To celebrate the last decade 2010-2019 we are counting down the best actresses and discussing some of their most notable and memorable performances of the last decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team have selected 30 actresses. Entry No. 23 is Isabelle Huppert, and writerCaz Armstrong discusses Huppert's performance in "Elle".
I have quite a high bar for emotional reactions to film, whether that be laughing or crying. “Alice” had me crying in my seat all through the credits. The two key elements to Alice's story are commonplace and not particularly remarkable in themselves. A husband squanders the family money, has affairs and leaves his wife. On the other side a woman is so backed into a financial corner that she turns to sex work. Nothing especially unique about either of those elements.
"The Peanut Butter Falcon" is one of my top films of all time. I managed to see it twice in the cinema and can’t wait to get the DVD so I can savour it over again. It’s an adventurous escape and a lesson in the power of loving broken people - as well as yourself. Structurally it's a straight forward story with two central characters and two antagonists, all with very clear goals. A) Get to the wrestling school and escape life, B) Catch the protagonists.
By now we’ve all seen the utterly disastrous reviews of Tom Hooper’s adaptation of “Cats” (2019). Apparently somewhere between a psychedelic fever dream assault on the eyeballs, and one of the most original and compelling films of the decade. It has its problems but I don’t think it’s deserving of the zero stars it’s been receiving. There are a number of films I liked much less this year. The “story” that loosely holds the songs together is that the cat Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) is about to choose which cat should be reborn into a happy new life in the Heaviside Layer. As the cats vie for the position Macavity (Idris Elba) attempts to do away with the competition.
I have never read the book "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott or seen any of the previous adaptations. I have little interest in period dramas, frocks and debutant balls. All I knew about the film was that there were a bunch of teenage-ish girls, it was written 150 years ago and the Joey on Friends got upset about one of the characters dying. So, I knew I’d be a hard sell on this but after a shaky start this film really won me over.
Millions of people grew up watching the Moomins; the Finnish forest creatures that look a bit like hippos and their various trollish friends. This film sees the Moomin family in the heart of winter preparing for Christmas, something they’ve never experienced before. This film might rekindle the childhood of the adults watching bit they may have a bit of explaining on their hands if they want the children to stick it out for the full run time. As inventive and charming as the stop motion animation might be, it wasn’t quite enough to sustain the rather choppy story.
Let me make it clear up front that I really like “Elf” (2003) and no Christmas is complete without it. It’s consistently ranked among the top Christmas films of all time and is screened at cinemas every year. With that in mind, I want to talk about the way the film treats women.
If you're feeling disheartened by the latest Golden Globe nominations ignoring fantastic female filmmakers just take a look at the WFCC awards. Hopefully, you can find comfort in their celebration of women in film. The Women’s Film Critic Circle is a group of 75 female critics and scholars. It was established 15 years ago in the belief that women’s perspectives in criticism need to be fully recognised.
Hollywood has a long standing love for the Mafia and mobster life. It’s often a romantic and glossy portrayal. Cigar smoke bellows around the faces of the bosses as they order the neat disposal of those who commit minor infractions. But what of the real Mafia? The wives screaming in the street over the lifeless bodies of their husbands? What of the child lying face down in his own blood, murdered for the simple and horrific act of witnessing his father being killed? “Shooting the Mafia” (2019) shows us the fear and trauma inflicted by the Mafia as well as showcasing a brave and strong woman who stood up to this tyranny. It is a call to justice while holding a mirror to our romanticised fascination with the Mafia.