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Circus (2000)
Well-acted, but far too confusing
3 November 2001
I've read with interest everyone's opinions on this movie, and am surprised at the diversity. Some reviews state it is the worst British move in ages, some compare it to the likes of Trainspotting and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. I'm somewhere in between.

'Circus' is very refreshing, I'll give it that. But I feel like Austin Powers, contemplating time-travel, for I too have 'gone cross-eyed.' I rented this (thank God I didn't see it in the theatre) and found myself rewinding because I was so confused! Sure, they really don't want you to guess the ending, but at the same time, they turn you around so many times try understanding it!

The acting is wonderful. I actually thought Eddie Izzard was great, as was everyone else. I cease to be surprised by John Hannah, who does drama and comedy equally wonderfully. Famke Janssen was interesting enough, and her hick boyfriend was entertaining, as was the little nerdy guy, though his character sort of annoyed me.

I think that this film certainly could've been a lot better...this film-maker had the actors, they just needed to work with the story a little more. Had they taken away some of the twists and turns, they might've gotten a better film.

By the way, these are not all English actors. John Hannah is Scottish. And another thing, I certainly wouldn't compare this to Trainspotting, as Trainspotting was pure brilliance, and this is rather blemished.
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One of the best movies I've seen
3 November 2001
This movie is brilliant, really it is. The fact that it is based on a true story only adds to it and makes it that much better.

Basically, this movie is following Harold Guppy, a man who we want to like but does some pretty despicable things on our road to the ending. He seems like he's had quite a bit of trouble in his life (he lets us know in a discussion with his brother) and he wants to start fresh. This won't be the only time he has such ambitions.

Harold is immediately welcomed into a family who are looking to rent a room. Enter Julie Walters. Although it's a nice, friendly, relationship at first, Harold and Mrs. Beasley's relationship soon turn sexual (though he's in his 30's and she her 50's), where they even result in having sex in bed with Mrs. Beasley's (or as he calls her, Mum's) daughter Joyce.

Their relationship is smooth enough until Harold decides he wants to get out. Mum has this psychological control over him and it isn't healthy. They are now regularly sleeping together (with Joyce still in the bed) and Harold needs to get out of the situation. So he escapes, at least, for a while.

Soon enough Mum has control of him again, saying she'll tell the police that Harold sexually abused Joyce. So here he is again, back in Mum's control.

We are led to believe that Harold really is a good boy, just a weak one. We have compassion for him, as he really needs Mum (it's not as if he ever had one growing up), and he can't escape. But he must.

All the way to the end, we pity our Harold as everything falls apart. And it does fall apart for poor Harold.

This movie is sad in its simplicity and we do feel for many of the characters, Harold's brother and wife, Mum's children, Joyce, Mr. Beasley, the list goes on.

I'd suggest this movie a million times over. The film-maker films each shot so coldly, there never really is any sunshine, and everything seems so's reminiscent of the relationship Harold and Mum have. Icy.

Julie Walters and Rupert Graves deliver masterly performances, as well as the young girl who is Joyce. Congrats to everyone who worked on this film, it's amazing.
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