A page dedicated to the films that I have reviewed, all in one place!
As a novice at film reviews, I begin from the question: did this film touch me? And the answer with Selma is a resounding yes.
Directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb, Selma stars British actor David Oyelowo alongside Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Giovanni Ribisi, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Martin Sheen. The story is based on the life of Dr Martin Luther King, and depicts the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, USA, which resulted in the president signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Obstructed from their entitlement to vote in the southern states of America, black protesters confront the authorities in a non-violent protest. But it is a confrontation which, witnessed by the eyes of the world, sees the brutal violence of the state troopers against peaceful protesters. On the Edmund Pettus Bridge men and women are beaten and whipped resulting in injury and deaths.
As I settled into the opening scenes of the film, I was abruptly shaken by the early scene of a violent act which appeared without ceremony. This simplicity made me sit up and take notice.
Within its cinematic walls, the timeline of this film is given an artistic fluidity; events which occurred years apart take place within the months of the film’s remit. And yet in doing so, the interminable struggle for ‘dignity’ is well framed.
Lead actor, David Oyelewo, is so convincing in his portrayal of King, that there were moments I was almost on my feet, applauding. Delivering the essence of King’s speeches, he captures the rhythms and cadence of this voice of the Civil Rights Movement, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. But there were personal struggles too; King was a man with personal dilemmas and vulnerabilities and Oyelewo performed these moments with equal conviction.
This is a thought provoking, compelling film. It raises a consciousness in us all and is highly recommended
Wild: a film review
What do you do when you are lost? What do you do when the life you are leading no longer bears any resemblance to the person you thought you were?
In the case of Cheryl Strayed, you go for a very long walk. Strayed, played by Reese Witherspoon, veered so far off her own life path that she no longer recognised herself. And her solution? A 1,100 mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Directed by Jean Marc-Vallée, the film Wild walks beside Cheryl from the Mojave Desert to Washington State; written by Nick Hornby and Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) it is a film about the interior journey of a young woman who, through the grief of losing her mother, took a wrong turn into a world of sex and heroin.
Ill-prepared for such a journey, Strayed can barely lift the pack that she carries and finds that she has made many errors; her boots are too small, the gas bottle is the wrong type, she fails to heed the warnings about carrying sufficient water. But, for these problems, there are solutions. As she walks, she gains knowledge and experience.
But the hours and days in isolation allow her time to look back at her life’s narrative and let it unravel. As she writes her journal, so we see the undoing of her life which, at points through the film, brings her to her knees.
This film does not have the major dramas of other solo films such as, for example, Castaway or The Life of Pi, but it is in the quiet, almost understated drama of the interior world that this film happens. It made me laugh, and made me cry. It made me cringe and turn my head away (no spoilers, as to why!) and it made me anxious. I felt the pain of each step and the frustration of each error. Reese Witherspoon gave a stunning performance and I would highly recommend it!