Nikki Baughan

Nikki Baughan is a London-based freelance film critic and features writer. Formerly editor of both Film Review and movieScope magazines, Nikki is currently contributes to various print and online publications, including Screen International, BFI, The List and Film Divider.

 

Articles by Nikki Baughan

 

93QUEEN — Review by Nikki Baughan

93Queen poster“Fasten your seat belt and let’s move,” says Hasidic Jewish woman Rachel ‘Ruchie’ Freier early on in 93Queen, and you would be wise to follow her advice. The subject of Paula Eislet’s fascinating documentary is a one-woman dynamo, a fiercely religious Jewish wife and mother who also happens to be a lawyer with a dream of becoming a civil court judge. Ruchie is also determined to set up an all-female group of volunteer EMT’s, named ‘Ezras Nashim’ (Women For Women) to serve Brooklyn’s closeted Hasidic Borough Park neighbourhood after the all-male force, Hatzolah, refused to allow women to join. Continue reading…

read more

LEAVE NO TRACE — Review by Nikki Baughan

With films like Winter’s Bone and documentary Stray Dog, Debra Granik has proved herself to be a masterful explorer of life on the margins of society. Her latest work, Leave No Trace – an adaptation of the novel by Peter Rock – again concerns itself with individuals attempting to exist outside societal norms and, in doing so, proves to be a moving study of love, loss and what it means to truly belong. Continue reading…

read more

WOMAN WALKS AHEAD — Review by Nikki Baughan

woman walks ahead posterThe exploration of history through the female experience remains a rare thing in filmmaking – and perhaps nowhere more so than in the Western genre. Director Susanna White’s Woman Walks Ahead boldy takes on this overtly masculine cinematic landscape with this sensitive portrayal of real-life Native American rights campaigner Catherine Weldon, who travelled from 1880s New York City to the Dakota plains in order to paint legendary Chief Sitting Bull and subsequently became embroiled in their fight to regain control of their lands. Continue reading…

read more

YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE — Review by Nikki Baughan

lynne ramsay you were never posterTo say that Lynne Ramsay has a powerful understanding of film may be an obvious statement, given that she’s made several critically acclaimed, award-winning features and shorts. Yet her approach to filmmaking goes beyond a mastery of the craft to an innate appreciation of cinema’s immersive power. She is skilled at bending the rules, at ensuring that every on-screen element, whether seen or heard, is authentic to her characters, and at compelling her audience to become an active participant in the story. Nowhere is that clearer than in her new film, You Were Never Really Here. Continue reading…

read more

OUTSIDE IN — Review by Nikki Baughan

outside in posterFor her first feature in four years, filmmaker Lynne Shelton (Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister) turns in a bittersweet exploration of time lost, opportunities missed and the redemptive power of human connection. Co-writing with star Jay Duplass, who takes the central role of ex-con Chris, struggling to readjust to life in his small home town of Granite Falls, Washington, after 20 year in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Shelton has created a film that finds dramatic power and emotional resonance in the smallest, most seemingly mundane of moments. Continue reading…

read more

DARK RIVER: A Sense of Place in British Cinema — Essay by Nikki Baughan

As the opening credits of Clio Barnard’s Dark River play over a black screen, we hear the landscape before we see it. An evocative chorus of wind, sea and birdsong provides an immediate sense of place, before we are suddenly thrust – in extreme close-up – next to a sheep being shorn by protagonist Alice (Ruth Wilson). It’s a visceral introduction not just to the film’s central character but to her intimate relationship with her surroundings, which will prove so central to her story. It’s also an early nod from Barnard that her world of muck and sweat will be far removed from the traditional big-screen image of Britain. Dark River is the latest in a run of recent British films in which the story is closely tied to the physical environment, creating an unusually intense sense of place. Continue reading…
motw 260

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dark River is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for July 6, 2018.

read more

Celebrating Women Cinematographers — Nikki Baughan reports

Rachel Morrison made history this year by becoming the first woman to be nominated for the best cinematography Oscar, for her raw, immersive work on Dee Rees’ Mudbound (2017). But that stellar achievement is something of a double-edged sword. It’s possible to be thrilled by her success, while also remaining frustrated that she’s the first woman to be so honoured by the Academy and that gender representation across all industry sectors remains so shameful. While the statistics are enduringly disheartening, women have been working tirelessly behind the camera since the earliest days of movies. So perhaps it’s time to replace that lament of ‘Where are the women?’ with a battle cry of ‘Here are the women’, to recognise and celebrate inclusivity were it exists, and to demand more of it. Continue reading….

read more

BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY — Review by Nikki Baughan

BOMBSHELL POSTERHedy Lamarr, the inventor… who knew?! What’s clear from Alexandra Dean’s engaging and eye-opening documentary is that everyone should be aware that the stunning actress from Hollywood’s golden age was also a keen scientist, responsible for the discovery of frequency hopping that first assisted military radiographers and is now a key component in everything from smartphones to WiFi. Continue reading…

read more

11/8/16 — Review by Nikki Baughan

11-8-16 posterA fascinating and well-crafted portrait of grass-roots democracy in action, 11/8/16 also offers a vibrant snapshot of a country defined by both its divided national politics and its unified local communities. On election day 2016, cameras travel the length and breadth of the United States, following voters, campaigners, commentators and activists from across the political spectrum as they gear up to find out whether Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump will be their next president. Continue reading…

read more

MOTHERLAND — Review by Nikki Baughan

motherland posterOnce a cloistered activity that went on behind firmly closed doors, childbirth has become a familiar activity on screen, from big-scale Hollywood drama to small-screen fly-on-the-wall factual series. Audiences are, however, unlikely to have experienced it as presented by Ramona S. Diaz’s Motherland, which follows the staff and patients of Dr Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in the Philippine capital of Manila – the busiest maternity ward on the planet which caters to the country’s poorest women and where childbirth is more of a group activity than an intimate moment. Continue reading…

read more

SPOTLIGHT September 2017: MaryAnn Johanson, FlickFilosopher.com Film Critic and Activist

awfjspotlightsmallsmallOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPioneering film critic MaryAnn Johanson celebrates the twentieth anniversary of her popular FilckFilosopher.com website this month; an impressive enough feat in itself. That MaryAnn has established herself as a distinct, influential and prolific feminist critic in a fiercely competitive and male-dominated industry, however, is testament not just to her boundless knowledge of and passion for film, but also of her extraordinary tenacity and determination. Continue reading…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, July 24 – July 30: EQUITY

Equity_27X40_OS_Final_061416.inddOpening July 22, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Equity, the new film from Meera Menon (Farrah Goes Bang) which shines a damning light on what it means to be female in the cut-throat world of Wall Street. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, July 17 – July 23: ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS THE MOVIE

absolutely fabulous posterOpening July 22, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, the big-screen adaptation of the hit UK TV show starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as fashionista best friends Eddie and Patsy Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, July 10 – July 16: GHOSTBUSTERS

ghostbusters posterOpening July 15, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Ghostbusters, the hotly-awaited new all-female reboot of the beloved sci-fi franchise from director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy). Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, July 3 – July 9: CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

captain fantastic posterOpening June 24, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Captain Fantastic, the sophomore film from actor-turned-filmmaker Matt Ross following his well-received 2012 directorial debut 28 Hotel Rooms. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 27 – July 3: THE BFG

BFG posterOpening June 24, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is The BFG, Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved childhood classic about the friendship between a small girl named Sophie and a kindly giant. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 20 – June 26: THE NEON DEMON

neon demon posterOpening June 24, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is The Neon Demon, the striking new film from Danish writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Only God Forgives) featuring an unforgettable central performance from Elle Fanning. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 13 – June 19: FINDING DORY

rsz_findingdoryposterOpening June 17, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Finding Dory, Pixar’s long awaited sequel to their 2003 hit animation Finding Nemo, which places Nemo’s forgetful blue fish friend Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) at the centre of the action Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 6 – June 12: NOW YOU SEE ME 2

rsz_now_you_see_me_2_posterOpening June 10, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Now You See Me 2, the sequel to 2013′s hit film which saw a team of master illusionists pull off audacious bank heists during their performances and share the proceeds with their audiences Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 30 – June 6: HONEYGLUE

honeyglueposterOpening June 3, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Honeyglue, the new film from young writer/director James Bird (Eat Spirit Eat) which sees a young girl face up to terminal illness with life-changing vigour Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 23 – May 29: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

AliceThroughTheLookingGlass posterOpening May 27, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Alice Through the Looking Glass, which sees Alice (Mia Wasikowska) return to the whimsical Wonderland and travel back in time to save her friend, The Mad Hatter (Johnnie Depp) Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 16 – May 22: MAGGIE’S PLAN

maggiesplan_poster copyOpening May 13, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Maggie’s Plan, the new comedy from celebrated writer/director Rebecca Miller (Personal Velocity, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 9 – May 15: MONEY MONSTER

money monster posterOpening May 13, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Money Monster, the new thriller from director Jodie Foster starring George Clooney as a financial TV host whose studio is taken hostage by an irate investor (Jack O’Connell) looking for answers. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 2 – May 8 – CAPTAIN AMERICA – CIVIL WAR

CivilWarposterOpening May 6, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Captain America: Civil War, the latest outing for Marvel’s patriotic superhero which sees a rift between two of the Avengers cause a major rift in the group – which could have dire consequences for the rest of humanity. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 25 – May 1: KEANU

324941id1_Keanu_AdvanceUnrated_27x40_1Sheet.inddOpening April 29, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Keanu, the new comedy from director Peter Antencio (TV’s Key and Peele) about two friends who attempt to recover a stolen kitten by posing as drug dealers for a street gang. Written by Alex Rubens and Jordan Peele, the latter of whom also stars alongside Keegan Michael Key (the popular pair, of course, play Fargo’s hilarious FBI agent duo), the screenplay makes the most of the comedic talent of the naturally funny pair, along with their super-cute feline co-star. Read on…

read more