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Tag: Lesley Manville

Reviews

Review: Misbehaviour

March 16, 2020
Misbehaviour Movie

You would think that when living in the 21st Century equal pay for men and women, equal rights and equal respect would just be one of the few cornerstones of society. Well, sadly that’s still not the case at all as the fight for gender equality on all fronts is still going strong. It’s a fight that has been fought for many decades with some lows but with definitely some highs as well. An important milestone in the fight for equal rights was without a doubt the rebellious uprising of the women’s liberation movement and their enormous impactful actions during the Miss World competition in 1970. If you’ve witnessed their extremely important protest live or on television at the time than you know what we’re talking about. If not, then director Philippa Lowthorpe (Sex, the city and me) has the perfect film for you. With her Misbehaviour, you will not only get up to speed with those crucial events in the best way possible but you will also see a beautiful, funny, and eye-opening movie.

You’ve got to fight for your rights

In this film, it’s all about two different sides of society coming together during the most entertaining spectacle of 1970, the Miss World competition. One on hand you have the women’s liberation movement while on the other hand, you have the competition organisers Eric (Rhys Ifans) and Julia Morley (Keeley Hawes).

The women’s liberation movement was found by Jo Robinson (Jessie Buckley) who brought together strong women to fight for equal rights. One of them is Sally Alexander (Keira Knightly) who sadly recently had to endure the prejudices of white men during her college application for the Univesity College of London. Instead of judging her on extensive knowledge and expertise on the matters, the men judged her on beauty and asked her about motherhood and the place of women in society. After that, she decided to join the women’s liberation movement and eventually to become their spokeswoman. She doesn’t want her daughter to grow up in a society that only cares about female beauty and not the intelligence of women.

It becomes clear that that society is indeed about appearance and treating women just as a beautiful piece of meat. The most tremendous example of that is the Miss World competition. No one there seems to care about the dignity of women. No, all what the organisers and their special guest star Bob Hope (Greg Kinnear) can think of is who will be the most beautiful girl in the world. Will it be the favourite Miss Sweden (Clara Rosager) or one of the two black contestants Miss Africa South (Loreece Harrison) and Miss Grenada (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)?

Misbehaviour - The ladies leading of the women's liberation movement
(Source: Pathé)
The ladies leading of the women’s liberation movement
(Source: Pathé)

The important story and strong performances rule

While this story took place in the ’70s, not much has changed. Ok, the equal rights became more equal, there’s free daycare and a woman is allowed to open a bank account without the permission of her husband. However, the standards of beauty remained the same. You can’t have too many curves at the wrong places, you need to have the perfect measurements and heels are the symbol of femininity. Yes, those standards are still present. In some cultures, people do still believe that the place of women is only in the kitchen and bedroom.

Apart from the story, the acting performances are also what keeps this movie very interesting. After showing us her outstanding performances in Wild Rose and Judy, Buckley is again phenomenal. The timing of her cleverly written jokes is just spot on and she lifts the film to an entertaining and spontaneous film. The chemistry between her and Knightley is a wonderful one to witness. This is also because of Knightley (Official Secrets) her remarkable performance.

However, no matter how great they are, Knightley and Buckley are being over classed by Mbatha-Raw (Come Away). She lights up the screen as Hosten, the Miss World competitor who has more to offer than just beauty. Mbatha-Raw shows us a strong performance, that highlights the aesthetics of Miss Grenada but also her maturity and intelligence. The scene between Mbatha-Raw and Knightley is one of the most captivating ones. When it comes to the male cast, it’s Ifans (The Parting Glass) who steals the show with a funny and suave performance. He knows how to bring out that ‘player and female lover’ aspect of Eric tremendously.

Perfect timing

It’s been exactly 50 years since the women’s liberation movement decided to take on the Miss World competition and so it was the right time for Misbehaviour to be released. Not only because of the importance of the topic but also just because it’s an immensely entertaining and charming movie.

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

Misbehaviour (Official Trailer)

Misbehaviour is out in U.K. cinemas now

Also Read: The Problem with the role of ‘The Wife’ in movies like ‘Dark Waters’

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Reviews

Review: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

October 26, 2019
Maleficent - Mistress of Evil

Do you prefer Sleeping Beauty over Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Cinderella? Well, we have good news for you! After creating her story in a dark but heart-warming way in Maleficent, Disney has now brought her back to the big screen in the sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. This movie from director Joachim Rønning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Max Manus: Man of War) probably won’t be crowned as the film of 2019 but it’s still a very enjoyable watch.

A magical story about love and war

Just a quick recap to Maleficent. Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), a compassionate but heart-breaking fairy, finds Aurora, the newborn daughter of her ex-lover Stefan. Being vengeful against her and Stefan at first, Maleficent opens us towards Aurora and makes her the princess of the Moors. The goal is to unite the human kingdom and the magical one under one throne and that’s the start of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. After meeting and falling madly in love with each other, Aurora (Elle Fanning) is now engaged to her Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson). This is the perfect opportunity o unite two lovebirds but also two different kingdoms.

However, not everyone shares that same joy. Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), the mother of Philip, sees Aurora as a mysterious and dark intruder like Maleficent and Maleficent herself doesn’t want to give up her daughter to the humans. During the oh-so-important family dinner, it all goes off the rails. King John (Robert Lindsay) falls ill and Maleficent is being accused of poisoning him. When Aurora chooses the side of her in-laws and breaks her loyalty to Maleficent, Maleficent feels betrayed and is out for revenge. She’s not the only furious, vengeful and powerful woman. Queen Ingrith wants to honour the legacy of her husband and gather her troops to protect her kingdom, no matter the consequences. It becomes an immensely heated battle. Who will win this war and what will happen to the union of the kingdoms?

Queen Ingrith played by Michelle Pfeiffer (credit: Disney)

Characters are key

There was already the battle between “dark vs white”, “good versus evil”, “magical creature versus human” in the 2014 film and it’s that same conflict that Rønning is showing in this movie. Because of that and also because it’s a fairytale, the storyline seems very predictable. However, there’s still some elements that will make you fall in love with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.

The characters in this sequel are both hit and miss. The biggest hit is without a doubt casting Pfeiffer (Avengers: Endgame, Murder on the Orient Express) as Queen Ingrith. If you’re a fan of accents, you might wonder why they cast her but once you’ve seen her in the full battle outfit as the furious, head-strong and dark Queen, you know why. Pfeiffer puts on such a bombastic and powerful performance as the warrior but also a more emotional and friendly one as the caring and protective mother(-in-law). The scenes between her and Jolie (By the Sea, The Tourist) are the dark highlights of this movie. Of course, this is also because of Jolie’s stunning acting. Yes, sometimes her white and thin face can be a little bit over-the-top but once you get over that you see an energetic, impressive and badass Jolie. Luckily for us and this film, Sam Riley (Radioactive, Sometimes Always Never) is returning as Diaval, Maleficent’s loyal servant. Riley brings an immense rock ‘n roll vibe, tons of humour, wittiness and funny moments to the screen

This film is not only about the war but also about love and the marriage between Aurora and her Philip. In a relationship, it’s all about chemistry and passion but that’s not visible in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. This has absolutely nothing to do with Fanning (Teen Spirit, Mary Shelley) her wonderful, beautiful and strong performance, especially during the second part of the film when she gets the chance to shine bright. The reason why there’s no chemistry is the character of Prince Philip and the associated acting performance from Dickinson (County Lines, The Darkest Minds). It falls incredibly flat, it’s bland and doesn’t do this movie any justice. We would have loved to see Brenton Thwaites again as Philip.

Is there such a thing as too much CGI?

In a fantasy film like this, the CGI should be on point and again, we’re divided about this. The special effects are stunningly made, definitely the eye-catcher of this movie and fit the story incredibly well. It brings the fairytale element to life, especially when the ones taking place in the magical forest. At first, you will be swept off your feet by all the romance, the clever and sticky special effects. Sadly, the great VFX will fade when things are heated and becoming more darker. There’s just overuse of CGI. It becomes too much, a little bit of confusion and a mess. As a result of that, Jolie and Pfeifer can’t show their acting skills. Don’t get us started how cringy it feels to see Juno Temple (Lost Transmissions, The Pretenders), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Hampstead) and Imelda Staunton (Downton Abbey, Finding Your Feet) as the three CGI fairies.

Not great but certainly not bad

Rønning is no stranger when it comes to making big-budget films as he sat in the directors’ chair during Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Just like that film, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil doesn’t reach its full potential. The reasons for that are the extravagant use of special effects and some half-written characters. However, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is still an entertaining, marvellous and eye-catching film because of some strong acting performances, humour, and vividness.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Official Trailer)
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