Erin Brockovich (2000)

Rating 15
Length 2h11
Release 07.4.2000
Director Steven Soderbergh
About In Hinkley, California, a legal assistant discovers a major company’s dark secret that affects the health of the residents. With the help of her employer, she sets off to seek justice.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix
Trailer:

The Good

  • Albert Finney is always on form. From his breakout performance in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, to his main stream choices like Daddy Warbucks in Annie. I may not like his Christmas Carol (Scrooge 1980), but he does give an amazing performance as Ebenezer.
    He on perfect form as Ed Masry and his chemistry with Julia Roberts’ Brockovich is phenomenal. It’s hard to say that Finney was robbed of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Mainly because I’ve never seen Traffic. However, this was an award winning performance from Finney.
  • Julia Roberts was not only a bankable star, she had the talent to back it up. Her name alone, in the decade since Pretty Woman, guaranteed bums on seats for the producers. That would never have been in doubt.
    However, there’s few actresses today, let alone back then, who would have been able to give such a performance that would ensure people would still be watching 22 years later.
  • The story is gut wrenching, yet understated. Yes, you get the impression good will out, but the intimate perspective the film gives you; you’re there with Erin. You feel every story, you fear for the outcome.
  • The film is also really funny. You need that in a film that is embedded with emotional journeys. Thankfully the relationship between Ed and Erin gives you that rest bite.

The Bad

  • There’s no bad in this film. It’s a film that’s economic with it’s time, generous with giving the characters room to tell the story and the cinematography is beautifully intimate and almost independent cinema in feel.

The Ugly

  • It’s the ugly truth of it all. This actually happened, effecting families and workers. Yet, the company did attempt to cover it all up and those families had to fight hard.
    Yes, you’ll feel like there was a win when we hear all the figures being thrown around, but once the film finishes, you do have to remember that $5 million is not actually going to have gotten the Jensen family very far considering the medical bills they would have.

Final Thoughts

Okay, so if you want a cushy Roberts rom-com, you’ve picked the wrong option. If you want a hard hitting, smart, biopic that makes you think this is the one for you.

Spencer (2021) Film Review

Rating 12a
Length 1h56
Release 5.11.2021
Director Pablo Larrain
About The marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the queen’s estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game, but this year, things will be profoundly different.
Moon: Full moon at 1h 23
Where to Watch: Most cinemas now
Trailer:

The Good

  • It is a visually stunning film. Particularly the establishing shots and those that keep Diana at a distance from the audience. There’s an overhead shot of the grounds near the beginning when Diana arrives, I would happily have that on my wall. You know, if I didn’t loath this film.
    There’s also the opening pheasant drive-by that really had my stomach churning. How they managed to set it up where none of those army trucks made the poor thing go ‘splat’, I’ll never know. Although, if it did, it might have lightened the mood just a tad.
  • The costume department really do deserve at least award nominations. The attention to detail is incredible. The same can be said for set design.
  • On the most part, Kristen Stewart does well. Yes, I suspect she will be nominated for the Oscar. Depending on who she’s up against, I’m pretty certain she’ll win.
  • I was quite intrigued by Diana identifying with Ann Boleyn and the imagery that came along with it. I’d never thought about it before and the similarities. To someone who was suffering from mental ill health, it would be something heavy to carry.
  • Sean Harris was incredible. It took me a moment to work out who he was, but it was lovely to see him in a role that wasn’t him being a creep or a bad guy. Give me a film of him playing that chef and I’m there. There was just something calming about his presence in this storm of chaos.

The Bad

  • My problem with Kristen Stewart’s performance was that there wasn’t the range I was expecting and, in all honesty, the role was rather safe for her. Outside of perfecting the accent, the mannerisms and awkwardness is nothing I haven’t seen from Stewart before. Even the scene in which Diana is in the public, the audience are given the internalised performance.
    Honestly, I don’t think Stewart would have the ability to give us the public persona of Diana, and that really is the shame… and why I don’t think she deserves the awards.
  • The film has certain expectations of the audience and it will put off those who aren’t well versed in the life and times of the Royal Family. Perhaps the film wanted me to go away and look up about Diana in the aftermath of this Oscar bait. However, a better film would appeal to both the well versed and the newbie.
  • One of those aspects was indeed the self-harm. Fuck me, that was so badly handled. Both the bulimia (which for this film I’m going to consider a form of self-harm) and the cutting. The biggest problem being that in an artsy film, it’s hard not to see these moments as gratuitous and lacking the monumental impact this has on the individual.
    When it came to the cutting, I saw red. Okay, on the screen but also emotionally. Diana has a known history of self-harm through cutting. Yet the film chooses to have her cut her unblemished arm? Then, a scene later it is gone. Which is fine (it isn’t really), but in a film that has Diana hallucinating are you wanting the audience to believe she imagined herself cutting?!
  • I love Timothy Spall, so I mean no offense to him personally, but what the actual fuck?! His character was weird. Weirder than when he was Wormtail, and that’s saying something. His character, along with other artist choices, drove the film into horror territory.

The Ugly

  • This film is a try-hard. It spends too much time being Oscar bait, to actually think about the audience and how they would see the film. The story suffers as a result, and when the film is about real people, that’s all the more devastating.
  • Speaking of the audience. Who was this film for? Did the director think about the audience, at all? I mean, from my perspective it alienated Royalist, Diana loyalist and even film fans like myself. So… who is left?!
  • Did you really have to have Diana’s first clear word spoken be ‘fuck’? What was the purpose of that; shock value? It just felt really cheap and the perfect way to alienate the audience. The only people who are going to bought by that are those who have absolutely no intention of seeing this film.

Final Thoughts

Too artsy and bollocks for my liking. Diana’s mental ill health was not shown in a compassionate or concise way. So of course its going to win all the awards.