The Two Popes Review

Fernando Meirelles gave Netflix a masterpiece about the human condition, politics and Catholicism in the most beautifully shot film of the year. 

Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins put on an acting clinic and had wonderful chemistry w each other. They embodied their characters and made sure to dive into their backstories. The world has only seen their persona, in this film Meirelles gives audiences a chance to take a deeper look into the psychology of the Catholic Church and the policies of the Cardinals. 

This screenplay was written so well and the pieces of dialogue exchanged between Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) and Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) was rich in history, theology and spiritual dialogue. The most important thing about this piece, is the humanity that is shown by these Holy members of the world. They both had lives before they joined the clergy. 

It was great to see the backstory of Pope Francis and the hardships that he went through, the decisions he made in order to reach the highest level of the church. Pope Francis challenged the ideologies of the Catholic Church and addressed his issues directly to Pope Benedict. There was so much banter between the two of them and it was lovely to see the humour and the humility of friendship befall two people with two different positions. 

It’s such excellent work from this team and a powerhouse masterpiece from Netflix.

 

Endings, Beginnings Review

This was my first Drake Doremus film and I fell in love with the way he explored the human condition with the flaws they have. This film is really special because it deals with the honesty of how complicated love and relationships can be.

Everyone believes that there is this one perfect person out there, who checks off every item, on this imaginary list we all have. However, the perfect person doesn’t exist. That’s why being logical about love and relationships will always trump how a person feels.

Doremus displays two very different relationships on screen and I understood why he chose to construct something in this way. One relationship was very natural, comfortable and safe. The other relationship was wild, passionate and all consuming. Everyone wants to find that perfect balance but our protagonist, Daphne (Shailene Woodley) has found this balance in two different people, Jack (Jamie Dornan) and Frank (Sebastian Stan)

I truly loved Jamie Dornan in this. He seemed so relaxed. He was definitely in his element and was in his most natural state, which was lovely to see. Sebastian Stan played the same wounded jerk character, but he plays it so well! Shailene Woodley also carried this film and I could feel her processing her feelings for both of these men, so that was really intriguing.

Love is difficult and it can definitely be messy if you’re not in control of it. I have definitely experienced being torn between two different ideas of people and it’s extremely hard to logically make a decision, when your heart is clouding that judgement. It’s a great screenplay and Doremus knows how to bring out the flaws of the human race, I loved this!

Seberg Review

Jean Seberg was a very intriguing person. She was determined, empathetic and strong-willed. She wanted to be remembered for a piece of activism, rather than having her name in lights, as an actress. Jean Seberg was a well-rounded human being and wanted to do more for the world because she witnessed the corruption.

Jean Seberg went to America and saw the segregation between the country. She saw the blatant racism and was quickly introduced to the Black Panthers. She was instantly intrigued by Hakim Jamal, who she encountered on her plane ride to LA. She wanted to know about his cause and even more about him.

Her life sounds interesting, right? Well, it’s more effective if you read about her life than to watch this film. Seberg, does not do Jean justice whatsoever. If it weren’t for Kristen Stewart’s brilliant portrayal of the iconic actress, then this film wouldn’t have been discussed at all.

The film was NOT about the Black Panther Party, the politics got lost in the story because it was centred around Jean, BUT there still wasn’t enough content for Kristen to play with. Benedict Andrews really didn’t have a clear direction for this film and that was evident in the way he delivered certain scenes. The cinematography was very well done and the Andrews definitely knows how to frame his subjects, but the film fell flat.

I feel as if he focused too much on the surveillance aspect of the Jean Seberg case, rather than have it be a character study on this icon. This also proves that Kristen Stewart can tackle anything because this was her BEST performance, all she needs is a great script and she will eventually get the recognition she deserves.

The Friend Review (World Premiere)

This film beautifully captures the journey of life. There can be moments that can be absolutely devastating or moments that will stay in our minds as the happiest of memories. Many people go through different struggles and The Friendshows all those obstacles. 

It’s a true story centred around cancer and how it can affect everyone surrounded by the subject. It’s a story about love, friendship and loss. I think the most beautiful part of this film, is the human connection between Casey Affleck, Dakota Johnson and Jason Segal. Their chemistry was so natural and their characters went above and beyond for each other. Their individual performances pulled at the heartstrings and they each had career bests, especially Dakota Johnson. 

I loved the editing the most in this film because of how disjointed the narrative was, yet there was the impending notion of death. There was a great balance of humour that will always tie in with grief and a genuine joy for living every second to the fullest. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and I’m happy I started the festival with this one!