Female focused here this month, 6 out of the 9 films on this month's list have female leads and or written by a woman. What you say? This cannot be! Yes, its happening and with more and more focus on women in film lately, I'm really pleased with the progress.
1. Hot Pursuit
4. Fantastic Four
5. The Diary of a Teenage Girl
6. Mistress America
Oh Mistress America, how can I count the ways of how much I love thee? I think I fell in love with this film. I though I did with Frances Ha but this film was something else. It's the characters, the setting, the non story and the god damn brilliant dialogue, especially between Tracey and Brooke. The plot, so thin it doesn't even matter, Tracey (Lola Kirke) is a freshman at college in New York. She is lonely and not really enjoying her time there, she sums it up when she says 'I think by trying to fit in, I'm fitting in less' ( or something along those lines). But when her mother announces she's getting married and the husband to be's daughter lives in the city, she goes in search of her 'sister' who is Brooke (Greta Gerwig). She is weird and wonderful, selfish ans kind all at the same time. She has several different things happening but her main goal of the moment is to open a restaurant.
Their pairing is perfect, Tracy needs a muse and someone to hang out with, Brooke needs to tell someone all her ideas and for them to actually listen be interested in her and Tracey is. The plot turns when Brooke, after money problems arise, goes in search of an old friend she claims ruined her life, from there it becomes this perfectly times screwball comedy that then sharply turns back to drama when Tracey's short story inspired by Brooke is read out. The cutting of ties hurts both women but we only really witness Tracey's downward spiral and the inspiration to carry on. The film is about these two women who are trying to fit in and get along with everything and finding each other, they find someone they can share with - sort of. As the film plays out, Tracey reads her story, which is inspired by Brooke, as a voiceover throughout and I love it. For me it reminded me of The Great Gatsby. Tracey is Nick, relating events, the observer and Brooke is of course the tragic Gatsby, but at least she realises her mistakes before its too late. I cannot express how much I loved this film and as a bonus Greta Gerwig co-wrote the story with Noah Baumbach, and a female influence shines through. 5/5
7. The Man From U.N.C.L.E
When I first about this film, it already ticked all the boxes, a adaptaion of a 60's spy TV show directed by Guy Ritchie, with Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill starring. What more could you ask for? Well an excellent soundtrack, a not too ridiculous plot and a great female lead. And yes, all that was in the film too. Special Agent Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and KGB Agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) after an awkward crossing over of missions they are forced to partner up to locate a bomb. I have to say, I though the casting seemed odd at first but after watching it, it was perfect. I also liked the fact that it wasn't all action, there was some interesting insight to the two leads characters that gave them depth. Saying all this, I can understand why some people might not enjoy it as much as me. Although set in the 60s there are aspects of the edit and behaviour of the film that have a more modern touch and those who love the original TV show might turn their nose up at it, but as I said I loved it. 4/5
8. Sorry, Wrong Number
After to taking almost hours to decide what to watch the other night, I turned to my Netflix list and watched over two nights, two great but every different films. First up, film noir that I forgot about, based on radio play. Leona (Barbara Stanwyck) a sick invalid is home alone trying to contact her husband, Henry (Burt Lancaster) who is late home. While waiting on the phone, the wires cross and she hears two men discussing a murder. Throughout the night, she calls several people surrounding a strange plot involving her husband and possibley her too. I could see how it would work as a radio play but seeing the story unfold as Leona discovers secrets was quite scary, especially the end scenes. 4/5
The true story of Robyn Davidson who walked 1,700 miles across Austraila from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean with her dog and four camels. The film was beautiful and even though it may seem that she was just walking, alot is conveyed is just Robyn's expressions and body languages. It's obvious from the start that she prefers her own company or her animals than people but throughout the walk she starts realise just how lonely she is and that she needs others around her. Her story was published in National Geogrpahic and photohrapher Rick Smolan actually went out to meet her along the way to document the experience. The real photographs are shown in the closing credits. It's an incredible journey to make and she is a very distant and I'm sure, would have happily disappeared into the wilderness. But her personal journey is also interesting to watch. 3/5