A Palme d’Or winner and the skittish joy of Little Womenby Wendy Ide / December 8, 2019 / Leave a comment
Released on 26th December
Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved but slightly chintzy novel is stripped of its prissiness by writer and director Greta Gerwig. There’s a fizzing energy and, at times, a barely contained chaos to this spirited spin on the period drama. Saoirse Ronan is a fiercely forthright Jo March, but the real revelation is Florence Pugh, who deploys every last drop of her considerable personal charm and reclaims Amy March, always the most unsympathetic of the sisters. The result is a skittish joy which feels refreshingly contemporary in its approach.
The Personal History of David Copperfield
Released on 24th January
A Dickens adaptation might seem like an unlikely choice for Armando Iannucci, best known for firing volleys of profanity at political targets in The Thick of It, Veep and In the Loop. But this is no ordinary Dickens adaptation. It’s uncharacteristically mild mannered, certainly, for Iannucci, but the humour is biting and the simmering sense of injustice at the heart of the story finds a kinship with his earlier work. Colour-blind casting—Dev Patel, below, is terrific in the title role—and an inventively theatrical flourish in the staging add to the film’s bracing appeal.
Released on 7th February
The winner of the Palme d’Or at 2019’s Cannes Film Festival, Bong Joon-ho’s elegantly shapeshifting exploration of wealth divisions in Korea is quite simply superb. Navigating tonal shifts, which take in everything from riotous humour to pathos to shocking violence, and springing an audacious reveal on the audience halfway through, the film entwines the fates of a wealthy clan and the impoverished family that they employ. A breakout hit in the US, the film looks likely to achieve the same must-see status in the UK.