The fleshing out of the subsidiary characters would have been welcome but this is a sincere probing of the alternate reality that is gay conversion therapy, for which the only sane reaction can be, what the fuck are they thinking? A wicked headmistress performance from Jennifer Ehle and the solid if underused presence of Sasha Lane support the rather unperturbed performance of Chloe Grace Moretz. Spiking through the bizarre normalisation of emotional cruelty are genuine moments of visceral pain.
The glaring miscasting of Sigourney Weaver aside (Little-old-lady English grandma? Seriously?), this is the pretty affecting story of a boy coming to terms with loneliness and parental illness. The standout elements are the raw performance from Lewis MacDougall and the morality tales told by the monster, which are animated with a fluid verve.
Any film in which Geraldine Chaplin (director J A Bayona's lucky charm) pops up, no matter how small her role, deserves extra brownie points. Thanks J A!
As much as I love Fay Wray and her legendary lungs of scream, this is Glenda Farrell's picture. She's fabulous as the hard-bitten, wisecrackin' reporter and has literally all the best lines - "You can go to some nice, warm place - and I don't mean California!"; "I've been in love so many times, my heart's calloused"; "You raise the kids, I'll raise the roof. I'd rather die of an arthritic heart from shaking cocktails and daiquiris than expire in…
To some dear readers there may be an element of sacrilege in the following query, but what makes this a Howard Hawks film? This is a Billy Wilder film. The story originated with him and the script (from him and Charles Brackett) is filled with obvious Wilderisms, toying with the English language and sexual mores in his uniquely mischievous Viennese fashion. As one of the exchanges between professor and gangster goes:
'You don't mind if we talk, do you?'