Carol (2015) Film Review

Carol (Cate Blanchett) is a rich woman, married to Harge (Kyle Chandler) but who prefers the company of women. He has forced the end of her relationship with Abby (Sarah Paulson), but now that Carol and Harge are separated, she feels free to pursue Therese (Rooney Mara). But things cannot go smoothly.

Again, it is one of those films where not a lot happens – it’s slow and beautiful and fabulous. It’s rare to have a film about love between women in the mainstream, and with a cast like Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, this was always going to be mainstream. Setting it in the fifties allows the film to be read with an element of ‘that was then, things are different now’, but I hope people realise that many of the prejudices and fears are still as real now.

Carol was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Cate Blanchett), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Rooney Mara), Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Phyllis Nagy), Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Costume Design and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score.



Her (2013) Film Review


Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is in an unusual writing job and leads a mostly solitary existence after the break down of his marriage.  He purchases a new operating system is released which contains artificial intelligence, developing to meet the every need of the user, and quickly, he starts to fall for ‘Samantha’ (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). What are the limitations of a personality that is not human and has no real physical presence, and yet has the intelligence and ability to communicate in a real manner?

This film is beautiful. Theodore is a very sensitive character, flawed and hurt. His interactions are real, and his confusion and wonder at  the whole situation is genuine and totally engaging. The film really has me thinking about the moral and ethical limitations of this type of artificial intelligence, in a similar way to the excellent Swedish television series Real Humans.

Her won a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay (Spike Jonze)and was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. It was also nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Acheivement in Music Written for Motion Pictures  – Original Score, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures – Original Song (The Moon Song by Karen O and Spike Jonze), Best Achievement in Production Design and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Spike Jonze).

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013) MIFF Film Review

AintthembodiessaintsfeatureUSA 97 mins

Ruth (Rooney Mara) and Bob (Casey Affleck) are young, in love and have just found out that they are going to have a child. But when one of their crimes goes wrong leaving a friend dead and a policeman shot, Bob ends up in jail. Four years later, he escapes and tries to reunite the family. He is up against the police who are trying to recapture him, Skerritt (Keith Carradine) who he used to run crime for, Patrick Wheeler (Ben Foster) the policeman who is at the centre of his conviction and a few very bad men who have swung into town to seek revenge.

Set in the early 70s, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints tells the story of young criminals in love in a gentle, slow manner. It was a very beautiful film with a feel reminiscent of Badlands or even Lawless. I really enjoyed it, although I can see that others may not have been quite so engaged. In fact, a fellow cinema attendee loudly exclaimed on the way out “boring and pretentious”. Different strokes, I guess.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints screens at Greater Union on Friday, July 26 at 9:15pm and at the Forum Theatre on Monday, August 5 at 9pm. To book tickets, visit