The Souvenir ★★★★

Love is a drug.

One of my most anticipated films left in the first half of 2019, I went into this film not knowing much about it. All I knew was that it seemed to be your unconventional love story along with some talented actors at the forefront. I was curious to see how Honor Swinton Byrne - the daughter of the excellent Tilda Swinton - would fare well in a leading role alongside great talent including her very own mother. I believe it is best to come into this film as blind as possible because The Souvenir tells quite a unique story on the entire duration of a relationship. Just like any other relationship, we learn more and more about the people in them as time goes on and you start to figure out who these people really are. The two leads do a phenomenal job, especially Swinton Byrne playing a very caring and honest woman who is trying to get her career on the right path. Tom Burke plays her loving boyfriend that you aren’t quite sure what to make of, especially as the film goes on. The two have some pretty great chemistry together, and you get a very authentic and rich feeling to the relationship. This film will not be for everyone especially due to how little events happen. There are only a handful of eventful moments in the film that may catch you off-guard, but how Joanna Hogg sets everything up as well as presents this film is quite amazing. What I didn’t expect was how heavy some of the thematic elements were going to be, and that’s the main reason why everyone should go into this film knowing as little as possible to get the full impact of the film. I love that this story takes chances and that we see a glimpse of a relationship that isn’t peaches and cream for the most part. While I did adore the performances and story, I felt some of the pacing was a bit tedious. There are some scenes that felt a bit unnecessary or that go on for a bit too long to where you do become a bit bored with some sequences. This doesn’t deteriorate the film’s quality; though, and I had a great time watching this film in a theater full of old people. Not one of A24’s strongest efforts by any means, but still a solid film nevertheless.

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