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The Duchess (2008)
ignore the critics, the duchess is spellbinding
After reading copious amounts of mediocre reviews for "The duchess", I wasn't expecting much from this film. However, from the first scene I was utterly absorbed.
The film isn't "just another period drama", it is an absolutely beautiful and heart-rendering tale of the tribulations faced by Georgian woman. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who although is the key character in the film (as you can probably infer from the title), represents the situation of all woman belonging to a patriarchal society, not just the aristocracy.
Keira knightly is exemplary in this role. Her facial expression tells more than a script ever could. I enjoyed her performance in "atonement" but this was in a whole new league. Ralph Fiennes was also excellent. My best advice is to ignore the critics and come to your own conclusion. My only negative criticism was the rapidity with which Georgiana bonded so intimately with Bess. However, I don't know enough about the social context of the time to really make a judgement.
All in all, a deeply moving tale that shouldn't be neglected.
Coming Down the Mountain (2007)
contemporary, controversial, knuckle-biting and heart-wrenching
The style in which this drama was filmed is comparable to that of "skins", Nicholas Hoult's preceding work, however the depth of this one-off drama is stunning.
I admit the first 15/20 minutes tried my patience a little due to the script containing a somewhat clichéd storyline: Troubled boy meets bad girl who inevitably does bad things once troubled boy is forced to move away by bad parents. However,the storyline then takes a rather sudden turn which transforms it from "another troubled-teen drama" to a brilliantly original and touching piece of work.
Dave (Nicholas Hoult) is driven into depression with the responsibilities that come with having a brother, Ben, with downs syndrome, a condition that is characterized by considerable learning difficulties. Ben is not however the direct perpetrator of Dave's misery. The parents are to blame. After being forced away from London, away from all his friends and girlfriend in order to accommodate for Ben's education, Dave is pushed over the edge. He kidnaps Ben and they hitch to Snowdonia with their camping equipment. The scenes of Dave's overt hatred for his brother are distressing but your empathy finds it is with both the boys, not just Ben. In a heart-stopping sequence on top of a mountain when the resent for his brother is at its climax, Dave appears to have passed over all reason and the event that follows stunned us all.
The entire family watched this drama and all, without hesitation, agreed it was exceptional. Although the story was heart-rendering for the most part, the happiness and subtle humour that ensued in the last scenes left a positive atmosphere. The poignance of the drama, however, is not forgotten.
Beautiful scenery,appropriate music and Stunning performances from both Hoult and Tommy Jessop. What more could you ask for from a drama?
Driving Lessons (2006)
Cringing, crying, laughing, dying- its all in there!
I was unsure what to expect from "driving lessons"- unsure whether Rupert Grint could carry such a role, but within the first few minutes I was completely hooked. All the way through, the music, acting and scenery were absolutely stunning. Julie Walters, as always, gave a superb performance as the eccentric old actress Evie, and Rupert Grint, equally as good,gave a fantastic performance as the romantic Ben.
Right from the beginning, I was forced into involuntary cringes, bursts of laughter and swellings of joy as Ben broke free from his controlling mother and fought for his friendship with his only friend, Evie. A very controversial story, probably rather exaggerated but none the less one of the best films i have seen in a long time.
Highly recommend to anyone seeking a good British film and an evening to kick-back and just enjoy yourself.