This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review. It was written because Kate Winslet appears in the film and one of the missions of this site is to review every Kate Winslet film. The other Kate Winslet reviews can be found here.

There’s all kinds of films in the world. Films to cheer you up, films to terrify you and get your blood pumping, even dramatic weepies designed to emotionally rip you apart, rendering you unable to function for the rest of the day. There’s a time and place for each of these films, and given just how unprecedented the times we’re living in are, and how these days every waking moment can feel like a never-ending naked slide down the spiralling razor blade of life, I for one am trying to limit my exposure to the more emotionally draining films.

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The Lovely Bones

Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is an ordinary 14-year old girl. She has a younger sister Lindsey (Rose McIver), an even younger brother Buckley (Christian Ashdale), a perfectionist father obsessed with building model ships in bottles (Mark Wahlberg), a stressed out mother (Rachel Weiz) who knits terrible headwear, an alcoholic grandmother (Susan Sarandon) and is developing her first crush on fellow schoolmate Ray Singh (Reece Ritchie). One day, however, Susia doesn’t make it all the way home from school. Whilst crossing a field near her family home she is lured into an underground bunker by her creepy neighbour George Harvey (Stanley Tucci), Harvey kills Susie, and the ramifications of this will throw her family into turmoil.
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Rocky Horror Picture Show

Newly engaged virginal couple Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) are heading to visit their scientist friend, Dr. Scott (Jonathan Adams) when their car breaks down during a storm. They head to a nearby castle, where they find themselves becoming embroiled in a bizarre party/science experiment/orgy/clusterfuck. Continue reading

Romance and Cigarettes

Nick Murder (James Gandolfini) is overweight, pig-headed and smokes far too many cigarettes, yet is not only married to dressmaker Kitty Kane (Susan Sarandon), but he’s also seeing Tula (Kate Winslet) on the side. When Kane finds out about this, she understandably seeks out Tula, whilst Nick attempts to please all of the many women in his life. Meanwhile, we also deal with the romantic tribulations of Nick and Kitty’s daughters, their friend, their neighbours, Nick’s colleague and Kitty’s cousin. Whilst singing. And, occasionally, dancing too.
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Thelma and Louise

Two girls, a turquoise 1966 T-Bird convertible, a weekend vacation at a friend’s cabin up in the mountains, what could go wrong? Well, in Ridley Scott’s feminist road movie, a heck of a lot, as henpecked housewife Thelma (Geena Davis) and her world-weary waitress best friend Louise (Susan Sarandon) head out from their humdrum lives on more of an adventure than they bargained for, after a run-in with a would-be rapist at a country bar of ill repute.
The titular roles could not be more different, yet both remain well rounded characters, thanks in part to the able performances by the two leads. Though it is the men that seem to shepherd our heroines on the run, they always find a way of fighting back or turning the tables, be it on Harvey Keitel’s cop on their trail (assisted by Stephen Tobolowsky!), Michael Madsen as Louise’s boyfriend Jimmy, Brad Pitt’s first major film role as clothes-shedding hitchhiker J.D. or Christopher McDonald as Thelma’s boorish husband Darryl, eager to get his wife back so she can start making his dinner again.
There’s some great comedy – Darryl unable to watch his beloved football because the cops tapping his phone are too engrossed with Cary Grant in Penny Serenade – and though the story and ending may have been ruined by an overabundance of pop-culture spoofs and references, it is still a very good story. The accents begin to grate after a while, particularly Davis’ pronunciation of Loo-eese, but try to look beyond that at a journey that starts with an accident, and builds to become two strong female characters exploring their own limits, surprising themselves and everyone else.
Choose film 7/10

Bull Durham

Every season, baseball groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) selects a new player to sleep with/pass her extensive baseball knowledge on to, and that player goes on to have the best season of their career. This time around her choice is made difficult by there being two potential candidates, naive, cocksure but dim-witted pitcher Ebby Calvin LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) and the seasoned cynical old hand Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) brought in to train him. Robbins sells the level of inexperience and dimwittedness required for his player with “a million dollar arm and a five cent head” but he pales in comparison to Costner and Sarandon, though their characters are far more layered.

The focus is on the relationships between these three, both personal and professional, with equal time given over to sporting, romantic and comedic elements, so as long as you like at least one of those three aspects, you’ll find something here as Crash teaches Ebby about foot fungus, interview technique (“I like winning… it’s better than losing”) and the lyrics to Try a Little Tenderness, whilst Annie takes a different approach, coaching him to think differently via her underwear and Walt Whitman.
Whilst the ending isn’t surprising, the journey to get there is enjoyable, realistic and often hilarious, with well rounded characters and situations, but is anyone else concerned about how many candles Annie has, or the ramifications of having sex in a pool of milk?

Choose film 8/10