LFF 2017 Highlights Part 1

It is just about half way through the BFI London Film Festival, and there have been some great films shown. Here are some LFF 2017 highlights from the first week of screenings…

LFF 2017 Highlights – Unmissable

Call Me By Your Name

Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is undoubtedly one of the most romantic films of the year. Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chamalet, the film offers wonderful storytelling, beautiful imagery, and great performances. READ MORE

Mudbound

Dee Rees’ Mudbound is a film with heart. The screenplay has a poetic quality, and is ably backed up by Rees’ directing and performances from the talented cast. READ MORE

Brigsby Bear

Dave McCary’s feature debut perfectly balances comedy with a sweet and sincere tale. Brigsby Bear is very, very funny without diminishing its dark premise. Co-writer and star Kyle Mooney stands out in particular. READ MORE

LFF 2017 Highlights – Best of the Rest

Spoor

Agnieszka Holland’s wonderful Spoor blends mystery and comedy with a thriller to create a rather memorable film. With a great central performance from Agnieszka Mandat, Spoor is a very enjoyable film. READ MORE

Wonderstruck

Todd Haynes’ adaptation of Brian Selznick’s novel is the right kind of whimsy. Transporting the audience to the New York of the 1920s and 1970s, Wonderstruck features some great performances. READ MORE

Ingrid Goes West

Aubrey Plaza shines as a social media-obsessed young woman in Ingrid Goes West. Matt Spicer’s debut is achingly contemporary and a lot of fun. READ MORE

Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent blends technical achievement with an engaging narrative. Marvel at the hand drawn animation in the style of Vincent Van Gogh, whilst learning about his final days. READ MORE

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Noah Baumbach delivers yet again, with the brilliantly The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). The film features an enviable cast, and includes Adam Sandler’s best performance for years. READ MORE

The BFI London Film Festival runs from 4th-15th October 2017. See the full programme here.

Film Review: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

With The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), Noah Baumbach delivers another great comedy drama. Strong performances and excellent writing combine to generate a absorbing picture. 

Harold Meyerowitz is a retired sculptor and a dysfunctional father. His adult children try to organise an exhibition of his work, but are hindered by their relationships with each other, Harold’s wife Maureen, and Harold himself…

Writer-director Noah Baumbach tackles family dynamics with his latest film. The Meyerowitz Stories centres on ageing sculptor and his three middle-aged children. Viewers get to explore various dynamics as the film progresses, although the action is focused on Harold and his two sons.  

The relationship between the family is revealed at a good pace. Baumbach is careful not to reveal too much too early. Yet it works well that viewers hear about the prodigal son before he appears on screen. What also functions well is that the audience see interactions between Harold and his sons separately, before these siblings share screen time. 

Characters in the film are developed in a natural way. Viewers are presented with initial archetypes, but these develop in a convincing manner, and are fleshed out beyond any stereotype. The writing is fantastic; characters converse in a natural manner. There is welcome humour among the serious conversation and dramatic realisations. The film could have done with more of Jean; there is certainly more to this character than the snapshot which is revealed.

Themes of extended family disagreements and a father with shortcomings play out well. The Meyerowitz Stories reaches a conclusion that feels realistic, rather than a forced ending. Dustin Hoffman is great, as are Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller. Yet it is the women who intrigue in supporting roles. Emma Thompson is wonderful, and Elizabeth Marvel stands out as Jean.

Noah Baumbach delivers yet again, showing a continuing talent for astute writing and assured directing. 

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is being screened at BFI London Film Festival in October 2017. The film will be released in selected cinemas and on Netflix on 13th October 2017.