Tag: Ben Whishaw


Review: Little Joe

February 24, 2020
Little Joe

There are two sorts of people: The ones who can keep plants alive for months and the ones who just let it accidentally die after a few days. Whether you’re part of the first group or the second, you all know that flowers need to be talked to, watered and sometimes also touched. Well, that’s certainly something Alice Woodard knows like no one else. As an expert in plant-breeding, she’s being surrounded by plants and flowers every day. Her flowery story is now coming to the big screen in Little Joe from director Jessica Hausner (Amour Fou).

Which of your children do you choose?

Saying that flowers are Alice (Emily Beecham) her passion would be a complete understatement. She takes care of them 24/7 and together with her colleague Chris (Ben Whishaw), she has even produced a new species called Little Joe. The flower isn’t only gorgeous but it also releases a scent that makes the owner happy. When Alice isn’t spending time with her Little Joe’s, she’s surrounded by another Joe (Kit Connor), her son. To show her thanks for keeping up with her absence, Alice takes a Little Joe home as a present for her son, despite it being against company policies. However, that might could have the biggest mistake of her life.

At first, everything seems to be fine with Little Joe but things are taking a darker turn when her colleague Bella (Kerry Fox) suspects that the pollen of the flowers might be harmful. It looks like Little Joe is changing people’s behaviour and not in a good way. The more the flowers grow, the stranger the behaviour of the people becomes. Alice doesn’t notice it at first but when her son shows the potential symptoms, she’s starting to doubt her work. Which of her children will she choose: her appealing flowers or her wonderful son?

Emily Beecham as Alice Woodard and Ben Whishaw as Chris in Little Joe.
 Emily Beecham as Alice Woodard and Ben Whishaw as Chris in Little Joe.
Source: IMDb

Wonderful talent both in front as well as behind the camera

Hausner wrote Little Joe with her writing partner Géraldine Bajard (Amour Fou). According to Bajard, the inspiration came from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They wanted to create a similar story involving the connection between a working mother and her son. That bond is one of the reasons why the audience can resonate so well with this movie. There’s also the unanswered love, feelings such as doubts and guilt and even the issue of mental instability. The crucial topic is without a doubt making the right decision even if you have to give up something or someone you love for that.

Those human emotions and feeling wouldn’t feel so familiar if it wasn’t for the stunning performances. It’s no surprise that Beecham (Daphne) won the award for Best Actress during the Film Festival de Cannes last year. She portrays the whole range of emotions of her characters extremely beautiful. Her facial expressions could tell the whole story on its own. Whether we would make the same decision as Alice or not, Beecham makes us feel connected to her. Wishaw (The Personal History of David Copperfield) puts on a stunning performance as the shy Chris who’s not afraid of showing his feelings. It’s a shame though that Wishaw can’t show his full potential, especially more towards the end. Beecham and Wishaw get fine support from Fox (Top End Wedding) whose performance is the most emotionally versatile one of this movie and Connor (Slaughterhouse Rulez) who puts on wonderful acting.

When we spoke to Marko Waschke (The Gentlemen) about the flowers he created, he mentioned that they combined many elements from different flowers to make it look realistic and new at the same time. The hard work paid off because the planthouse looks incredible and is the perfect setting for the majority of the scenes. Even more so when the flowers are in complete bloom.

What brings that beautifulness to the screen, even more, is the wonderful cinematography by Martin Gschlacht (Revanche). There’s the stunning element of the black and white composition. When Little Joe seems innocent, the lights in the planthouse are bright but when more doubts about the plants increase, the colours become darker. The music also contributes to that innocent versus dangerous aspect. The music in Little Joe is repetitive but that’s for a perfect reason. When we see the daily life of the plant breeders, there’s almost no music but when Little Joe is the key piece in the scene, you hear upbeat drums representing the danger and dark side.

Little Joe Plants
The Little Joe’s
(Source: IMDb)

A beautiful, delightful and intriguing film

Flowers and plants can be very captivating, especially when they’re extremely colourful. Well, that’s the same we can say about this movie. If you check out Little Joe, you will not only see incredibly beautiful flowers but also a stunningly dark, visually gorgeous and a captivating performance on film.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Also Read: Netflix By The Numbers

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Review: The Personal History of David Copperfield

January 26, 2020

Whether you’re a bookworm that devours books in record time or whether you’re just familiar with the classics, Charles Dickens is known by everyone. Probably mostly because of Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, and Great Expectations. They’ve all had many adaptations and now we can also another adaptation of David Copperfield to that list. This is thanks to director Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin, In the Loop). He decided to turn the adored novel into The Personal History of David Copperfield, a funny, heart-warming and moving film.

Finding light in times of darkness

That life won’t be easy for David Copperfield becomes obvious from the beginning. The young David (Jairaj Varsani) and his family are coming from a poor background and the loss of his father was a hard blow to handle. He might not have much but together with his single mother (Morfydd Clark) and housekeeper Peggotty (Daisy May Cooper), he’s trying to enjoy life as much as possible. However, dark clouds are hanging above their little cottage in Blunderstone. The authoritarian Mr. Murdstone (Darren Boyd) and his equally evil sister Jane Murdstone (Gwendoline Christie) are joining the family as David’s stepfather and step-aunt. David has to undergo both mental and physical abuse by Murdstone and he’s being deprived of time with his mother and housekeeper. It even gets worse when he has to leave his family to go to work at the bottling factory, owned by Murdstone.

Many years later, David (Dev Patel) is still working at the factory and living with the nutty, clever but also very charming Mr. and Mrs. Micawber (Peter Capaldi and Bronagh Gallagher). They’ve welcomed David with open arms and are treating him like their child. However, an unexpected loss is turning David’s life completely upside down. He can’t return home due to Mr. Murdstone who’s still ruling there so he decides to go to his amusing and kooky aunt (Tilda Swinton) and his even silly cousin (Hugh Laurie). This might be the beginning of a more joyful time for David. He meets the lovely Dora (Morfydd Clark), makes new friends and lives a more luxurious life. Love, family and some money. It seems that finally, David has it all. Will he be able to escape the uncertainty and poverty once and for all or will his past catches upon him?

Peter Capaldi as Mr. Micawber and Jairaj Varsani as the young David Copperfield in The Personal History of David Copperfield.
(source: IMDb)

Love, passion and a stunning assemble cast

We all have our reasons why we cherish a particular book, novel or film so much. For director Iannucci, it was the cinematic, funny, and modern vibe of the original Dicken’s novel that made him wanted to make an adaption of it. To bring his beautiful vision to life, he worked with writer Simon Blackwell (Trying Again) with whom he already made The Thick of It and Veep. The two men certainly know how to make a wonderful and gorgeous movie.

The main reason is without a doubt the stunning performance of the overall cast. Leading the A-stars is the amazing Dev Patel (Lion). Iannucci knew from the start that he wanted Patel to portray the main character and it’s understandable why. Watching Copperfield coming to life is such a joy because of Patel’s extremely heart-warming, charming and emotional performance. He puts a smile on our faces during the joyful moments but at the same time, we can also feel the pain and uncertainty. Also, the young Varsani (Hetty Feather) portrays David in the most vividly, wonderful and contagious way.

The supporting cast? Well, what can we see about them apart from the fact that they were all on-point! This movie can certainly count on strong women. Clark (Crawl) puts on the most emotional and captivating performance while Cooper (This Country) brings immense joy and wittiness. Swinton (Suspiria) is at her best again as the unusual, peculiar but loving Betsey and Gallagher (A Bump Along the Way) is just delightful to watch as the carrying Mrs. Micawber. Christie (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) brings darkness to this movie in a gorgeous way.

The male cast is as equally as powerful. Capaldi (Paddington) features as the conniving and funny Mr. Micawber while Laurie (Tomorrowland) delivers a wonderful performance as the loving man who’s sadly showing the first signs of schizophrenia. Whishaw’s (Little Joe) performance as the seedy Uriah Heep brings an even more funny, mad and witty element to this movie. A massive congratulations to the casting tea for putting such a great assemble cast together!

Elegant, heart-warming and delightfully made

While making this film, Iannucci wanted to use as little special effects as possible and that proved only to work in favour of this film. The heartwarming and joyful The Personal History of David Copperfield is a delight to watch thanks to the stunning A-cast, real-life vibe and extreme openness.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Also Read: Why James Cameron’s Avatar Sequel Has Come At The Right Time

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