Emily Beecham (Hail, Caesar!) brings a star turn as Daphne in Peter Mackie Burns’ film from writer Nico Mensinga, the first feature for both writer and director. Daphne’s checked out of relationships with loved ones in favour of partying too hard and waking up in strangers’ beds. When she witnesses a violent crime, the ensuing therapy sessions prompt her to evaluate her approach to life. The strong supporting cast includes Geraldine James (Back To Life) as Rita, Daphne’s mum.
From the UK comes this 2017 film from writer/director Deborah Haywood about mother and daughter Iona and Lyn (Lily Newmark and Joanna Scanlan). Their life in a new town gets off to a bumpy start, with Iona finding it hard to fit in at school, and Lyn to find a true friend. They retreat into fantasy and lies to cope, and face shifts within their own close relationship.
Don’t Talk To Irene
Michelle McLeod shines as teenager Irene. Sick of being overweight and friendless, she determines to leave loser-hood behind and become a cheerleader. But her plan is thwarted when she gets suspended on her first day back at school in Park, Ontario. Along with bullies, Robbie and Sarah, she’s got two weeks of community service at the local retirement home ahead of her. Geena Davis also stars as Irene’s spiritual guide. Wonderful.
Nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2006, Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver (Return in English) stars Penélope Cruz as Raimunda. When her parents die, Raimunda, along with her sister Sole and teenage daughter Paula, returns to her home village after a long time away. This masterful film involves an act of violence, a return from the grave of mother, Irene (the magnificent Carmen Maura) and the comedy of life as family secrets unfurl.
Shy Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is a dreamer, with a rich imagination lushly brought to life by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Her discovery of a young boy’s box of treasures hidden for decades sparks an impulse to reunite it with its owner, prompting her to become a benevolent force to those around her. When she meets fellow dreamer Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz), she faces the possibility of realising her most deeply hidden desire: love. A gorgeous film.
Let The Sunshine In
Two words: Juliette Binoche. The French star makes this film, directed by Claire Denis (High Life), in which she plays Parisian artist Isabelle, who, since her divorce, bounces from one flimsy relationship to the next, including with her ex. Afraid of being alone, Isabelle constantly chases fulfilment outside herself without working out what it is she actually wants.
50 Is The New 30
Well-known actor Valérie Lemercier directed, co-wrote (with Sabine Haudepin) and stars in this film with an all-too familiar premise: husband leaves wife for younger woman. The twist here is that the wife, Marie-Francine, moves back in with her parents. They revert to treating their 50-year-old daughter as a child, and as she attempts to reassemble her life amidst the bizarreness of her situation, an unexpected new love unfolds, bringing its own comedy of errors. The whole cast makes this slice of modern-day Paris a delight to watch.
How To Break Up With Your Douchebag
Turning the tables on the match-making storyline, this film from Mexican director Gabriela Tagliavini stars Mariana Treviño as Amanda, who is in the business of orchestrating rather elaborate break-ups for unhappy women. When her sister Natalia (Camila Sodi) starts dating a grade A douchebag, she takes it upon herself to turn her eye instead to the much more acceptable, Leo (Christopher Von Uckerman), who is adamant she can’t force love as easily as she believes.
Coming 14 November: A Date For Mad Mary
Mary (Seána Kerslake) needs a date for her best friend’s wedding. Trouble is, she’s just been released from prison and doesn’t exactly have anyone in mind. She sets off on a series of dates, determined to find someone to take along and save some face. Winner of Best Film at the Irish Film and Television Awards, director Darren Thornton’s 2016 film is endearingly charming.