Homecoming (2018)

A psychological thriller web tv series, it builds up slowly using past and present to move the narrative along.

Julia Roberts is brilliant as a counsellor who is part of a questionable experiment, the final purpose of which is unknown to her.

She is cog in a larger operation which wants to do the unthinkable in the effort to maximise resources and save money.

The writing pulls you in and you want to know what happens next.

Wonder (2017)

Director Stephan Chbosky presents a heart warming and sensitive tale about a family and young 11 year olds, who come to terms with the new addition at their elementary school.

Based on a novel by the same name, the beauty in the writing is that it doesn’t get preachy or one-dimensional. It’s real, understated and supports the performances by giving many perspectives.

Acting is brilliant all round, with Jacob Tremblay taking the lead with a nuanced performance. He is ably supported by his class mates. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as his parents are adorable, as they show the challenges of navigating through this delicate phase. His sister, is played by Izabela Vidovic, who shows us what it would be like to be the older sibling in this scenario.

A fitting end to the journey of a steep learning curve, it gives insights and moments which linger far after the movie finishes.

3.5/5

Money Monster (2016)

Director Jodie Foster cleverly presents a social commentary on the state of the American economy and the financial situation of many in the country.

George Clooney pimps stocks on a show, seducing investors like a cabaret dancer. Julia Roberts plays his producer and when they are faced by an armed assailant played brilliantly by Jack O Connell, a lot of truths are exposed.

The film is tight, building tension in parts and giving the audience a chance to digest the proceedings. While the conflict and the resolution isn’t a huge surprise, it’s how we get there which keeps us on our toes.

George Clooney displays a range of eccentricities and emotions and Julia Roberts, the ‘voice in his ear’, keeps it together for him, her crew and the audience.

3/5

Mother’s Day (2016)

Gary Marshall, known for his multi starrer ‘special day’ movies and classic Pretty Woman, brings us a more casual, chilled out flick which explores the bond that children share with their mothers.

Many issues are addressed in a passing manner, without becoming dramatic. Julia Roberts’ character throws light on the difficult choices many mothers are faced with, whereas Jennifer Aniston’s character shines by bringing a delicate balance in her family life.

Jason Sudeikis is a doting single father to his two daughters whilst Kate Hudson and her sister have their own secrets from their parents. As is tradition, the film culminates on Mothers Day, with various laughs and warm moments.

A ‘mom-com’ that shows us the many traditional and changing relationships between mothers and their kids, it was a fun, light watch.

3/5

Secret in their eyes (2015)

When two powerhouse performers like Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman come together, you expect a good film. On that count and many others, the movie over delivers.

The smartly cut promo prepares you on what to expect. The film on the other hand, throws you off. It’s filled with intense moments and chases, emotional trauma and legal processes, all of which contribute to a wholesome movie experience.

Nicole Kidman shows a side we haven’t seen before. Vulnerable yet tough, she is smart and to the point. One particular scene establishes her as the seasoned and strong actor that she is.

Julia Roberts is perfect. Not a movement or muscle moves in a way which doesn’t magnify her emotions appropriately. She does complete justice to her character and has many scenes which leave you in despair, experiencing her agony.

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the dependable male lead. He balances both the ladies with his own contribution of tenacity and insight. His ability to not give up ultimately drives the film and audience, to its conclusion. The supporting cast adds to the drama.

Director Billy Ray has made a difficult subject, easy to watch. In the current climate it’s still given the right angle, without prejudice. No surprises there as he is an acclaimed screenplay writer. There were some cuts here but nothing which we couldn’t figure.

A brilliant film with solid performances and deep story telling.

3.5/5

August: Osage County (2013)

We stand on the peripherals of the Weston family, watching the dysfunction, quietly knowing we will be sucked right in at any moment. When that happens, we are privy not only to their eccentricities and delusions, but to the downright disintegration of human relationships.

The Weston daughters are fighting their own battles, have their own secrets and exercise a certain amount of denial (as we all do) to survive. It’s when their mother, the superlative Meryl Streep, displays her own truths, she upsets a precarious balance barely maintained by her girls. Julia Roberts as the oldest, matches Meryl in every frame. The eyes play table tennis watching one volleying the other. Extended members of the family are struggling with their own failures and shortfalls, projecting them on their fragile loved ones.

Our laughter was laced with nervousness and relief, when the tragedy turned to comedy for brief moments .To say the film is dark would be an understatement. The temperatures are soaring, the mood is stifling, the characters are on edge. Morality, logic and maturity take a back seat, whilst every form of shocking behaviour becomes the ‘normal and mundane’.

3/5