couldn’t possibly have enjoyed this level of success with a less convincing performer. I will be honest and say that I never cared for her crazy theatrics on stage, but as this form? I can become a major fan.
  • The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga is off the charts. I hope they make more films together because they work seamlessly as a pair and were utterly convincing as a pair, so much so that there are STILL rumors about their off screen affair, which didn’t happen, because, ya know, maybe Bradley just isn’t the cheating type. However, it creates a tense and powerful atmosphere in this movie and the combination of the two makes you truly want it to work for Ally and Jackson
  • I had some moments rolling my eyes because the notion that only women who have poor self esteems and dress “down-to-earth” are worth noticing is played with a bit in here – let me just say that a woman can dress in a piece of meat and still be just as talented as Ally in ASIB (quite literally for Gaga), and still have the same amount of talent worth noticing.

Overall, this film definitely deserves the hype it got. and even though heartbreaking, I can commit to watching it again. It was THAT good.

Let me know if you saw it and loved it!

Rating: 8/10rev-1-ASIB-15481r_High_Res_JPEG

Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

BR

Plot: The story of the legendary rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985)

Wow. I went to see this in cinema in December and never got around to reviewing it. It simply needs a spot on this blog because even though I never got around to posting a top 10 films for 2018, this would have ranked high up.

Let’s focus a few seconds on the performance that made this film – Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury. Malek has always embraced oddball roles with vigor and has no trouble taking on a human legend full of eccentricity like Mercury. The two sides of Mercury is explored – his crazy media and onstage persona and him as a loner and intensely private. Malek handles both with aplomb. He switches seamlessly between the two sides of Mercury and seems truly lost in his performances on stage.  I doubt anyone else could have given such a convincing performance. He deserved his Oscar, and he deserves all the praise being thrown his way for his work.

I liked that the movie focused on the band and how they developed, grew and thrived to become one of the greatest bands of all time. It could have gone without a few fabrications, such as a breakup by the band. I know there was some uproar online about the numerous factual inaccuracies in the film, but Bohemian Rhapsody is still one of the strongest films to walk out of 2018.

The other performances are stellar as well, although I would have enjoyed more time with the other band members on screen. I still don’t accept that Gwilym Lee portrayed Brian May – he looks so much like the real deal in the film that I won’t accept that they didn’t just dye the real Brian May’s hair brown again. Anyway, he obviously does a convincing job to portray the amazing guitarist. Joseph Mazello plays John Deacon and Ben Hardy Roger Taylor, and I think the only thing that could have made the movie better was more in-band conversations. Lucy Boynton plays Mercury’s female love interest Mary Austin, and yup, you guessed it, a fine job too. Allen Leech plays a villainous manager that corrupts Mercury and derails his life, and it was quite upsetting seeing my favorite Tom Branson behaving in such a manner.

I have been a Queen fan for a big part of my life. Their music is just so alive and interesting and original. I probably sound so much older than what I am when I say that they just don’t produce music like this anymore – the originality seems to have gone down the drain in lieu for bum shorts and gangster lyrics. It was an amazing to listen to all the songs in cinema and know every single word. There is also the incredible Live Aid performance reenacted in the movie, which made me re-watch the actual performance countless times.

Freddy Mercury succumbed to aids-related illness in 1991. His death continues to be one of the greatest losses in the music industry, with such an incredible talent gone forever. With the medical advancements we currently enjoy, he could have fought the progression of the disease for many years and continued to thrive. This film manages to capture the genius and essence of who he was. If you haven’t sat down to watch this yet, I really suggest you do.

Rating: 8/10

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel

Plot: Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

There’s that friendly rivalry between Marvel and DC, which actually just ends up benefiting them both. Fans of either side usually flock to cinemas either way, because if you love your superheroes, you love your superheroes. DC took a tentative step forward by bringing forth the fantastic Wonder Woman, which did great despite the internet trolls. Never one to lie down, Marvel countered with the equally great Black Panther, who also did great despite internet trolling racists. If we need a friendly rivalry to promote inclusion of women and people of color in films, then I am happy to have it. Marvel subsequently added more pew to their pew-pews by bringing forth Carol Danvers, potentially their strongest hero (ine), managing to include a female led film in their repertoire and also some much needed help to the depleted Avengers crew.

So, I thought this was great. I am stealing an opinion from a friend here, but as I quite agree I will tell you about it – the only (small) thing about Wonder Woman was that they included a whole lot of Pantene-esque scenes with Gal Gadot’s beautiful hair everywhere, highlighting just how beautiful she is. Carol Danvers is a straightforward fighter and her strength is highlighted by how completely bad-ass she is. I personally think that Brie Larson is just gorgeous, but the film never really focuses on her looks but more on what she is able to do.

Brie Larson is fantastic in this! There were some negative feedback about her not smiling enough in the film – who the hell has time for smiling anyway when you are saving earth and discovering where you come from?! That said, if you are only open to watching this film and not sitting in your mother’s basement and spreading hateful comments on the internet, you will notice that Carol Danvers has a whole lot of emotion flitting across her face – humor, sarcasm, kindness, empathy, and yes, even a smile or two. Larson is a phenomenal actress with a few impressive movies behind her name, and she certainly does not deserve any negative feedback for this role. I also seriously loved how they depicted the relationship between her and co-pilot and best friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) – we need more of this on screen, the true female friendships that inspire greatness, loyalty and courage. The same can be said for the respect and honor between the two trainee pilots and Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Benning), who I was surprised and happy to see in this even if she could manage a role like this blindfolded and tap dancing.

Samuel L. Jackson gets significant screen-time to link Carol to the Avengers, and man, he was a treat as always. It is great CGI to make him appear like his 1995 self, and the chemistry between him and Larson is great – it seems like they are true friends. It also provides some backstory on Nick Fury, which is something we all wanted – like why does he have that eye-patch? When exactly did he begin the Avengers initiative? All these interesting questions are answered and more.

1548925157_captainmarvelgoosesocial

There has been so much talk of this movie by now you don’t need me to tell you that there is a highly entertaining cat in this film, or that Jude Law is gorgeous as Yon-Rogg, and that Ben Mendelsohn does a good job as Talos. What you need to do is go watch this in cinema and help Captain Marvel march towards a billion dollars, to prove that the world is inclusive and awesome.

Have you seen this? Let me know your thoughts!

Rating: 8/10

Movie Review: Captain Fantastic (2016)

b18f9040ebb874feac5ee548eba9a06c

Plot: In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

I have only had the pleasure to find a handful of films that had the power to make me consider whether my beliefs need to be reevaluated, managed to be ingenious and non-offensive and maintain originality. I also need to listen when the entire world tells me to go watch a movie because I will like it. Finally sitting down to watch Captain Fantastic was a rewarding experience and something I will gladly do again.

It’s an easy way to go with this review, but let me tell you, Captain Fantastic, is, well, friggin Fantastic. Viggo Mortensen, also known as Lord Aragorn and King of My Heart*, plays Ben Cash, a survivalist living with his 6 children and wife Leslie in the Washington wilderness. Following Leslie’s suicide, Ben decides to take his children to her funeral, inciting the wrath of his father in law, who does not agree with how his grand children are being raised.

The movie was ready with answers to all the questions I could think of. The first is naturally the presumption that survivalists are ill-informed and uneducated. Leslie was an attorney before she and Ben moved to the Wilderness. Ben’s youngest daughter is more capable of reciting and understanding the Bill of Rights than the teenager of his sister. They are taught to think critically and not only to parrot information, but to understand and dissect facts. They are well fed and although their lifestyle is unorthodox, they are taken care of. Ben doesn’t abuse his children – physically or through the neglect so accidentally bestowed upon children in modern society.

Ben also tells his children the truth. He doesn’t hide it that their mother committed suicide, and meets his and their grief face on. He doesn’t lie about sex or make it a taboo subject – it is just another topic in their household. While I can’t really see myself being quite that open to young children, I do like that it didn’t turn into this sneaky taboo thing our Western society makes it to be.

Then there is also literally everyone else in the movie, who believes Ben is either insane or just plain wrong. And are they wrong? They are all acting out of concern and clearly love Ben and his children. Ben’s father in law (played by Frank Langella) is the most vocal about it and even though he serves as the “antagonist”, he’s clearly not a bad man and wants the best for his grand kids who he so clearly adores.

I don’t have kids and I don’t plan on having some anytime soon, but I think the majority of parents want the best for their children. This movie explores a far right approach to parenting and is shot well enough with enough consideration to present this insane approach as viable. Viggo Mortensen and the rest of the cast are incredible carriers of this story – the accolade of best actor would have been well bestowed on this nominee at the Oscars. There is depth and knowledge in the way he carries this role and seems to be Ben completely. I also particularly liked George McKay as Bo, because his story was at a critical time where he had to move on to the next phase of his life. His knowledge about everything yet about nothing when it comes to being a real teenager was well played out by the actor, and he also managed to make the situations he finds himself in a bit funny while also highlighting what is wrong with Ben’s parenting approach.

The ending is satisfactory – a little yielding in Ben’s approach to accommodate the needs of his growing children, and yet it still remains in line with what he holds as the truth in his heart. It does show that at the end of all his eccentricity, he loves his children and is willing to do everything for them.

Rating: 9/10

Captain-Fantastic-01

 

Movie Review: The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

The-Guernsey-Literary-and-Potato-Peel-Pie-Society-New-Film-Poster-1-1024x768

Plot: In the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.

I may not actually know how to blog anymore, but here goes. But some films deserve to be written about. This movie just deserves to be up here, and for the three still reading this blog, this is for you.

I have been keeping my eye on the release date of the mouthful of a film: The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society in South-Africa for a while, but became quite despondent when I saw just how limited release was planned. Fate intervened, and I got tickets to a special screening of this film. (Lucky me!)

I didn’t know all the deets about the film, but I was excited because it looked like my dormant British heart (I am sure I am 50% British because I love everything about their entertainment culture and history), the location of which I have always been interested in and an interesting mix of cast, I thought would be satisfied. My hopes were not smashed in one of these aspects. It is also good once in a while to completely not know what will happen in a movie.

When phrases like “Move over Darcy, this is Dawsey Adams” makes the round, you must know I will arrive at the scene to form my own opinion. However, this statement is way off base and those who agree with it have certainly never picked up a copy of Pride in Prejudice. Although both men are nearly perfect (and imaginary) depictions of what anyone would hope to find in love, they are dissimilar to each other. I won’t say too much about Mr. Darcy, you can read my lyrical waxing on a number of posts in this blog about his fine character, but Dawsey Adams (by the delightful Michiel Huisman) is straight off delightful from the very beginning. He is pure and wonderful and takes on more than he ever should have by taking care of a little girl, at first glance his own child, while Elizabeth Mackenna (Jessica Brown Findlay) is mysteriously not on the island when writer Juliet Ashton (Lily James) arrives. He is a pure hardworking farmer that has witnessed the ugliest side of war. How must he have felt when he couldn’t join the forces and fight against the Germans due to a medical condition? How powerless when he witnessed the casual cruelty of the Germans occupying Guernsey? When he also had to deal with the fact that not all the German soldiers were evil? So many questions.

Guernsey

Lily James provides a charming performance as Juliet Ashton and highlights well her underlying trauma of the war, a woman trying to fit herself into a world where she is wildly successful but still managed by all the men in her life, no matter how charming they might be. One of these men is her handsome fiancé Mark Reynolds, an American soldier who has put a very, very sparkly ring on her finger. Mark (Glen Powell), is as perfect as you can hope to find a man – dashing, kind, generous, helpful, and yet the watcher knows for certain the love Juliet and Mark has is just not enough to carry them.

Things I liked:

  • Let’s start with the quoting of one of Jane Eyre’s most infamous passages during the book club meeting Juliet attends – I am currently rereading this gothic romantic masterpiece, and I was extremely impressed that they included it in the movie. The rendition by Isola (Katherine Parkinson) was at once slightly hilarious and touching.
  • On that topic, the character of Isola Pribbly provides just the correct amount of comedy to the film. She was a favorite in the cinema and all her lines, slightly drunk and ever endearing, made me wish I could be friends with such a fantastic woman.
  • The Downton Abbey Flashback! Lily James, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay and Penelope Wilton made this a family affair. Whether it was deliberate or not, the combination of these four actors made me more ready for the Downton Abbey movie (hopefully) later this year.
  • Penelope Wilton is a fantastic actress and her grief in losing so many people in the war made more than one person in cinema emotional.
  • Matthew Goode needs more screen time in my life. I firstly loved this character because he was on Juliet’s side, and not some sort of villain as is often the case with agents depicted in movies, but her genuine friend and confidante. He also provides a solid performance.
  • The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society is not only a romantic film, it is a tribute to the land, the people of Guernsey and the aftermath of war, the rebuilding of life and dealing with repercussions long after an event has passed. The romance is indeed secondary, and the true love is indeed for the beautiful tale told.
  • The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society made me remember half-forgotten memories and feelings – I remember reading about the evacuation of the British children to their countryside during the war, I remembered how my sister and I loved to keep flowers in books and parse them. It is shot and directed beautifully and the scenery is as charming as the story itself.
  • The handsome Matthew Goode is Juliet’s agent and close confidante. He is as always endearing and I can see this man being a fantastic friend. I liked that he was on her side – how often is the agent/manager actually an antagonist? It’s exhausting and bad writing. Not all business partners are bad.
  • I can carry on for hours about each character – which I am glad Mark Reynolds wasn’t a bad guy, and how charming Glen Powell was in his depiction. The hypocritical Christianity of Adelaide Addison – such a fantastic job by Bronagh Gallagher – I have rarely seen such a tasteful depiction of the pettiness in which righteous, bored old women can fall into.
  • The chemistry between Lily James and Michiel Huisman – such a slow, burning and quietly increasing vibe. They made this movie by appearing so perfectly compatible.

guernsey-c2a9-studiocanal-s-a

I will round it off here, and tell you to just go watch it. If you don’t like it I am not sure we can be friends. I am currently reading the book, and I need the DVD as soon as it is available in South-Africa. If I don’t have it to watch on repeat, I will surely die a slow and lonely death.

On that dramatic farewell, do let me know if you saw this!

Rating: 8.5/10