In 1860s Massachusetts, the March family has four daughters, all with different artistic aspirations. Meg (Emma Watson) is an actress who is happy complying to society’s ideals of feminity, Jo (Saoirse Ronan) is an aspiring writer with intentions to make it on her own, cherubic Beth (Eliza Scanlen) is a musician, favouring the piano, and Amy (Florence Pugh) a painter who sometimes feels put out as the youngest child (although it was only in researching for this post that I discovered she was supposed to be the youngest, as it felt like Beth far more filled out that role). Their mother Marmee (Laura Dern) tries to mould them into good, charitable adults whilst their father is fighting in the American Civil War, and over the seven year period of the film, they all have varying dalliances with their wealthy neighbour’s grandson Laurie (Timothee Chalamet).Continue reading
In 1971, and following the deaths of her father and husband, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) found herself the de facto owner and publisher of The Washington Post, despite how little faith or respect her all-male team of advisers had for her. Meanwhile, the Post’s editor-in-chief, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), fought to make the Post a relevant competitor to the more established national newspapers, and a lead on some illegally copied, highly classified government documents may be the key to making that happen.
Karen Dinesen (Meryl Streep) is a wealthy, unmarried woman in Denmark in the 1910s. In her circle, an unmarried woman is deemed unseemly, so she marries her friend, Baron Blixen (Klaus Maria Brandauer), on the basis that she will become a baroness and he will share her wealth. The two move to Africa (I think it’s Kenya) with intentions of starting a dairy, but unbeknownst to Karen her new husband has changed all the plans to growing coffee instead. He proves to be an inadequate husband, always being away hunting whilst his wife is left home with nothing to do, as whenever she tries to help out with the work the local staff are confused at her presence. Enter Denys (Robert Redford), a big game hunter who at first becomes friends with Karen, along with another man, Michael Kitchen’s Berkeley, but soon, inevitably, starts a relationship with her too. Continue reading
It’s a shame then that her performance is the only outstanding part of the film. I had an understanding of the meaning of the title before watching, so assumed it would play a large focus in the film, but it is only at the climax that we see the pivotal scene, and it’s very nearly glossed over. We get a sense of the ramifications and the how it has made Sophie who she is today, but it eventually turns out that the choice she made would have made absolutely no difference anyway. As a story detailing the personal effects of concentration camps and World War 2 this is compelling, yet there are too many detours to detract from the story in an attempt to lighten the mood – Stingo’s date with the nymphomaniac Leslie Lapidus (Greta Turken). There are some nice comparisons between the camp prisoners and the guards – an officer’s daughter complains about the lack of a heated swimming pool.
The film also falls into two of my bigger pet peeve pits, in that a 28-year old MacNicol, who looks about 35, is playing a 22 year old, and at a couple of times there are phone conversations where the person on the other end is almost inaudible, but not quite, so some volume control had to be undertaken.
Despite possibly the greatest acting performance ever, this film is unfortunately let down by an incredibly depressing plot and an unsatisfying ending. There’s no doubt it’ll stick with you for a long time, but I highly doubt you’ll ever want to watch it again.
Choose life 7/10