If you are unfamiliar with the book or the story in general, be cautious travellers: this is one of those films that is going to be coated in melodrama and ultimately, demanding of your tears. The question is, is the journey worth that outcome? Yes. As with life itself (which primarily ties to the central heart of the story: there are always bright places in dark times) things can be challenging, disheartening, and sometimes downright seemingly hopeless, but we can prevail. That sort of message, even if it’s paraded at times here, is worth seeking, and if it allows someone out there to feel less alone, the intent is successful.
Sofia Coppola’s American Southern Gothic film, “The Beguiled” (2017), is an atmospheric drama that takes place at a girls’ school in Virginia in 1864. The American Civil War rages around the house, ever-present despite the lack of action. The film features a trio of talented blonde women -- Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning -- in addition to Colin Farrell. While it’s not the masterpiece that some of Coppola’s other films like “Marie Antoinette” (2006) or “The Virgin Suicides” (1999) are, it’s a moving and aesthetically beautiful portrait of women in wartime.
A double-crossed hit man finds himself on the run with a mysterious young woman in Galveston (2018), a film that starts off like a dramatic thriller but winds up, like its characters, on an unexpected and affecting journey.
"Maleficent" still stands out as something of a black sheep within Disney’s recent live-action catalogue. Instead of a simple remake or sequel, the film instead presents a revisionist retelling of Sleeping Beauty from its villain’s point of view whilst also turning the narrative into an allegory for sexual assault and abusive relationships. The final result was admittedly ambitious but sloppy and ill-conceived (you can read my recent reappraisal of its botched metaphors here), but it did well financially so a sequel was always on the cards. After covering the entirety of the original tale, where exactly Mistress of Evil has to go from there seems a bit nebulous on first thought but, and this is an especially relieving shock to me, the final results are far beyond what anyone would reasonably expect.