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.

Before Sunrise (1995) Film Review


An American tourist, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is returning to Vienna for his flight home. He meets a Parisian, Celine (Julie Delpy) on the train and convinces her to stay in Vienna and hang out with him until he flies the next day. And here is the start of a 105 minute conversation, the conversation of two people who are attracted but expect this is the only time they will have together.

It’s one of those films where nothing much happens, but it is delightful to watch. I don’t particularly like either character; two twenty-somethings who have the arrogance to judge everything around, and the candour to say it to each other. And it is a beautiful setting. Not sure I’m clamouring to watch the two sequels, but I know I will at some time.

Before Sunrise was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Richard Linklater, Julie Delphy, Ethan Hawke, Kim Krizan)

Boyhood (2014) Film Review


Mason (Ellar Coltrane) is just your average kid, fights with his sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), his single mother (Patricia Arquette)is struggling with life and studying to make a better life for themselves and his absent father (Ethan Hawke) suddenly appears. And then over the next couple of hours, we see him grow from a small child to a teenager, heading to college.

This film was taped over twelve years, using the same actors. Some people have criticised it as being just an experiment, but I don’t think that is a bad thing at all. What I found was that it was a long view into the ordinary lives of people. At times, it seemed far too long, but that didn’t bother me all that much. Mostly, I just really enjoyed the trip. I enjoyed the way time was represented, that before you knew it, one whole period of time was gone, that relationships developed and disappeared with little explanation. Essentially, the whole film really captured that feeling that life disappears before you know it. And I liked it.

Boyhood won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Patricia Arquette) and was nominated for Best Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Ethan Hawke), Best Achievement in Directing (Richard Linklater), Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Richard Linklater) and Best Achievement in Film Editing. It won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture –Drama, Best Director – Motion Picture (Richard Linklater) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Patricia Arquette) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supprting Role (Ethan Hawke) and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Richard Linklater). It won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), the David Lean Award for Direction (Richard Linklater), BAFTA Film Award and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Ethan Hawke) and Best Original Screenplay (Richard Linklater).


The Purge (2013) Film Review


This dystopian future in the US is not too different to the present apart from one day per year, the day of The Purge. For twelve hours, all crime including murder is legal, in an attempt to get rid of all of the pent up anger that the button down society demands. There are three ways that people deal with The Purge – the rich lock themselves up, the poor try to survive and the others participate in The Purge, killing and attacking whoever they want.

James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) sells security systems, and has just become the number one seller in the region. He, his wife Mary (Lena Headey), son Charlie (Max Burkholder) and daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane) lock down, but when a homeless man who has been attacked stumbles into the rich streets screaming for help, Charlie’s humanity causes him to let the man in. The attackers, a group of attractive, young, educated, wealthy people insist that either the man is released or they will break in to the house.

I had a few minor issues with the film, but nothing I felt worth mentioning. I liked it for the suspense it created, the challenges it gave the characters (okay, some of those were pretty ridiculous and underdone, but whatever) and the reality it portrayed. It was fun and silly and made some (albeit obvious and a bit clumsy) comments on society.

Predestination (2014) Film Review


It’s a time travel film, so forgive me for getting lost as to whether it is the past, the future, the present, an alternative present; it is this confusion that makes the tricks and games of this genre of films really work. Let me start it again;

It is at a point in time in a world like ours but with a few people who are able to travel through time. Agents, like The Bartender (Ethan Hawke), who is trying to track down a bomber and stop him from killing thousands. His boss is Mr Robertson (Noah Taylor), and then there is the story of The Unmarried Mother (Sarah Snook), a mysterious character who has a terribly sad story to tell.

There is a lot that works so well for this film; it was wonderful to see Ethan Hawke back at his best, and Sarah Snook was also wonderful. The storylines became necessarily convoluted, but I was totally engaged, mostly because of how much I liked the characters. I would say, however, that if it were the intent of The Spierig Brothers to create a story that had great twists and turns, it didn’t work that way for the viewer. For me, I didn’t mind that I could pick where the plot was going; there was pleasure in seeing the characters make the connections.


Dead Poets Society (1989) Film Review


Mr Keating (Robin Williams) is the new teacher at an exclusive private school in Vermont in 1959, shaping the minds of future doctors and lawyers and businessmen. But he believes in living life to the full: Carpe Diem. This is appealing to some of his students, but many parents and staff and less than impressed, especially when tragedy ensues.

I think I saw this film six times in the cinema when it was released. I loved the hope and the rebellion, and (let’s face it) I loved the handsome young men trying to find their paths. I was pleased to discover that it very much held up for me. Perhaps part of that is the memories it brings back, but I do think it is a very good film. Funny (and I will certainly say that some of the classroom scenes are bit over-the-top in the Robin Williams humour) and sad. There are certainly some elements in the film that feel a bit clichéd and twee, but I don’t care. When Josh Charles’ character strokes the girl’s hair, when Robert Sean Leonard’s character flings a desk set from the roof, when Ethan Hawke’s character yawps; these things all give me joy.

Dead Poets Society won an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Tom Schulman) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Robin Williams) and Best Director.