Cold War (Zimna Wojna)

This is a story that is rich, complex, funny and tragic, yet told with an extraordinary economy. It's not even an hour and a half long, but it feels as if you are living through a whole era, a whole life. The film is shot in black and white (as was Pawlikowski’s memorable earlier film, Ida): it is utterly beautiful and seems utterly right. Please click on image to read more ...

Advertisements

Apostasy

Siobhan Finneran is outstanding in this gripping, harrowing drama about a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Manchester – a woman and her two daughters – who are destroyed by their own community. Please click on image to read more ...

Leave No Trace

Debra Granik’s film about a 13-year-old girl living with her traumatised war vet father in the wild woods of an Oregon national park is as powerful – although less violent – as Winter’s Bone (2010), and as concerned with the daily lives of people who live outside the mainstream. Please click on image to read more ...

The Happy Prince

Rupert Everett writes, directs and stars in this tender, moving biopic about Oscar Wilde’s final years in exile in France and Italy, reduced to penury and shunned – or worse – by the English abroad. Please click on image to read more ...

The Boy Downstairs

Sophie Brooks’s low-budget debut offers a quirky feminised (not exactly feminist) version of the New York chattering classes romcom, with Zosia Mamet as existentially-challenged would-be writer Diana and Matthew Shear as ex-boyfriend Benjamin. Please click on image to read more ...

Tully

Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis are utterly brilliant as, respectively, exhausted, harassed, at-the-end-of-her-tether Marlo, mother of two small children and a newborn baby, and Tully, a competent, sympathetic, friendly and curious young night-nanny, who has been gifted to Marlo by her rich, successful brother ... Please click on image to read more

Western

In her first film for more than ten years Valeska Grisebach (who, she says, has been busy bringing up a daughter, screenwriting and teaching) casts a compassionate eye on men and masculinities: specifically, a group of German construction workers in Bulgaria, and the men in the remote village which is meant to be benefitting from their hydro-electric project. I don’t usually find myself attracted to films that focus on men and their problems, but I really liked this one. Please click on image for more ...

The Silent Child

This moving, compassionate Oscar-winning short film – written and directed by former Hollyoaks stars Rachel Shenton and Chris Overton, stars Maisie Sly (from Swindon, a local girl!) as four-year-old Libby, who is profoundly deaf (as is Maisie Sly herself), as she begins to communicate in British Sign Language with a social worker (played by writer Rachel Shenton) who has come to the family home to help prepare Libby for going to mainstream school. Libby’s parents however … (Please click on image to read more)

Isle of Dogs

Amazing Mr Anderson! His stop-motion futuristic story about dogs exiled and left to die on a huge rubbish dump off the coast of Japan celebrates loyalty, friendship, courage and general dogginess – all the qualities that since time immemorial have made dogs our very best friends. Please click on image to read more ...

Lady Bird

Although billed as the portrait of a mother-daughter relationship, I’d say this smart, funny, slightly weird (in a good way) film is more about a young woman coming of age than specifically about her relationship with her mother, although naturally that forms a part of the story. Please click on the image to read more ...