Tagged Romance

Judy (Goold, 2019)

I find it difficult to be too hard on a film that is so irrevocably buoyed by its lead performance, and such is the case with Judy, a film which wouldn’t have passed muster without its star. For, admittedly, there is a lot here that I found lacking, all of which still bring down the film’s…

TIFF Review: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Sciamma, 2019)

It’s 2019 and a new lesbian romance has set hearts alight—and cooled many others. Quite reminiscent of the critical discourse that surrounded Todd Haynes’ Carol in 2015, Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire has evoked passionate reactions from the majority of film critics who have seen it, while its naysayers have largely sung the same…

TIFF Review: Waves (Shults, 2019)

I can understand Waves at a conceptual level, but try as I might, I can’t take to its concrete, finished form. Beyond the audaciousness of slamming us right into the high-maintenance world of high school wrestler Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), the various methods Shults employs to depict his demanding routine, secretive love life, and eventual breakdown—whether…

Vita & Virginia (Button, 2018)

Virginia Woolf is one of the greatest writers of all time, and certainly one of my favourite authors. It was, then, with much anticipation that I waited for news about Vita & Virginia to arrive out of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival—and I was disappointed when word of mouth wasn’t strong. But I had already made…

The Souvenir (Hogg, 2019)

I have read criticisms of Joanna Hogg’s formal austerity, particularly as it pertains to audience connection. What good is it, they say, if the film purposely frustrates our ability to unlock these characters and their milieus? Why watch these lives if we are prevented from fully accessing them? And it’s true, Hogg is not keen…

Yesterday (Boyle, 2019)

The premise of Yesterday works in some respects. Imagining a world without a particular cultural commodity, with all its associated prestige and iconography, can yield intriguing implications—especially if a few select people still know such a commodity once existed. The route Yesterday takes is the easiest: what if one of those people assumed creatorship of the commodity and reaped…

Weekly Spotlight #10: Desert Hearts (Deitch, 1985)

In this weekly series, The Lonely Film Critic highlights an older release of interest, whether it be an oft-overlooked gem or a classic worth revisiting. In honour of Pride Month, we turn our focus to the recently-restored lesbian romance Desert Hearts from director Donna Deitch.

Aladdin (Ritchie, 2019)

It is quite the relief when a movie that has been beleaguered with terrible promotion turns out to be better than expected. And let me tell you, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin instilled no confidence before its release date. When Will Smith’s buff and blue Genie was finally unveiled to a flurry of online backlash and mockery, I couldn’t…

Weekly Spotlight #8: Ballad of a Soldier (Chukhray, 1959)

In this weekly series, The Lonely Film Critic highlights an older release of interest, whether it be an oft-overlooked gem or a classic worth revisiting. This week, we introduce you to the Soviet-era war classic Ballad of a Soldier in remembrance of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Booksmart (Wilde, 2019)

Social media has been abuzz with debates about Olivia Wilde’s debut, from its marketing campaign to its struggle to make gains at the box office to questions about its diversity (or lack thereof). I want to review Booksmart on its own terms, so forgive me if what I write doesn’t substantially contribute to the current discourse. I’d…

Border (Abbasi, 2018)

This is quite the mish-mash. A heaping of Scandinavian folklore here, a sprinkle of gritty police procedural there. It ping-pongs between the two genres with intriguing results. Its feet are firmly planted in reality, but the folklore elements give it a sense of atemporality. It seems to exist in one time and in no time,…

Night is Short, Walk on Girl (Masaaki, 2017)

I commend the gutsy animation style on display in Night is Short, Walk on Girl. Expression is maximized from stem to stern, with emotions and physical movements taking on eye-popping (and hilarious) modes. Over-exaggerating affect and spatial boundaries works in this context, because this is a film about those awkward in-between years of adolescence and adulthood—between…

Song to Song (Malick, 2017)

Who knows if Terrence Malick will ever reach his early career heights again. The Tree of Life might be his final “great” work, though his recent efforts may be re-evaluated down the line. Song to Song, like its past few predecessors, was tepidly received and ignored by most audiences, left to be picked up by its few supporters…

Phantom Thread (Anderson, 2017)

Many things can be said about Paul Thomas Anderson’s ravishing masterpiece Phantom Thread. That it’s a sterling period piece that evokes both the opulence of Ophüls and the twisted sensibility of Hitchcock is a given. That it’s got one of the most sumptuous scores of the decade thanks to Jonny Greenwood is undeniable. That it’s perhaps…

God’s Own Country (Lee, 2017)

A good portion of God’s Own Country rests in silence. Human silence, that is. In the background, the wind rustles and sheep bleat. Two men are forced to tend a Yorkshire farm together. One is the owner’s wayward son (Josh O’Connor), a closeted gay man named Johnny who resents his burdens and tries to unsuccessfully drink them…