Wild (2014) Film Review

Cheryl (Reece Witherspoon) has had a tough life – single mother who died quite young, going off the rails, drugs and sex and a failed marriage – and so she walks across American on her own to find herself. That sounds a bit glib, but that’s kind of it.

There will be people who find this inspiring. Apparently, the book is amazingly inspiring. I thought it was good. The problem was that it’s almost impossible for a film of nearly two hours to properly capture such a big event. Yes, I got that she was tired and made mistakes and was injured and was alone and had a terrible life, but I didn’t really feel it. The way the flashbacks were cut in was nice, kept the flow. I think it is a very good movie. I just didn’t really like it.

Wild was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Reese Witherspoon) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Laura Dern), for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Reese Witherspoon) and a BAFTA for Best Leading Actress (Reese Witherspoon).


This Means War (2012) Film Review


FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are spies. FDR is a womaniser who has no inclination to get attached. Tuck has a son with his ex-wife and doesn’t trust women anymore. Then there is Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), a woman who moved following her heart, but the relationship ended and now she sees him with his perfect finance everywhere. Somehow, she ends up dating both, however for them, it is a competition.

Surprisingly enough, I hated this film. Why on earth did I think that names like Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon would be enough to save this dog of an idea? Firstly, am I really watching (another) film where the woman is the ‘prize’? Secondly, I’ve been taught from watching films that spies are professionals who save us from the bad guys (okay, that’s clearly my issue) and yet these two are using all their resources to get laid. Thirdly, rooms of men creepily watching the dates… really creepily… Oh, for crying out loud. What was I thinking watching this? People… MAKE BETTER FILMS!

Not surprisingly, Reese Witherspoon won a special mention award from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists for Actress Most in Need of a New Agent for this film.


Mud (2012) Film Review


I’ve started on my awards season film watching again, and this is pretty much the only reason I watched Mud. Turns out, this makes me an idiot. Matthew McConaughey was indeed nominated (and indeed won) a Golden Globe and an Oscar, but not for this film. Phew, I say, because he’s just fine in this, but I wouldn’t have thought it was award-worthy.

Mud is set in the deep south and follows a fourteen-year-old boy and his mate who have discovered a boat in a  tree on an island in the middle of the swamps. When they return to it, they discover Mud, a strange character who is living a strange existence, and before they know it, they are assisting him in his endeavours.

Tye Sheridan was marvellous as the main character; a boy who, despite his rough exterior, believes in love and will do anything for it; for his own love and for that which he sees in others. This belief leads to him getting hurt; both physically and emotionally, and you can see in his face that this hurt is so real.

Overall, I didn’t think it was a totally brilliant film, but it is worth watching just for the performances of the teenagers.


Pleasantville (1998) Film Review



A brother and a sister in 1990s America. Jennifer is far more interested in boys and partying than schoolwork. David is a geek, unseen in his own way, and obsessed with a 1950s Leave it to Beaver type television show called Pleasantville. A little bit of magic and they end up in the world of Pleasantville; 1950s America, with all the hot apple pies, sodas, sexual stereotypes and racism that anyone could want.


I really like this film. There’s not much that you would not expect from this film; fighting injustices as people discover who they really are. I found it clever and entertaining the first time around, and I’ve watched it several times since and really enjoy pretty much everything about it.


Pleasantville was nominated for Oscars for Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Best Costume Design and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score.



Water for Elephants vs Water for Elephants (2011)



There’s an elderly gentleman in a nursing home, suffering from some elements of dementia. His present day is intermingling with memories of his youth; during the depression, he worked on a circus. There is laughter, tragedy, love, death. Everything you need for a good yarn.

I find that the elderly person reminiscing on their youth can be a really overworked structure unless it is done really well. For me, it was the perfect structure for the book of Water for Elephants. The character of the old man who has lost his independence and is feeling helpless and that he has had his dignity stripped from him was beautifully portrayed and led into the actions that he takes. It’s a very enjoyable book with a lot to keep you interested, and a lot of historical fact that I found fascinating.

I was extremely hesitant to watch the film as I am not the biggest fan of Robert Pattinson, the star of Twilight. It’s a small thing, but I often find that his lips are far too red, and I find that odd. Then I discovered the film also starred Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz, and I am quite a fan of both of their work.

For a film, I don’t think it needed the old man reminiscing at all. Especially because all of his character was taken away and he was just left an empty vessel telling the story. There is enough in the story that it would have stood alone as a film. Plus, there are several times in the book when a period of time passes; a few days, or a week, but the film rushes through this and, I feel, loses some of the development of the story.

Both the film and the book are good; entertaining, different and interesting, but not brilliant.