LFF 2015: another one bites the dust…

Brie Larson in ROOM

I’ve been feeling relatively apathetic towards film for a few months… a mix of personal and professional woes that have made my key source of enjoyment feel lacklustre. Thankfully, the festival this year [whilst not the strongest line up] has totally reinvigorated my passion. It feels brilliant! I somehow managed to not completely burn myself out for the first time, and enjoyed nearly everything I saw.

Here’s the lowdown [in watched order]:

CAROL — managed to catch a sneaky pre-festival screening of this; 8am is always the best time to catch an emotional lesbian drama, right? Whilst I found the script [especially some of the dialogue] a little clunky in parts, and was fairly underwhelmed by Rooney Mara, this is thoroughly moving and beautiful piece of filmmaking. Cate Blanchett is screen goddess. 8 stars

SUFFRAGETTE —cried my way through this moving, beautiful film. I’ve been left to defend this one to many who are cynical, under the belief it’s only had such a hype because it’s a feminist story… jesus. Not something I’ll rush to see again but had a resounding impact on me. 7.5 stars

BANG GANG — what’s not to love about a French teen chemsex drama? Beautifully shot and well acted, it was unfortunate that the competition between characters for spot of protagonist left me feeling like I really didn’t engage with any of them properly. Story was messy at parts, and ends up becoming a morality tale with a weirdly conservative message; group sex will lead to punishment, dontcha know! For a first feature, still impressive — director Eva Husson is most definitely one to watch. 6 stars

SON OF SAUL — the Hungarian nomination for FL Oscar, and a world war II drama to boot; it’s a real shame that I was left feeling apathetic to the character’s struggles. Visual language, especially in the first 10 minutes, is brilliant, but it loses it’s edge as the film progresses. Somewhat annoyed that the title gives away the key twist very early on??? This being said, it’s still 6 stars

ROOM — Phowar. It’s a real treat when you have started to fear you might have over-hyped something to yourself, only to be totally blow away by it. Having been a solid member of the ‘We Heart Brie Larson’ club since SHORT TERM 12, she’s absolutely freaking brilliant. Screenplay is moving and well thought, cinematography and production design on point… 9 stars

VERY BIG SHOT — stuck in Picturehouse Central with an impending earache, I took a punt with the Official Selection tag on this one rather than waiting 2 hours for something else… what surprise it was. The first hour is a hard-hitting drug war drama set in Beiruit; a few walked out early, and I wasn’t surprised — well made, but seen it all before. Suddenly an hour in this film veers off into BOWFINGER territory, and I could not stop laughing. It was hilarious! Tis a shame the comedic elements didn’t kick in slightly earlier, as you’re burnt out by the time they arrive, and the resolution doesn’t seal the deal on what could of been a brilliant but is nonetheless very enjoyable film. 6.5 stars

THE LOBSTER — topping my Must See List for the festival, in the footsteps of DOGTOOTH, I did enjoy this stylised, sci fi romance. There was something in the story that left me feeling underwhelmed; the world created in not fully realised, and I felt too disconnected from the characters. It’s missing the absolutely gruelling darkness of it’s predecessor, and whilst comedic at moments, falls short of outright comedy. This being said, it’s still bizarrely wonderful in it’s own way, and a fantastic step for Yorgos Lanthimos. 7 stars

SWORN VIRGIN — delightful, yet seemingly dull all at once, it’s an interesting exploration of relationship between gender and nurture. 6 stars

THE BOY — I knew within 40 minutes that this had to be a first time director; there were just too many atmospheric panning shots not to be. It’s isolated setting, and lack of development in the story, means this slow paced ‘psychological horror’ might be beautiful at moments but totally yawn worth. Good production design? 4 stars

THE LADY IN THE VAN — also, the point of the festival where the whole lack of sleep caught up with me and I did nod off for 10 minutes. This been said, this twee British comedy is totally sweet in all the right places, and I still thoroughly enjoyed it. One for my mum. 7 stars

EVOLUTION — look, I’m all for experimental cinema, but I just think I’ll probably pre-plan and avoid mid festival in the future. Totally bizarre, and not the worst thing I saw but forgettable nonetheless. 5 stars

CLOSET MONSTER — an interesting but not spectacular coming out story; all the usual elements, but the acting was above par for a lower budget indie. Will keep an eye on cast & director. 6 stars

THE IDOL — as with the best ones, I didn’t read much into this prior to popping along to a severely undersold weekday afternoon screening at OLS. What a beautiful story; I came out of the screening keen to find out what the child actors were involved in, only to find they were actually from Gaza! A crazy prospect! It’s charming, and although a relatively predictable biopic, it captured my heart. 7.5 stars

CHEMSEX — having a personal note to me, affecting people I am close to, this subject matter was moving… but really, the documentary fell short to really feel as though it touched the problem to the extent I wish. How good is David Stuart but?! 6 stars

STEVE JOBS — wow. I know this one is obviously tipped to win all the oscars, and isn’t receiving universal acclaim, but I found the three-act set up a genius exploration of the character. The dialogue was sharp (not perfect), and the acting — as expected — was supreme. Keen to see this again soon. 8.5 stars

Until next year…

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.