Person of the Day – Kate Winslet

katewinslet_rosedewitbukaterI absolutely adore Kate Winslet. I obviously got to know her via Titanic like the rest of the world and since then I fell in love with her and her work more and more every day. There’s something so beautiful in her. And of course, she looks stunning but at the same time she looks and acts normal. She has always fought against this that everyone in Hollywood should be paper thin. She could be your neighbour yet she’s amazingly talented actress who makes even badly written characters shine. She got the IT factor. I love her. And she’s 42 today, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY to great Kate Winslet.

To celebrate her I’d like to do my TOP-5 of her performances list. I could do 10 too but as I already do those, let’s make this one shorter. No, actually, I changed my mind. I’m just going to do a list of my favourite films of her because she’s probably better in some of those films but I like others better.

5. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

AND

Finding Neverland (2004)

kate_senseandsensibilityHah, I cheated already! 😀 Never mind. Here I just couldn’t decide. On the case of the first one I like the film a lot like I tend to like all Jane Austen films. Sense and Sensibility is not my favourite and I don’t really like Kate’s character here but then again, who could not like a film with such great talents like Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Tom Wilkinson, even Hugh Laurie and all those other great British actors. I’ve always loved the fact that Kate is from Reading where I used to live. It makes me closer to her. At least I like to think that way. Anyway, Sense and Sensibility was nominated for seven Oscars, Kate being one of those, for supporting part. It was her first nomination, also out of seven in total come today.

Finding Neverland I like more than Sense and Sensibility but her character there isn’t as important and flashy as it is in S&S. And I find Finding Neverland so sad that I don’t watch it often. I think I’ve only seen it twice compared to S&S that I’ve seen multiple times, so many that I lost the count.

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She’s SO beautiful. I’d love to look like her. Whenever asked whom I’d like to look, I say her name. 

4. Revolutionary Road (2008)

This is my favourite performance of hers. She’s unbelievably good. Like no-words-good. The film includes so horrible mental suffering that I haven’t been able to watch it again but I still remember her look in the end. No words, just eyes. Masterful. I haven’t seen The Reader (some tough subjects…), so I don’t know if she’s even better there but I definitely think she should have won an Oscar for this role. And she wasn’t even nominated!

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3. The Holiday (2006)

Yeah, I’m a sucker for romantic comedies. And this one has Kate and Jude. And snow in England where there actually don’t snow that much. And that cottage. And Jack Black is tolerable. And I even like Cameron Diaz in this. And the storyline in LA with that old dude. Works for me. And it’s Christmas! All good. I do watch this every year, I think. And I can relate, I’m so like Iris, her character, in real life. Impossible expectations.

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2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Oh Clementine. And poor Joel. Why don’t they make more films like this? So original and ever so true. Love is pain but who can live without it? If you haven’t see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind watch it now! Like right now!

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1. Titanic (1997)

You knew it. What else it could be if you have ever read my blog? The film is worth of its gigantic name in every detail and Kate is being the crown jewel of it all. With Leo of course. I love, love, love the relationship of those two if anything is true that is detailed . Although, like most of us, I do wish they would end up together. But at least they shine on silver screen whenever they are together. (I decided 20 (wow, it actually is 20!!!) years ago that if I ever get married I will have that dress of Rose’s that she has at the end; I never did).

So, there you go! Such a great lady. I’m already looking forward to her next film. Here’s a taste:

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2 Times HBO

Last week’s Monday I had a HBO day, apparently. I started my morning with the last episode of Game of Thrones of course but as I’ve subscribed HBO Nordic just because GoT and I just paid one more month, I decided to take advantage of it and watch something else too as it is full of helluva good series. I started with

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BIG LITTLE LIES (2017)

Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, James Tupper & Jeffrey Nordling

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée

Written by David E. Kelly and Liane Moriarty

Synopsis (IMDb): “The apparently perfect lives of three mothers of first graders unravel to the point of murder.”

When I started writing this post I put on the soundtrack of the series. It’s really, really good and nails the tone of Big Little Lies perfectly. Perfectly. It’s this easy, breezy Californian vibe there but when you really listen to it, you can hear the undertone. And that is the way Big Little Lies is told. All is good before you dig deeper.

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Big Little Lies is the celebration of mature female talent. Thankfully there are still roles for women over 40. And all these women in this series deliver big time. BLL is nominated for 10 Primetime Emmys and five of them are for acting (and one for casting) and I think everyone is deserved. Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are competing against each other in Lead actresses’ category as are Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern in Supporting. The only man nominated is Alexander Skarsgård for playing the husband of Kidman’s character. Men are supporting characters in this story but all of them are needed to carry the story. All women here are remarkable but then again, the characters are well-written. I actually think I’ve would have liked to read the novel first as I appreciate how the story is told and how you get to know more about everyone little by little. Get to understand them. Dern has the flashiest role, maybe even the most thin-layered but hot_reese_witherspoon_beautifulnonetheless it’s pleasure to watch her play. Woodley’s character is the quiet, tough one and she nails it too. Although I thought she could have taken more out of it. So, in my mind Dern wins the supporting role in BLL. The lead is celebration of two amazingly talented individuals. But as I think, Kidman has been playing this kind of role quite often (or then I just think I see her crying on screen a lot. And I mean A LOT.), it’s Witherspoon’s game. She’s awesome. At the beginning of the series you hate her character but in the end you can’t but love her. She’s flesh and blood, she’s real. And she acts every little detail out of her. I just love how Reese Witherspoon gets better and better when she gets older. She’s always been good but she’s slightly becoming one of the best.

BLL is also nominated for writing and like I’ve already mentioned, it’s well-told. I actually watched it in a one go. Perfect for binge as it is only seven episodes. It is also nominated for directing and cinematography and also both of those are deserved. Jean-Marc Vallée is here as good as he was with his Oscar winning Dallas Buyers Club and the cinematography is beautiful, it captures the atmosphere of all of it superbly. Everything is in order here. Even though I’ve used a word “perfect” here, it is not perfect but it’s close enough. I recommend.

Rating: ****½ (out of 5)

P.S. This soundtrack is REALLY good!

 

 

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THE NIGHT OF (2016)

Starring Riz Ahmed, John Turturro, Bill Camp, Sofia Black-D’Elia & Michael Kenneth Williams

Created by Steve Zaillian & Richard Price

Synposis (IMDb): “After a night of partying with a female stranger, a man wakes up to find her stabbed to death and is charged with her murder.”

As if Big Little Lies wasn’t good enough, I started watching another series that I’ve only heard raves and had had on my watchlist for ages (a few months that is). And again, I was not disappointed. HBO’s monthly fee is surely justified. Though I’m not sure how they could top themselves anymore? (Btw, take a good look on that poster, it’s amazing, isn’t it?)

The Night of is also nominated for 10 Emmys and was nominated for three Golden Globes and bunch of other awards and it has also won some. And again, it deserves all the praise (I feel like I’m repeating myself, but you know, HBO earns it, they just make such a great television these days).

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There are three nominations at Emmys for actors them being Riz Ahmed in the main role, John Turturro who has been also put in the Lead category although I think his role is still supporting one even though it’s a big role. Bill Camp and Michael Kenneth Williams are placed in Supporting. Camp, Williams and Turturro are excellent, of course. Especially the latter is able to flex his muscles (figuratively) in a meaty role but then again, he has always been excellent and has been cast to the roles like this before. The rizahmed_hotNight of is Riz Ahmed’s show. He’s unbelievable. There are only eight (although some of them are 1,5 hours long) episodes but the transformation that he goes through during the series is… I don’t know, I’m lost of words. Stunning. Incredible. Even shocking. I truly hope he’ll get his Emmy. He should. Just look at the last episode and then go back to the first one and see the transformation. Not just the physical stuff but especially his eyes. How one does that? I have no idea. What an acting. I’m a fan.

Looking at those Emmy nominations I keep reading “outstanding” and in this case it’s exactly the right word to describe this one. It is outstanding. I watched it too in one go. Even though it was the second of the day and time was sometime 2am I couldn’t stop. No way. Way too good for that. And I absolutely loved it that I had no idea what’s going to happen next. But not in the shocking way of Game of Thrones but in this real way, like how life happens. One just has to adapt to survive. And one has to learn to live with one’s decisions and consequences that those cause. Everything here is top-notch; writing, directing, cinematography, music (!) and especially acting. It is one terrific story told perfectly. Watch it.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

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13 Reason Why Review

The series, not the book.

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13 REASONS WHY (2017)

Creator: Bryan Yorkey

Based on the book by: Jay Asher

Starring: Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Miles Heizer, Ross Butler, Devin Druid, Amy Hargreaves, Derek Luke & Kate Walsh

Synopsis (IMDb): “Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life.”

SPOILER-FREE as always.

13-Reasons-Why

I binged Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why in one sitting, so obviously it is not bad. I’m not exactly in a target group as I’m not a teenager or even close but then again, I still enjoy watching silly teen dramas. Then again, 13 Reasons is not silly. At all. It’s quite sad and not the easiest to watch. There are even warnings before some of the episodes. But still it gets you hooked. Or at least it got me and quite many of my friends.

I haven’t read the novel that the series is based on and I’m glad I didn’t because I liked the way the story unfold episode by episode. I really wanted to know what happens next. I read that the book is kind of a thriller but the series is not. At least I didn’t see it that way. It’s pure drama with very sad background story. Well, it is about suicide after all.

Meet_the_cast_of_13_Reasons_Why

The story itself is cleverly made, I liked the way that each episode is one of the reasons “why” and tells a story from one point of view. But when the story goes forward, a viewer will get another point of view. Nothing is black and white. Everyone of the characters evolve on the way, almost all of them are more than one dimensional, they’re flesh and blood. These days it seems to be rare that kids or teenagers in TV are very real, they are more like something that none of us “normal” people are, like princesses or princes of Upper East Side (Gossip Girl) or way too beautiful and fashionable like in Pretty Little Liars. But in 13 Reasons teens are normal with normal faces or bodies or clothes. They come from different backgrounds with different problems. They are jocks, outcasts or something between. They’re real. And that’s what I liked this series the best besides the structure of storytelling.

13reasonswhycast

All actors are top-notch. Some characters could be a little bit more developed but everyone on board makes the best out of it what’s given. There are some tacky dialogue but not that much that it bothers. The story itself is for me a bit strange as I’m very optimist person, so it’s hard for me to relate that deep problems that takes you to kill yourself or even just be depressed. But even though it was hard for me to relate, episodes were so well done that it wasn’t that hard to see “why”.

The biggest problem for me was that I really didn’t like Hannah who is the driving force behind the whole story. She’s really annoying. But at the same time when I just wanted to throw something at her, I admired that the second protagonist of the story is someone that you don’t really like. It made it probably a bit more real. And as I wrote these kids are what I see as normal, so basically all of them are a bit sh*t like teenagers around the world tend to be.

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As I don’t want to spoil anything as it’s important to view episode by episode to see the big picture, I wonder how they will continue in the second season. It has to be the another story basically. But I’ll be watching. These kids are worth of your time.

Starring: **** (out of 5)

Persons of the Day – Birthday Boys and a Girl

I was browsing IMDb and noticed that today is a good day to be born at least if you aspire to become a director. You would be in very good company. Today is also birthday of Sofia Coppola, Robert Zemeckis and George Lucas (and Cate Blanchett but Mutant already wrote about her). So let’s celebrate their careers as directors by taking a look to my favourite films of theirs. Here’s my TOP-10 films of these fine filmmakers.

 10)

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MARIE ANTOINETTE (2006)

To be honest I’m not a huge fan of this film directed by Sofia Coppola but I do love how it is so lavishly looking. Like a bowl of cotton candy and marshmallows. Yummy.

9)

film-bling-ring

THE BLING RING (2013)

I was surprised how entertained I was by this film. And it’s my favourite Emma Watson film after Potters obviously.  And I do want to watch it again now after making this list. Coppola did a nice job here.

8)

death-becomes-her-best-shot

DEATH BECOMES HER (1992)

I didn’t even know that this horror comedy with superb trio in main roles (Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis) was directed by Robert Zemeckis before today. As a teenager I really liked this film. I haven’t see it for years but I should watch it again. I remember that I was awed by all visual effects/make-up of the film back in 1992.

7)

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WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (1988)

Again another surprise. Didn’t know that this one is Zemeckis’ too. I really, really loved Roger Rabbit when I was a kid. I can’t really remember much about it now but as I liked it so much back then I guess I have another one on my rewatch list…

6)

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THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (1999)

Is it really 18 years since this came out? Wow. Anyway I was engaged by the mood and vibe of this little gem from Sofia Coppola. It was the film that made her known as a filmmaker. And she was under 30 years old back then. Not bad.

5)

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ROMANCING THE STONE (1984)

Apparently Robert Zemeckis really entertained me when I was a kid. Another one that I watched over and over again. Michael Douglas was so hot and Kathleen Turner the most beautiful woman I knew. And they had the best chemistry. ❤ I saw this again only few months ago and I still loved it.

4)

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FORREST GUMP (1994)

I’m stupidly positive person who always believes in good and gives people another chance after another. So you can imagine how a film like Forrest Gump appeals to me. We all should have a little Forrest inside of us, it would make the world a much better place. Thanks to Zemeckis for this beautiful film.

3)

Back-to-the-Future

BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985)

The last three on this list are such classics. I have no idea how many times I’ve seen Back to the Future and everytime it rocks my socks off. Perfect popcorn film. It feels like they don’t make them anymore this great. Hands down the best film of Robert Zemeckis.

2) 

Lost-in-Translation

LOST IN TRANSLATION (2003)

When at her best, Sofia Coppola, creates strangely engaging feeling to a film. And this is her best film. Hell, this is one of the best films ever made. I can still remember the feeling after seeing this film for the first time on my birthday in April. And even though outside it was dark and a bit rainy after the film, I felt featherlight, kind of gliding through the streets, everything was so beautiful. Like I carried the beauty of this film within me. Perfection.

1)

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STAR WARS (1977)

Like I could choose any other film?

P.S. I said it’s about directing but I just have to include one more from Mr. Lucas because, come on!

Indiana-Jones

Happy Birthday to Mr Zemeckis, Mr Lucas and Ms Coppola and thank you for making those amazing films!

And the Winners are…

2017oscarsBest Picture

Winner: Moonlight

Directing

Winner: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

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Actor in a Leading Role

Winner: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Actress in a Leading Role

Winner: Emma Stone, La La Land

Actress in a Supporting Role

Winner: Viola Davis, Fences

Actor in a Supporting Role

Winner: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Moonlight

Original Screenplay

Winner: Manchester by the Sea

Animated Feature Film

Winner: Zootopia

Foreign Language Film

Winner: The Salesman (Iran)

Salesman

Documentary Feature

Winner: O.J.: Made in America

Cinematography

Winner: La La Land

Film Editing

Winner: Hacksaw Ridge

Production Design

Winner: La La Land

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Costume Design

Winner: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Makeup and Hairstyling

Winner: Suicide Squad

Original Score

Winner: La La Land

Original Song

Winner: “City of Stars,” La La Land

Sound Editing

Winner: Arrival

Sound Mixing

Winner: Hacksaw Ridge

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Visual Effects

Winner: The Jungle Book

Animated Short Subject

Winner: Piper

Live Action Short Film

Winner: Sing

Documentary Short Subject

Winner: The White Helmets

Oscar Predictions 2017: Winners

2017oscarsOK, so I totally ran out of time, so let’s just cut to the chase. Here are my predicted winners and the ones that I wish would win. I missed a lot of films this year, so my wish-list is limited.

lalalandBest Picture

Winner: La La Land
Wish: La La Land

Directing

Winner: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Wish: Tie between Chazelle & Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Actor in a Leading Role

Winner: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Wish: Casey

emmastonestageActress in a Leading Role

Winner: Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Wish: Emma Stone, La La Land

Actress in a Supporting Role

Winner: Viola Davis, Fences
Wish: I don’t care

Actor in a Supporting Role

Winner: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Wish: Don’t care

Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Moonlight, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney
Wish: Arrival, Eric Heisserer

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Original Screenplay

Winner: Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
Wish: Manchester

Animated Feature Film

Winner: Zootopia
Wish: Kubo and the Two Strings

Foreign Language Film

Winner: The Salesman (Iran)
Wish: No opinion as I haven’t seen any of these

oj_madeinamericaDocumentary Feature

Winner: O.J.: Made in America
Wish: Again, no opinion

 

Cinematography

Winner: La La Land, Linus Sandgren
Wish: Arrival, Bradford Young

Film Editing

Winner: La La Land, Tom Cross
Wish: La La Land

Production Design

Winner: La La Land, Davis Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
Wish: Arrival, Patrice Vermette and Paul Hotte

Costume Design

Winner: Jackie, Madeline Fontaine
Wish: La La Land, Mary Zophres

Makeup and Hairstyling

Winner: Star Trek Beyond, Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo
Wish: ?

Original Score

Winner: La La Land, Justin Hurwitz
Wish: La La Land

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Original Song

Winner: “City of Stars,” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Wish: “Audition (The Fools who Dream),” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Sound Editing

Winner: Arrival, Sylvain Bellemare
Wish: Arrival, Sylvain Bellemare

Sound Mixing

Winner: La La Land, Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, and Steve A. Morrow
Wish: La La Land

Visual Effects

Winner: The Jungle Book, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Dan Lemmon
Wish: Kubo and the Two Strings, Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean, and Brad Schiff

piperAnimated Short Subject

Winner: Piper
Wish: Don’t care

Live Action Short Film

Winner: Silent Nights
Wish: ?

Documentary Short Subject

Winner: The White Helmets
Wish: The White Helmets

The Best Picture Reviews: La La Land & Lion

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I wrote my thoughts yesterday on the two first nominees, read them here!  Now it’s time for the next two.

LA LA LAND (2016)

Directed by Damien Chazelle
Written by Damien Chazelle
Starring Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling

Synopsis (IMDb): “A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.”

I’ve been waiting to see Chazelle’s next move since seeing Whiplash about exactly two years ago. Whiplash blew me away, I couldn’t move after seeing it for the first time, that strong was the impact. And then I heard he is going to do a musical with the best on-screen couple of today. OMG! I only saw La La Land 10 days ago, so you can imagine how my expectations have been rising and rising. The film just couldn’t be THAT good. How unbelievably happy I’m to say it so was. This movie was made for me. Once a dreamer, always a dreamer.

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La La Land is up to record-tying 14 Oscars and is loved by the cinema-going audience (IMDb Top-57 of all-time) as well as critics (Rotten Tomatoes score of 93%), so it would be silly to bet against it. There’s a chance that the Academy will spread the love but I still would predict that La La Land will be the big winner of the night. As I wrote yesterday, I haven’t seen all nominees yet but I hope that Emma Stone will get her Oscar, she’s dazzling. I love her anyway, so I might be a bit biased but to me she was perfect. And I’m not complaining about Ryan Gosling either but his characters in other movies are similar to Sebastian, so it is a fact he can do those roles. I did love Sebastian’s passion. Passion is the key to living, in my mind. Whatever it is, you need to have passion.

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When it comes to technical categories, I would predict that La La Land will take home at least editing as Chazelle knows how to use editing when intensifying the story (see Whiplash right now if you haven’t seen it yet!). It has a great chance with costume design (Jackie is, though, a real competitor), cinematography (the first scene!), production design (that is, of course, over-the-top) and sound mixing as it is a musical. There shouldn’t be competition in music categories, Justin Hurwitz should be shoo-in for the score (although I have to say, we have had great music in films this Oscar season) and I bet “City of Stars”
will win the best song, I hope it’ll be “Audition” because I like it more but I’m putting my money on “City of Stars”. Also they should stage a pier on the stage at thedamien_chazelle_a_p
Oscars where Gosling starts to sing “City of Stars”, Stone joins him and after his part he leaves and Stone performs “Audition”. I’d love that.

Like I wrote yesterday, I absolutely worshipped Arrival and its director Villeneuve. And I think I’m in love with Damien Chazelle. He is SO talented. I wish they would share the best director Oscar. As it’s not likely to happen, I bet Chazelle will win this time. His work is so purely a work of passion. And as it seems, everyone is in love with La La Land and chasing your dreams, especially in Hollywood, so I also predict that La La Land will win the best picture Oscar.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

lionposterLION (2016)

Directed by Garth Davis
Written by Luke Davies
Starring Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham & Abhishek Bharate

Synopsis (IMDb): “A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.”

Before going to see Lion, I was told I should take a towel with me because tissues wouldn’t be enough. True enough, Lion makes you cry. You have to be one hard boiled egg, if it doesn’t. And what is the coolest point here, it’s a true story. And it’s told well.

Sunny Pawar stars in LION
Photo: Mark Rogers

To me Lion is a bit like The Imitation Game of two years ago. Very well-made, with everything working but there’s nothing spectacular. The Imitation Game was up for 10 Oscars, Lion is up for six and I agree, there is that much difference in quality. I did enjoy Lion a lot but not as much as I thought I would. I absolutely loved the music, if Oscar goes that way, I’m not complaining. I did like the cinematography a lot too, so they could win that too. It’s a hard category to predict this year. Overall Lion is beautiful to look at and listen, it breaks your heart a bit and is tremendous accomplishment for a first time director.

devpatel_hotWhich I don’t like with the Academy again is that, that Dev Patel is in the lead role. Yes, Sunny Pawar, who was robbed by the way, might have more screen-time but the story is about how the adult Saroo found his family. And still they placed Patel in supporting actor category. I like that he is recognised but those category breaches still annoy me.

Lion should be watched as it’s a good story of never giving up (although that obsession was getting to my nerves a bit). I have a lot of friends who liked it much more than I did. Maybe I just don’t get the importance of your roots or something. Anyhow, good film and even though I think it’ll go home empty handed on Sunday, I wouldn’t mind giving it a statue or two.

Rating: **** 

P.S. Dev Patel has gotten so hot!