The Souvenir: Part II

The Souvenir: Part II ★★★★

Halfway through this film, I thought to myself: if the film ended on a certain scene, it would be perfect. And voila, so it did!

Having just seen part 1 yesterday, I think the sequel actually completes and elevates the whole experience, which is somewhat akin to a mini-series, given the richness in material, themes, and details. Despite the absence of one critical character, his presence is nevertheless strongly felt. I somewhat welcomed this departure from a romance tale, and with less time-jumps and a more focused narrative, I really enjoyed the carving out / fleshing out of Julie's complex character.

This film really dives deep into the actual and emotional journey that it takes to make a film, and one about one's own trauma, no less. All that talk about film as therapy is really explored in a really meta way, as we follow the characters contemplating what is reality and what is fiction, and how film moves in between those two realms. Should film be used to capture life as it is, or life as we want it to be? Interesting stuff with no easy answers.

Honor Swinton Byrne gives a vulnerable yet feisty performance that is a joy to admire at, while Tilda Swinton is disarmingly charming, playing her character's mother, who gets considerable more screen time this time around. Stunning, milky cinematography; lovely interiors and wallpapers; cute doggies, always a plus.

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