The Souvenir

The Souvenir ★★★★½

“I think she looks sad.”

I’ve seen some people complain that this film is too distant or cold, but I found the opposite to be true. To me, The Souvenir feels like lying in the darkness of your childhood room, maybe listening to music or maybe just the hum of a heater in the next room, finally forced to confront memories and feelings that you’ve tried so hard to forget. It’s closing your eyes and remembering his gleaming next to you, equal parts affectionate and intoxicated as he drapes himself across your lap and casually mutters “I love you.” It’s blaming and feeling to blame, relishing the good and romanticizing the bad. It’s allowing yourself, not forcing yourself, to wallow in your first adult heartbreak. This film means so much to me because of how real and raw it is. Even if you have not been in Julie’s exact situation (both privilege-wise and/or trauma-wise), it’s still so easy to feel like Julie: out of control, emotionally fragile, but ultimately resilient. Joanna Hogg’s ability to tell a story that is both incredibly personal to her and so emotionally accessible to others is nothing short of incredible. 

“I think she looks determined – and very much in love.”

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