Juliet, Naked (2018) Film Review *Spoiler alert*

Annie (Rose Byrne) is stuck. She moved home to a small, seaside town to care for her father and fell into a job, a relationship and a life that she’s not altogether happy with. Her partner Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) is a uni lecturer who has a total obsession with musician Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) who disappeared from public view decades ago. Dale spends his spare time online making videos, participating in online debates and forums – it is a true obsession. When Rose accidentally finds herself exchanging emails with Tucker without Duncan’s knowledge, things get complicated.

This is a really fun film. It’s written by Nick Hornby and is very much a Hornby fest – obsessed man, suffering and selfless girlfriend, whacky mate (in this case, Annie’s sister) and some decent laughs. If you’re not such a fan of romantic comedies, this probably isn’t for you. For me, the best thing in the film was Ethan Hawke’s performance – while he was mostly vague and fun, the glimpses of vulnerability were somewhat unexpected. However, I didn’t really like the romance of this film, which is a bit of a problem in a romantic comedy. I wanted more for Annie. I felt like she had fallen into one relationship and then kind of fell into another, and she was feeling dissatisfied and lost in her life but oh, thank goodness there is another man to fix her situation. A man who has a very poor track record for the way he has treated (and continues to treat) the women in his life. Yes, he is vulnerable, but he’s still a bit of a dick.

The Sapphires (2012) Film Review

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The Sapphires tells the story of four beautiful, young Aboriginal women, three sisters and a cousin, who took their soul singing to Vietnam to entertain the troops, enabled and facilitated by an affable drunk Irishman. Along the way, they encounter some bumps, but get their moments of stardom in front of the troops.

This is a delightful road trip with love, lust and good music.

There are a few moments that threatened to become serious – when the women encounter racism in various ways, or the fraught relationship between the eldest sister and the cousin, who has been living in the city. Initially, I felt that these serious issues were being brushed aside lightly until I recognised the film that it is. It is a light-hearted, feel-good film. It would be wrong for this film to completely ignore the more serious issues, but it is not an issue film.

The Sapphires is charming and lovely and light and funny and I could easily watch it again. Although this makes it sound wussy. It has soul and guts and determination and strong female characters. Which is nice for a change.

Bridesmaids (2011) Film Review

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There’s nothing I like more than being in a full cinema that is roaring with laughter. That’s what seeing Bridesmaids was like a few years ago; me, a bunch of my mates and a lot of laughing. Critics and the media were raving about how marvelous it was to have women being funny.

If you don’t know, the story is that Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married and appoints her best friend Annie (Kristen Wiig) as her maid-of-honour. However, Annie is post-break-up, has recently had her cupcake business go under and is pretty much a mess, and between her own craziness and jealousy of Lillian’s new friend Helen (Rose Byrne), Annie makes a mess of all of the pre-wedding events.

So why was it that I dreaded watching it again? It was really two scenes from the film that kept popping up in my mind; the speeches at the engagement party and the food poisoning/dress fitting. These extremely over-the-top scenes were all I could remember, and I hated them. The grossness of the food poisoning scene was just totally unnecessary and on a second watch, it really brings little to the film. Although, I suppose, it got people talking. As for the one-upmanship between Annie and Helen during the engagement speech, it just felt unrealistic and annoying.

Finally, I decided to push through and just watch it and I was delighted to find that these two scenes felt very out-of-place. There was a lot of over-the-top craziness, but there was also a lot of heart. I liked it a lot more than I expected to. I especially liked the friendship between Annie and Lillian, which felt very genuine.

It was awesome to see so many strong female actors in the film, even if some were playing very over-the-top caricatures. I expect that I’ll see whatever is touted as the next Bridesmaids, but I hope it doesn’t force the comedy so much as this did.