What’s love got to do with it? (2022)


Last Christmas (2019)

A heart warming film by director Paul Feig which starts strong and builds slow. We have it all, dysfunctional family, a childhood dream, an unfulfilling job and no purpose.

Emilia Clarke is as adorable as ever, playing out a classic pattern of behaviour. Her boss, the graceful Michelle Yeoh is supportive, but stern. Enter the charming Henry Golding, who comes a breath of fresh air in Emilia’s life.

Her relationship with her mother, the writer and producer of the film, the extremely talented Emma Thompson, is a tumultuous one, but not for no reason. She cares and the audience ends up caring as well.

A perfect Christmas film with the memorable songs from George Michael.


Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The comfort with a tale oft told is the feeling it creates when you see it. That very comfort can work against you when the film doesn’t offer it. This time round however, director Bill Condon has a heart warming experience to share with us.

Disney took a big risk with Emma Watson, the lead star with many illustrious voices around her, to carry such an expensive fairy tale on her petite shoulders. She does so with unassuming talent and grace. The canvas is large, the work is detailed and they have managed to recreate the feel of watching a stellar musical which, to our advantage, plays in cinemas across the world.

Dan Stevens as the beast is ‘U’ rated, I must admit. Disney made it so, so that children would warm up to him rather than be afraid. Great care has been taken to craft his look, his introduction, evolution and his revelation, all of which make him endearing.

The supporting characters are made with stunning CGI and voices to match. Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are wonderful inhabitants of the castle. Kevin Kline, Luke Evans and Josh Gad provide the drama in the village.

The music is a delight to the ears and eyes, with the title track playing in your head much after the movie has finished. The other songs have been given equally aesthetic treatment just like the broadway or the animated versions, a spectacular vision and execution.

It has been very well received, and for good reason, as it combines technology and art to produce a modern day masterpiece.


Burnt (2015)

Step aside ‘chef’ and ‘a hundred foot journey’, here we have a dangerous cook of a different kind.

Director of August Osage County, John Wells is no stranger to handling complex layered dramas and this is no exception. Bradley Cooper enthrals with another intense and unpredictable performance, while the audience gets treated to well edited food preparation montages.

An interesting supporting cast; Sienna Miller, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman to name a few, spice up the proceedings while we sit on edge, wondering what we will be served next.

A delicacy of a message which is plated beautifully.


Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Director John Lee Hancock, who made the Blind Side (Sandra Bullock got her Oscar for playing super mom), amongst many other films, has dared to tell this tale which speaks of an author’s journey and a dream maker’s challenge.

Serving us a slice of history which many may not know about, Walt Disney has been pursuing writer of the famous Mary Poppins, Mrs. P.L. Travers, for two decades. Once she signs over the rights of her beloved nanny story, he can fulfil his promise to his daughters of making her come alive on screen.

We have an author who won’t give up her story, and a dream maker who wants to make people of all ages happy. Their battle, whilst the author fights her own memories, moves this film on a leisurely pace, to match the era it is set in.

For an aspiring author like me, this film is a magical insight into the psychology of such a celebrated writer, enacted brilliantly by Emma Thompson. Tom Hanks has been given his trade mark monologue in the film at the end, where his voice and expressions tell us everything he was trying to hold back.

Collin Farrell does full justice to the role of young Traver’s father, the source of her inspiration as a writer, as he indulges her imagination and is pretty theatrical himself. A very unlikely role for an actor of his repertoire.

The film has its humour and drama, ending with a sense of accomplishment and evolution, for both the characters and the audience, summed up eloquently in a line by Walt Disney:

“Life is a harsh sentence to lay down for yourself.”