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Director: Sofia Coppola Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning Running Time: 94 minutes


 

The films of Sofia Coppola have always been drawn to the loneliness of the privileged, the longings and feelings of isolation of people who on the face of it, should have it all. In adapting The Beguiled, Thomas P. Cullinan’s novel previously put on screen from the decidedly more male perspectives of Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood in 1971, Coppola pushes her usual focus even further. The privileged here are the Southern belles of a Virginia girls school during the American Civil War, their isolation a gated-off manor, longing for the fathers and husbands and men-folk off fighting the losing side in a moral divide, even their hardships are a result of the school’s slaves not being around anymore. It may seem like too much Coppola at first glance, but in this repressed white erotica of furtive glances and fancy dresses, she uses restraint to great effect, resulting in a lean, sharp film, taking her usual privileged perspective and flipping it to comment on another.

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Director: Mike Mills Starring: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann, Billy Crudup Running Time: 119 minutes


What does it mean to be a man? What does it take to become one? How do you ensure you are a good one?

These are questions at the heart of Mike Mills’ latest film, 20th Century Women. Now, you may notice a disconnect there between the title and the message. This movie is a lot more than your typical coming of age story for our young male protagonist, Jamie (Zumann). The film centres on an unconventional household in California in the late 70s, bustling with a gathered family of resilient women. This film moves more like an experience than a solid three act piece. We spend time with these characters and see what they’re up to, basically. The biggest story arc throughout is that single mother Dorothea (Bening) wants her son Jamie to learn what it is to be a man and so she enlists the help of her lodger Abbie (Gerwig) and Jamie’s friend Julie (Fanning). These modern women help him tackle and traverse what it means to be a man in the twentieth century. As you could guess, they all have different ideological beliefs about society, men and women.

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Director: Ben Affleck Starring: Ben Affleck, Sienna Miller, Chris Messina, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper, Elle Fanning Running Time: 129 minutes


They say that time camps all classics. Nobody actually says that, but perhaps they should of films like Live by Night, a gangster film written by, directed by and starring Ben Affleck that may gather a few chuckles at its ludicrous pulpishness a few years down the line, but for now stands only as an irritating vanity project. Affleck is clearly enamoured with his main character, a Boston thief drawn reluctantly into the war between Irish and Italian mobs during the American Prohibition. So enamoured in fact, that he avoids challenging him or questioning him at every turn, leaving him to murmer gravelly in relative peace. Beware of spoilers, as if watching Live by Night won’t spoil your evening on its own, but Affleck tells the classic gangster tale of a good man who starts the film insisting he won’t be morally compromised by being drawn into a life of crime, but ends the film…building a shelter for women and children and playing on the beach with his son. Just like The Godfather?

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