This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Regular readers of A&G will know I’m not a fan of streaming movies as I believe it’s destroying the cinematic communal experience. In 2019, going to the pictures (that dates me) was holding up well in the UK against their tirade. In the spring of 2020 everything changed when we were all locked down.
Whilst Covid was a godsend for the streamers and those who could afford their subscription services, the film industry, cinema chains and independents faced annihilation. Some didn’t make it. Getting us back out from our sofas and houses post Covid is now proving the biggest challenge the industry has ever faced – and that’s where you come in.
Here is my pick of the films that are definitely worth enjoying on the big screen at your local cinema:
Ticket To Paradise
George Clooney and Julia Roberts are a divorced couple who go to Bali to try to stop their daughter making the same mistake they made 25 years ago.
Yes it’s nonsensical fluff. Clooney’s head wobbles about like it’s on a spring and Roberts’ smile is wider than the Grand Canyon – but they’re old pros who know the rhythms to get laughs from midlife melancholia. It’s a great tale, feel-good stuff and goodness knows we need that now.
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris
Of the six films I’m recommending this is my favourite.
Taken from the book by the prodigious US author Paul Gallico and realised on film by Anthony Fabian, this is a really heart-warming story.
It’s 1957 and Ada Harris is a cleaning lady for the upper class who is shown a Christian Dior dress owned by her employer.
She covets the dress and sets about making the money to afford it. This sets off a chain of events which turns her life – and all around her – upside down. I won’t spoil the ending but will say you will leave feeling most uplifted.
In total contrast is the story of Sinead O’Connor. A girl with model good looks who came to worldwide fame with the 1990 hit “Nothing Compares To You” written by Prince.
Aged 55, this Irish star is now the subject of a documentary which documents her meteoric rise and spectacular fall after she ripped up a picture of the Pope on TV. It reflects on the legacy of a courageous, feminist trailblazer who sacrificed her career to expose the Catholic church. Released in the UK (and remarkably in Ireland) on 7 October it is tipped for an Oscar.
“Everyone’s strange if you look at them for long enough”.
The Bronte sisters have always been a rich vein for film makers. “Wuthering Heights” was Emily Bronte’s only book and it remains a literary triumph. Bringing it to the screen is Frances O’Connor. She wrote it, it is her directorial debut and brings out the rebel, misfit and genius of its author.
Emily put into her book what she knew about her passionate sisterhood with Charlotte and Anne, her love for the Rev William Weightman and care for their maverick brother Branwell.
She used to sneak out of the house to go find him in the pub and warn him when he was at risk of being discovered drunk yet again. He ruined his health, came down with tuberculosis, and died at age 31. The whole family was deeply heartbroken. Emily became ill at his funeral, developed the same awful disease, and died just a few months after he did. She was just 30.
I live close by and have visited many times. There is a melancholy which lingers there still.
“Emily” is released in the UK on 14th October.
There are also a couple of movies outside of the “blockbuster” category in December I would recommend you see:
Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult play a couple who go for dinner at an exclusive restaurant on a desert island where Ralph Fiennes chef’s approach to haute cuisine is, er, rather unique. This vengeful, dark comedy has left the critics hungry for more. Variety said “all the actors are fun but the two leads are so good, they’re delicious.” Fiennes steals the show. Released 18 November.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody
This Whitney Houston biopic is what everyone is talking about.
This long overdue movie tells the life a a singer with such a prodigious talent but who died far too young.
English actress Naomi Ackie got the part. I imagine that was quite an audition. She’d done Dr Who and Star Wars but this was a different level.
The newly released trailer gives a taste of what it was like to be a New Jersey choir girl and then become one of the best selling solo artists of all time. Whitney was “The Voice”.
It’s released in cinemas on Boxing Day.
More cinema suggestions from Northern Male and TV viewing from Annabel can be read here