Gifted

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Frank Adler (Chris Evans, Captain America) is a single man raising his niece Mary (McKenna Grace) after the death of her mother. His plans to give Mary a normal life are thrown into disarray however when after her first day at school it becomes clear that she is a Maths prodigy. The news makes its way to Frank’s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan, About Time), who previously had had no contact with Mary, and soon Frank is in the middle of a custody battle with his mother whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer (The Help, Hidden Figures) is Frank’s landlady and friend who has a very close bond with Mary and along with Mary’s teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate, Girls) they help Frank in his fight to keep Mary.

gifted-trailer-stillI don’t know if we saw a special showing of this film but there were no adverts or trailers, we had literally just sat down when the film began, throwing us straight into the lives of Frank and Mary and their special bond. Gifted takes its time to tell us the background of the pair, leaving a bit of mystery as details are slowly revealed. The two main characters clearly have a deep connection and this is shown throughout the film. Frank is obviously torn between fighting to give Mary a normal childhood and letting his mother enhance Mary’s mathematical abilities. There are some very powerful scenes between the two throughout and the whole film is beautifully acted.

McKenna Grace gives an amazing performance considering she’s only 11. She is able to bring a range of emotions and takes the audience on a journey with her character. One scene between Frank and Mary will have you fighting back the tears! Chris Evans, known more for action films, takes a different role entirely here. His portrayal of Frank is perfect, the love he has for Mary is clear but the fact that he doesn’t really know whether he’s doing the right thing by Mary is evident too. He is completely torn and Chris acts this beautifully. The bond between Chris and McKenna is strong throughout and all the scenes they have together are brilliant. You can really believe the relationship between the two of them.

gifted-webOctavia Spencer, though only a relatively small role, is perfect as always. She is Frank’s right-hand woman, taking Mary every Friday night so he can still have a bit of his own life. It’s clear from the start that Roberta and Mary also have a very close bond but as the court case goes on Roberta points out her feelings have no say in what happens to Mary, no matter how much she loves the child. Along with Mary’s teacher Bonnie they support Frank in his fight but ultimately there is nothing they can do. Jenny Slate is great as Bonnie, she spots Mary’s gift and encourages her in class and along the way she also starts to get close to Frank.

Evelyn is the baddie in the film, having never shown an interest in her granddaughter’s life she suddenly shows up and demands custody when Mary’s talents are revealed. The court case throws up all sorts of secrets between mother and son as the truth is slowly revealed. Lindsay Duncan gives a very good performance, it’s easy to not like her when put against the obvious bond between Frank and Mary, but towards the end of the film we fully start to understand why she is so desperate to oversee Mary’s upbringing and start to see her in a new light. The relationship between mother and son is strained and Chris and Lindsay really portray this through their scenes together.1494429135_chris-evans-gifted-trailer-1478031318-620x413

Overall Gifted is a beautiful film. The story is powerful and takes you on an emotional journey. Chris Evans gives a brilliant performance but young McKenna is the star of the film. I can guarantee you will cry at least once, definitely a must-see and I’m surprised it hasn’t had more promotion over here!

Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman was one of the hotly anticipated releases of this year, it follows the DC Comic’s superhero before she gained her name, when she was just Diana, Princess of the Amazons. We see Diana growing up and her desperation to be a tribal warrior like the other women surrounding her, so when a pilot crashes into their world telling of a great war (WW1), Diana takes it upon herself to leave home and help fight. Along the way she wonder-woman-gal-gadotstarts to realise she has more power than she first thought, and just what this power could do to help end the war. Directed by Patty Jenkins – who has subsequently become the first female director of a studio superhero movie, and since the film’s release its given Jenkins the biggest domestic opening of all-time for a female director – and the lead played by Gal Gabot, Wonder Woman is definitely a female driven film.

Gal Gabot is utterly perfect in this role, she is undoubtedly beautiful but her kick-ass attitude means that women wish they could be her rather than hate her. I won’t deny that there were quite a few times I found myself wishing I could look as good as her in the outfit, but overall my feelings towards Gal/Wonder Woman is that I wish I had her guts! Gal’s portrayal gives us a woman who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself, whether physically or 2017_the_wonder_woman_gal_gadot_widethrough words, she is a brilliant role-model. The character is passionate and brave and Gal really creates a role that is believable and likeable. Relatively unheard of as an actress, Gal has certainly held her own in this lead role, proving all the critics wrong (many didn’t believe she was capable of doing the iconic character justice). The fact that she was five months pregnant whilst doing the re-shoots just makes Gal more of a hero in my eyes! She’s definitely one I’m going to watch out for in future films, and she’s officially one of my girl crushes!

49052The leading male is played by Chris Pine (Star Trek) as the pilot who crashes into Diana’s world. His character, Steve, brings a light humour throughout as he tries to make sense of Diana and this strange world that she has come from. There is a clear showing of respect from him towards Diana though, probably due to her dominant nature – and the fact she could beat him in a fight any day! Chris and Gal work perfectly together, creating a believable friendship/romance. Steve and Diana’s journey takes them across countries as they track down the person Diana believes is Ares (the God of War). Diana’s belief is that if Ares is stopped then the war will immediately end, for the war is Ares doing and not man-kinds. Steve, although sceptical, agrees to help and enlist his friends to join them. They include Steve’s secretary Etta (Lucy Davis, The Office), spy Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), marksman Charlie (Ewen Bremner, Trainspotting) and smuggler Chief (Eugene Brave Rock, The Revenant). Together they create quite the team, and though there are now a lot of men involved it’s still Diana that is leading the film. Another familiar face is David Thewlis (Harry Potter) who plays Steve’s boss.

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Visually, Wonder Woman is fantastic! There are a lot of superb action scenes – proving women are just as good at producing action sequences – and some of these are equipped with slow-motion shots, really ramping up the drama and tension. There’s plenty of dramatic moments to keep the guys happy and the fact that it’s Gal who executes the majority of the moves gives women a feeling of pride and respect.

Overall, I honestly think Wonder Woman is a fantastic film! Gal Gabot completely owns this role and I came out the cinema feeling awed and a little bit in love. Some of the Marvel/DC adaptions can be too laddie so to have one which is not only female led but female directed means that the outcome is a film that women will thoroughly enjoy and aspire towards. This doesn’t mean that men won’t enjoy it, quite the opposite in fact, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Wonder Woman becomes a favourite amongst women when deciding between superhero films. I would wholeheartedly implore you to go and see this film, if only to give you the sense that women really are capable of anything.

Baywatch (2017)

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Based on the popular television show of the same name, Baywatch follows Matt Brody (Zac Efron), a former Olympic swimmer who wants to join an elite team of lifeguards led by devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson). Brody thinks he’s a shoo-in, and his casual attitude starts to instantly rub Mitch the wrong way, but when drugs and a shady resort owner pose a threat to the bay, Mitch and Matt must put their differences aside to spring into action and save the day.

Now I haven’t ever seen the original Baywatch series but I know of it thanks to the many zac-efron-abs-2_u51gmentions it gets on Friends! So I know the basic premise is a lot of slow-motion running in tight swimwear – something which appeals to both genders…! I also know that David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson made their names from the show, and they do have small cameos near the end, so if you’re a fan of the original then you’ll be pleased. I went into this film with the lowest of expectations, it hadn’t received a lot of good press, and I fully expected to not like it. However, I was pleasantly surprised because Baywatch is actually a pretty decent film! The humour is silly and a little sexual but it never takes it too far so it’s crude, the story line is full of twists and turns and there are plenty of action scenes to keep you hooked. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it’s one that both genders can appreciate.

58497f7adb4bc611c084da80_o_u_v0Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson bring the male hotness – and there are plenty of topless scenes from both of them – and they also bring a lot of the laughs as the two guys constantly clash with each other. Dwayne’s character Mitch takes lifeguarding very seriously and doesn’t appreciate how Matt thinks he can just automatically join the team because of his status. Matt therefore pushes back against Mitch and tries to prove that he is the better man in all situations. Dwayne and Zac work very well together, their character’s annoyance with one another is clear to see and their comedy timing is brilliant. Zac plays the good-looking arrogant role perfectly, and though at first you kind of hate his character, he goes on a journey in which he starts to understand the benefits of working in a team.

The stunning women of the film include Summer (Alexandra Daddario), CJ (Kelly http3a2f2fhypebeast-com2fimage2f20162f122fbaywatch-2017-0Rohrbach) and Stephanie (Ilfenesh Hadera) who all have enviable figures which they parade around in super small and super tight swimsuits. Yes there are a lot of slow-motion close-ups as they run down the beach but you can’t really say its sexism because the same amount is shown of the men too! Also the women aren’t just there for the sex appeal, they are as much a part of the action scenes as the guys. We don’t get much background to the girls except that Summer is a new recruit like Matt, the film very much centres around Matt and Mitch and their dynamic relationship.

Bringing the majority of the humour to the film is Ronnie (Jon Bass), who is ridiculously in love with CJ, but as a slightly chubby and unfit male, doesn’t stand a chance with her. However his poor fitness levels don’t stop him trying out for the lifeguard team every year and this year he impresses Mitch with his determination and is let in. His role is clearly one to bring comedy value and Jon Bass does a very good job with this. He reminds me a little of Josh Gad and the characters that he often plays.

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Overall, Baywatch is a simple comedy film suitable for everyone (15+), it’s easy to watch and provides plenty of laughs and was surprisingly a lot better than I was anticipating. The action scenes are brilliantly shot, and there are plenty of slow-motion moments to appease everyone! Definitely one I would happily watch again.

Snatched

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After the success of her first film, Trainwreck, American comedian, actress and producer Amy Schumer is back with another comedy film – this time with the legend that is Goldie Hawn. The two play mother and daughter Linda and Emily, who have very different attitudes towards life, Emily is carefree and a dreamer whereas Linda is ultra-cautious and spends the majority of her life at home with her two cats and grown up son Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz). After Emily’s 705466_029boyfriend dumps her days before their (non-refundable) exotic trip to Ecuador, she is saddened to realise her only available companion is her mother. However she is determined to go and so convinces Linda to leave behind her safe life and journey with Emily to paradise. Unfortunately it’s not long before Emily is charmed by James (Tom Bateman), who is not who he seems, and Linda and Emily find themselves ‘snatched’ by the local baddie’s and must find a way back to safety.

Amy Schumer brings us a character that is instantly likeable, Emily does and says things that all girls certainly think about but don’t always have the courage to do – which is all part of Amy’s humour and why she’s so popular with women the world over. Goldie Hawn is perfect as Emily’s mother, Linda is desperate for some proper contact from Emily (avidly following her every post on social media) and their predicament on snatchedholiday means that the two are forced to face up to their differences and start working together again. Underneath all the on-going action there is a lovely story arc that sees a mother and daughter reconnecting. Amy and Goldie work perfectly together, you can really believe the mother/daughter connection. They bring both humour and emotion and really bounce off each other both on screen and off – judging from the promotional tour – which makes the film really natural and easy to watch.

The supporting cast includes the familiar faces of Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad), Wanda Sykes (Bad Moms), Joan Cusack (Toy Story) and Tom Bateman (Cold Feet). Wanda and Joan in particular bring a lot of laughs as two fellow holiday goers who attach themselves to Linda and Emily. Tom Bateman is unfortunately one of the baddies which is slightly annoying as he’s the only bit of eye candy in the film and he’s not even in it that much!thumbnail_25315

Overall, Snatched is a simple action comedy film that is exactly what’s needed to just let your mind relax. The story line is a great mix of humour, emotion and action, so there’s something for everyone. Amy really has a knack for writing scripts that hit on real life, her comedy is relate-able and although a lot of it is sexually linked she never lets it become too crude, always allowing just the right amount to shock but not disgust the audience. There are some great comedic moments throughout, and some genuine laughs were had. It’s probably more of a girls film, but there is plenty of action to keep the guys interested and at 90 minutes it’s just the right length to keep you connected for the duration.

Going in Style

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After witnessing a bank robbery – and facing losing his house due to his pension being stopped – Joe (Michael Caine) decides he too will rob a bank and take the money that he is owed. He ropes in lifelong friends, Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Albert (Alan Arkin) who are also plagued with money troubles, and together the three embark on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their pension money.

e821e9af9fb04e064dfebcd90b19fd27-1491541597Directed by Zach Braff (Scrubs), Going in Style is a lighthearted comedy for all ages. I really didn’t know what to expect from this film, but I like Zach Braff and with legends Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman fronting the film I figured it couldn’t be that bad. In fact it turned out to be a lot better than I imagined! The story line is simple, the jokes natural and the characters with their different lives are all totally believable and relate-able. You totally feel the desperation the three men have in getting their much-needed money and you’re rooting for them the entire time.

It’s not very often these days to be given a film led entirely by an older cast, but Going inrs_1024x759-150908141715-1024-michael-caine-morgan-freeman-jr-90815 Style proves that actors like Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkle still have what it takes to give us characters who we can fall in love in. The three men give us scenes of comedy and drama, both individually and together, creating well-rounded characters and some hilarious as well as emotional scenes. United by their money problems the three men also have their own personal reasons in robbing the bank. Ultimately they might be committing a crime but they’re not bad people and this is fundamental in the emotional pull throughout the film. Michael, Morgan and Alan all play these roles brilliantly, giving a perfect balance between comedy and drama but all the while keeping everything natural and believable. They are so at ease with each other that it’s easy to think they FILM Reviews 093789have been friends for 30+ years like the story indicates.

The supporting cast are all great and help boost the three leads, Ann-Margret is particularly funny as Albert’s love-interest. The film also stars Matt Dillon, Maria Dizzia (Orange Is the New Black), Kenan Thompson (Kenan & Kel) and Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians of the Galaxy). Each character, small or big, all bring a different aspect to the film and help shape the lead characters.

Overall Going in Style is a very good film, there are plenty of laughs throughout. Visually there’s plenty of action and there’s a scene when the three men are on the phone to each other and the screen splits three ways to show each of them, which was cleverly done. The comedy side isn’t forced, the film isn’t trying too hard to make you laugh, instead everything is very natural, which makes it a more enjoyable watch. I would definitely recommend this film, it’s one all generations can enjoy and one I will certainly be watching again!

The Promise

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Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise focuses on the Armenian Genocide and the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians. Alongside the genocide we are given a love story between Mikael (Oscar Isaac) an Armenian Medical Student, Ana (Charlotte Le Bon) an Armenian tutor to Mikael’s cousins, and her American boyfriend Chris (Christian Bale), a renowned journalist. Chris and Ana have a loving but fragile relationship and things aren’t helped when Ana meets Mikael, and when the genocide really starts to get going the bond between Ana and Mikael only grows stronger.

thepromise_trailer2Mikael is a sweet and caring character, who agrees to get engaged to a local girl in order to use the dowry to fund his way through medical school. It’s clear that Mikael wants to help his town as much as he can and by going to medical school he can return fully qualified to help others. It is whilst away at school that he meets and falls in love with Ana. However the full force of the genocide soon hits and Mikael is captured and becomes a prisoner of war, he manages to escape but becomes determined to find his family and Ana again before it’s too late. Oscar Isaac plays Mikael very well, there is a softness to his character which makes him instantly likeable and his emotional turmoil over his love for Ana and his responsibilities to his fiancee back home are clear to see.

crrbw9pueaa3uqxAna is another sweet and caring character, and with the help of Chris becomes determined to look after and rescue Armenian orphans from the genocide. Chris meanwhile is reporting the events back to America, much to the Ottoman Empire’s dislike. Chris is very protective of Ana and is a strong force in the relationship so therefore doesn’t take too kindly to Mikael’s arrival. However attitudes are put aside when events take a turn for the worse and the three characters must work together to help the many in need. Charlotte Le Bon takes on the role of Ana very well, showing her struggle to choose between the two men – without coming across as using them both – and her character easily switches from the gentle tutor to the strong determined woman desperate to help everyone to safety. Christian Bale (Batman in The Dark Knight Rises), the_promise_christian_balegives a good performance as Chris, who risks his life reporting back to America but is determined that the world know what is really happening. Chris is a character that grows on you, his original perception is one of a jealous controlling boyfriend but this changes as the film goes on.

Overall, The Promise is a good film, but as it’s about a genocide it’s not exactly happy..! It’s also over two hours long but unfortunately feels a lot longer, there’s definitely some parts that they could have missed out. There are a lot of twists and turns throughout though and the three main actors all work perfectly together creating likeable and believable characters. I’d recommend it purely for the historical value, it ends with some astonishing facts about the whole event, but unfortunately it’s not one that I would willingly watch again.

Their Finest

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Set during WW2 in London, aspiring writer Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) joins screenwriter Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) and eccentric actor Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy) to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation and capture the imagination of the Americans. Based on the novel The Finest Hour and a Half‘ by Lissa Evans, Their Finest is a romantic and moving portrayal of a young woman finding her way, and her voice, whilst in the mayhem of the war.

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Directed by Lone SherfigThe three leads are exceptional, but then you wouldn’t expect anything less from such brilliant actors. Bill Nighy brings the humour as the ageing actor who struggles to accept he is no longer wanted for the young leading male roles and alongside Sam and Gemma they form three characters that you instantly love and root for. Sam Claflin is fast becoming a sought after actor – last seen giving a very moving portrayal as the lead male in Me Before You – with plenty more films on the way this year alone! His portrayal of Tom Buckley gives us a frustrated screenwriter who has to face many obstacles in order to produce a film that everyone is happy to release, but he shows us a sensitive caring side in the way that he encourages Catrin to pursue her dreams and helps her on her path into screenwriting. Sam and Gemma work perfectly alongside each other, Gemma is no stranger to the big screen (St TriniansQuantum of Solace) but having been in theatre for some time this is the first we’ve seen of her in a while. Gemma’s portrayal of Catrin gives us a well-rounded individual who has to fight to keep working – her artist husband Ellis (Jack Huston, Ben-Hur) feels belittled by the fact theirfinest1that she is the one bringing home the money – and who has to fight to be heard amongst all the men working in the film industry. Catrin’s is a character you will love and relate to, and Gemma is excellent at giving us a range of emotions that pull at your heart strings.

Alongside the three leads is a cast filled with well-known names and faces: Paul Ritter (Friday Night Dinner), Richard E. Grant (Game of Thrones, Girls), Jake Lacy (Carol, How to Be Single) Jeremy Irons (Lion King), Eddie Marsan (Little Dorrit, War Horse) and Helen McCrory (Harry Potter, Peaky Blinders). Each actor brings a different character, with different backgrounds but they all seamlessly fit together to create excellent viewing.

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Directed by Lone SherfigOverall, Their Finest is a drama filled with emotion, ultimately it’s set during the war so that is a huge aspect throughout, but the relationships that these people from all walks of life form shows that even during times of duress there is a place for love and laughter. You will be taken on a journey with many twists and turns (a few you will definitely not see coming!) and you will love each and every character. It’s been a while since we’ve had a British film produced to this standard, but Their Finest is definitely one everyone should go and see. It’s a lovely film that deserves a lot of recognition, and with Sam, Gemma and Bill at it’s forefront, it’s definitely one I would happily see again.

Table 19

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Ex-maid of honour Eloise (Anna Kendrick) – having been relieved of her duties after being dumped by the best man, and brother of the bride, via text – decides to hold her head up high and attend her oldest friend’s wedding anyway. She finds herself seated at the ‘random’ table in the back of the ballroom with a group of strangers, most of whom should have known to just send regrets (but not before sending something nice off the registry). As everyone’s secrets are revealed, Eloise learns a thing or two from the people of Table 19. Friendships – and even a little romance – can happen under the most unlikely circumstances.

table19This isn’t your average wedding film, in fact it’s barely about the wedding at all! Instead the film focuses on these individuals who all had their different reasons for wanting to attend the wedding, and as the film progress each character is slowly revealed to us and the others at the table. The table itself is filled with well-known faces, Anna Kendrick leads with the main story line but is boosted by husband and wife Bina (Lisa Kudrow, Friends) and Jerry (Craig Robinson), distant cousin to the bride, Walter (Stephen Merchant, The Office), the bride’s first nanny, Jo (June Squibb) and Rezno (Tony Revolori) a mummy’s boy who just wants to meet a girl. With the likes of Anna, Lisa and Stephen, I was excited to see Table 19, and the trailer made it seem very funny and a good watch. Unfortunately most of the laughs were shown in the trailer. That’s not to say that Table 19 isn’t a good film, it’s just not as funny as the trailer made it out to be.

Anna Kendrick does a very good job at leading the film, she’s great at these kind of roles where comedy is entwined with more serious matters – for it turns out that Eloise is hiding a secret – and it’s easy to like her character and want the best for her. Of course Eloise isn’t the only one maxresdefaultwith a secret, Stephen Merchant brings the most laughs with his character Walter who’s secret is probably the biggest and one that isn’t revealed until near the end. Stephen has always been a favourite of mine, and he really pulls off his role here so much so that I’d say his is my favourite character of the film. Being a huge Friends fan I love anything that has one of the cast in it so I was excited to see Lisa again. It’ll always be strange to see them acting different roles – and having aged a lot since Friends was made! – but Lisa does a great job as Bina, who’s marriage is struggling and there are some emotional scenes between Bina and Jerry. In fact there are quite a few emotional scenes throughout, not only from Bina and Jerry but also Eloise and Nanny Jo. Table 19 does a very good job at mixing all these different lives together in humour and moving ways, touching on topics that affect everyone today.

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Overall, Table 19 is a good film, it’s definitely not as funny as the trailer makes out but that’s not to say there aren’t any laughs – there are plenty! The story line is also not what you’d expect from the trailer either, probably due to the fact that each character has a serious or emotional issue to confront and it’s not the traditional romantic-comedy wedding film you usually get. It’s definitely a film I’d be happy to watch again, just not one I’ll be rushing out to buy.

Another Mother’s Son

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Based on a true story set during WW2 in the Nazi-occupied Island of Jersey, Another Mother’s Son follows Louisa Gold (Jenny Seagrove), who after the death of one of her sons, takes in an escaped Russian Prisoner-of-War and hides him from the Germans residing in their town. Gradually Louisa integrates the prisoner – Bill (Julian Kostov) – into the town and he soon becomes a part of Louisa’s family. However as the war continues and it becomes clear that their Island won’t be recaptured by the British, the community spirit begins to fray under pressures of hunger, occupation and divided loyalty. Soon neighbours are sending anonymous messages to the Germans informing of illegal wirelesses and such like. One wrong word results in Louisa’s neighbour informing the authorities about Bill and the family must race to hide him and remove all traces of his presence in the house. Unfortunately they are found out and Louisa and her brother Harold (Ronan Keating – yes the Ronan Keating from Boyzone!) were arrested and sent to prisoner of war camps in Germany. At the end of the film we are informed as to what happened to them after the war ended, and sadly, Louisa was gassed to death in 1945 but Harold was one of only two British survivors to come out of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. On a brighter note, Bill managedanother-mothers-son-1600x-1488905413-list-handheld-0 to avoid capture and eventually made it back home. In 1995 a memorial plaque was unveiled in Jersey and Bill attended the unveiling where he met Louisa’s surviving son for the first time. In 2010 she was posthumously awarded a British Hero of the Holocaust.
The bravery Louisa showed through her actions during the war is inspiring and her reasoning was simply because: “I have to do something for another mother’s son”. The fact that I had never heard of Louisa before this depiction of her story is disappointing. Her story is definitely one that should be told in schools and hopefully the release of this film will put her actions into light. I had no idea that any part of the UK had been Nazi-occupied, and this should surely be something that children are taught in history lessons! 2eafb79b00000578-3329276-image-a-70_1448205713877

The cast is filled with big names, so it’s surprising that it hasn’t had much promotion. If I’m honest I only wanted to see the film because I knew Ronan Keating was in it and I’ve always had a soft spot for him. He’s not in it all that much, and it’s strange to here him speak without his lovely Irish accent, but actually he’s a decent actor. Alongside Ronan are the likes of Amanda Abbington (Mr Selfridge, Sherlock), Susan Hampshire (Monarch of the Glen) and Brenock O’Connor (young Olly in Game of Thrones), who again have fairly small parts but all play their roles perfectly.

Jenny Seagrove is great as Louisa, though she does come across as being quite stern and closed off – whether this is an accurate portrayal I don’t know – photobut her love for her sons and the gradual love towards Bill is clear to see. Her relationship with Bill is beautiful, the lengths she goes too to keep him safe is incredibly brave, but she also takes time to teach him English and make sure he is living a good, healthy life whilst with them. She understands how hard it is for him to be locked in the house for months so takes steps to give him freedom without the Germans finding out. Jenny and Julian Kostov work brilliantly together and Julian scrubs up very well once he’s had a bath and a shave! Julian perfectly portrays an escaped POW, he gives us moments of sheer terror as he faces close-calls with the Germans and we also see the affection and gratitude that he has towards Louisa and her family.

Overall, Another Mother’s Son is an emotionally gripping retelling of what is an incredible true story. I would definitely recommend everyone go see this film, it’s not a happy ending but I’m so glad to have learnt Louisa’s story. It’s another courageous tale that deserves to be told for years to come and frankly I’m shocked that we’re not already learning about it in school. The fact that one of our Islands was under Nazi-occupation is definitely something that we should be learning about. You will be gripped throughout the film and easily taken into Louisa’s life and family so when the final outcomes are revealed it’s all the more emotional. A definite must-see!

Beauty and the Beast

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eu_batb_flex-hero_header_r_430eac8dThe film release that the world has been waiting for finally arrived on the 17th March: the live-action remake of the 1991 animated Disney classic Beauty and the Beast. It’s been a long time since I saw the original but everyone knows the story of the young prince who is imprisoned in the form of a beast and can only be freed by true love. When Belle, a girl from the nearby village, enters the castle one day it is clear she might be the one to free the Prince. Alongside the Prince’s enchantment, a few members of his staff were also imprisoned into furniture items, but with the ability to speak and move. The enchantment will be made permanent with the falling of a certain rose’s last petal. It’s a classic Disney story but this remake brings with it a few modern twists.

3cafcca900000578-0-image-a-2_1485854202994Emma Watson (aka Hermione Granger from Harry Potter) takes on the role of Belle – much to everyone’s curiosity as no one knew if she could even sing! – but brings to the character a more independent and strong girl to the usual Disney Princess type that we so normally see. This Belle wears trousers under her skirts, knows how to make and improve mechanical objects and wears an ear cuff alongside the classic yellow ballgown. All little things proving that this is the modern day princess. Emma does a great job as Belle, she is believable throughout as she goes through a range of emotions, and she gives us another role for young girls to look up to. However, whenever she sings it doesn’t quite sound right, there is no natural quality to it. It’s almost like it’s been tampered with emma-watson-beauty-and-the-beastsomehow which slightly spoils the film in places.
Her opening song of Belle, for example, sounds completely off, and totally unnatural. This is all easily forgotten though as you get swept up in the musical numbers. My over-riding thought towards Emma though is just how beautiful she is. There are a lot of extreme close-ups on her face giving us plenty of opportunity to see how stunning she is, and of course the classic ballroom scene when she’s in the yellow gown will take your breathe away.

Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) is themaxresdefault Beast but spends the majority of the film in the costume so we only get to see his lovely face briefly at the beginning and the end. The CGI of the Beast is very good and Dan makes the character very believable. The relationship between Dan and Emma is great and there is a clear chemistry between the two as they slowly find themselves falling in love.

The rest of the cast is filled with famous names – some of which are given to us through voice right until the end as they are the enchanted furniture, so it was hard to recognise the voices to the people. For example, Mrs Potts was Emma Thompson, I didn’t realise it was her until her character changed back to human. Same with Ewan McGregor as Lumière. Ian McKellen is Cogsworth and Stanley Tucci is Maestro Cadenza and altogether they are fantastic in their animations. Playing live action characters we have the gorgeous Luke Evans who is perfect as the obnoxious Gaston and has a very powerful and manly singing voice. Alongside Gaston is his ever faithful servant LeFou, played here by Josh Gad. beauty-and-the-beast-trailer-luke-evans-as-gaston-and-josh-gad-as-lefou-600x300This remake caused a lot of fuss when it became clear that LeFou would be the first gay character in a Disney film. Frankly I think it’s terrible that some people took offence to this decision, especially as there are only small undertones in the character that suggest his true feelings towards Gaston. Josh Gad plays the role very well and brings a lot of the laughs throughout. However a lot of time I kept thinking of Olaf from Frozen as Josh also voices him and there’s no difference in how the two roles speak!

Visually the film is stunning, special effects did a fantastic job throughout. The colour schemes match the mood so we are given bright and cheery clothes and surroundings at the beginning but as the film darkens so does the scenery. The musical numbers are done in typical Disney fashion with some exceptional performances from humans and animations alike.

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Overall, this live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast is a typical Disney film that’s fun for all the family. Ultimately though the film is an outright copy of the original animation, so everything from the costumes to the settings is exactly the same. So if you want to relive the classic then you’ll definitely enjoy this. The few modern twists to the film really aren’t that noticeable but certainly give Belle a less domesticated feel and a better role model as she strives to better herself through her learning. Of course it being a Disney film she still ends up with the Prince and living happily ever after!