Echoes of the film Haifaa al-Mansour’s tepid Mary Shelley biopic should have been reverberate through Colette, which sees Keira Knightley lead her best film since 2014’s The Imitation Game. From director Wash Westmoreland, this period drama uproots the early promise of corset clichés to deliver a more satisfying exploration of gender restriction and rebellion. It helps too that the lavish production aesthetic makes for delightful viewing.
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Tim Wardle’s mind-blowing, consistently watchable, documentary lays out the most incredibly twisty true story that I’ve heard in a long time. If it seems, at first, as though audiences will be treated to nothing more than a heart-warming tale of human connection against the odds, the breezy tone soon dissipates as we turn a corner towards something far more sinister. We soon realise that Three Identical Strangers is a ‘more than meets the eye’ allegory of immorality and corruption.
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While The Favourite marks the first time director Yorgos Lanthimos has produced a film from his own pen, usually accompanied by Efthymis Filippou, fans of the Greek auteur’s oeuvre need fear not. Led by a trio of stellar performances, this is a tragicomic triumph every bit as deliriously barmy as the likes of Dogtooth and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. It even features lobsters.
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Barely five foot tall and almost two decades past the US retirement age, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has, in recent years, somehow added the title of ‘pop culture icon’ to her already impressive, often trailblazing, curriculum vitae. It is this remarkable journey that drives the narrative of Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s inspiring biographical documentary, which explores how a Jewish woman from Boston rose against discrimination to become only the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court. Contrary to Justice Ginsburg’s own reputation, when it comes to titular adoration, this is a film with little by way of dissent.
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Here’s a sequel we were expecting half a century ago. Anyone who’s seen John Lee Hancock’s terrific Saving Mr. Banks will know why it‘s taken Disney so long to realise the dream of turning P. L. Travers’ practically perfect nanny into a franchise – the writer hated Walt’s adaptation in 1964 – but done it the studio finally has. If Mary Poppins Returns isn’t quite supercallifragilisticexpialidocious, it’s at least five letters there.
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The personal absolutely is political in this minutely epic, panorama romance from Polish director Pavel Pawlikowski. A sweeping musical odyssey and intimate tragedy of love in one, Cold War spans an epoch marked by mistrust and precarious allegiance but is told entirely in the mirror of a turbulent relationship betwixt a man and a woman. It is a grand achievement and looks magnificent as presented in a dreamlike haze of black and white.
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Now, this is not to be said lightly but surely there can be little doubt. Crazy Rich Asians is the best mainstream romcom in years. From poppy film director Jon M. Chu, this is a frothy, frequently hilarious, cinema extravaganza and joyful breath of genre fresh air. The story itself is centuries old but its contemporary twist is bibbidi bobbidi bodacious.
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