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  • Lady Bird

    Lady Bird

    ★★★★½

    If I had to pinpoint Greta Gerwig’s trademark with only Lady Bird and a few screenwriter credits to go on, I’d call it a mature perspective on immaturity. The films she co-wrote and starred in – Frances Ha and Mistress America – were portraits of confident, aspirational young women, under a creeping shadow of financial insecurity which invigorated rather than undermined their ambition. But those films took as their setting, and drew their energy from, the place where culture is.…

  • Superdyke Meets Madame X

    Superdyke Meets Madame X

    ★★★★★

    For my job I watch a lot of home movies. It’s always surprising to look at records of someone else’s life, and to feel affection for them growing out of their affection for each other. Little reels of Super 8, in particular, feel like polaroids stretched out - brief enough to be shapshots, and scribbled over with grainy nostalgia. Piecing them together doesn’t give you an accurate impression of someone’s life or relationships, but you can see what they thought…

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  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    ‘The awful thing about life is that everybody has their reasons’ – from The Rules of the Game (1939).

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri takes Jean Renoir’s deeply-felt humanist statement and ham-fistedly refashions it into a truism as ostentatious as the eponymous billboards themselves. Good people can do bad things. Bad people can do good things. And violence (get this!) begets violence. We know this because throughout his persistently glib rug-pulling exercise, director Martin McDonagh doesn’t let us entertain for…

  • The Apartment

    The Apartment

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    ‘Be a mensch’. If a single line defines ‘The Apartment’ – possibly Billy Wilder’s best, and one of my favourite films – then it’s this one. ‘Mensch’ comes from Yiddish, a language whose adoption in American cities only narrowly predates Hollywood’s adoption of Wilder, who had fled Europe and the Nazi threat. It means, as Dr. Dreyfus reminds us, ‘a human being’. Few films are as warm, as kind, or as human as this one, without sacrificing an awareness of…