THE ELECTRIC LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN (TIFF2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

If you have cats in your home as part of your family, you have Louis Wain to thank. He was the 19th century illustrator of cat images and he introduced Victorian London to the wonder and joy of cats. A socially inept, eccentric soul, Wain created paintings and sketches of anthropomorphized felines, though many of his images were of his beloved pet cat Peter. In Will Sharp’s The Electric Life of Louis Wain Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, along with Andrea Riseborough as one of his five sisters, and Claire Foy as his beloved Emily. The film is charming, sad, has great performances, and is visually sumptuous, with some of the best costuming and makeup you’ll see this year. It has such undeniable heart, you’ll be sure to forgive it being a little overly sentimental.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 4, 2020: LUXOR

Centering on a powerful performance by Andrea Riseborough, Zeina Durra’s dreamy, introspective romantic drama Luxor explores what-ifs and second chances as its characters explore ancient Egyptian ruins, finding their way to a place of connection and understanding. Riseborough plays Hana, a British doctor who’s come to the city of Luxor to rest and recuperate from the stresses of her efforts as an international aid worker.

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LUXOR – Review by Nikki Baughan

Andrea Riseborough gives a luminescent performance in Zeina Durra’s contemplative, hypnotic Luxor, her talent and poise radiating through the suppressed trauma that leaves her character, Hana, seemingly teetering on the edge of complete breakdown. A medic and aid worker, Hana is in the Egyptian city of Luxor on a much-needed break between assignments, desperately trying to drown out the horrors she has witnessed by immersing herself in the beauty of this spiritual, historical city.

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LUXOR – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

London-born Arab writer-director Zeina Durra’s Luxor is sort of a meditative throwback to the ‘60s era of art-house cinema when movies were allowed to not always fill in the plot blanks for audiences. That opened the door for viewers to insert their assumptions as to what is going on with the main character. In this case that would be Hana (never-not-watchable Andrea Riseborough).

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BURDEN – Review by Martha K Baker

One of the many aspects of “Burden” worthy of attention is that it’s set in 1996. Writer/Director Andrew Heckler based the script on a report in real life about Klu Klux Klansmen. Not in the 19th century or even in the 1950s when all those Confederate statues were erected to intimidate African-Americans. 1996.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 21, 2020: THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

Help comes from unexpected places when needed the most in The Kindness of Strangers, Lone Scherfig’s heartfelt drama about a handful of people whose lives intersect amid the bustling anonymity of New York City. Centering on the plight of a woman who flees an abusive marriage with her two young sons, the narrative shows how circumstances — and life itself — can turn on a dime.

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THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS – Review by Cate Marquis

Zoe Kazan and a fine ensemble of actors play characters on the margins of life in Manhattan in Danish writer/director Lone Scherfig’s The Kindness of Strangers. The narrative has a stream of dark comedy as it follows the lives of a mixed bag of struggling strangers.

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THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

The Kindness of Strangers‘ capable cast of actors is topped by Zoe Kazan as Clara, a young mother who runs away from Buffalo to New York City to save her sons from their father, an abusive cop who gets off on violence. With little means to support herself and no safe haven that she can afford for her kids save for libraries, she does what the title says – she reaches out to average citizens who just happen to be do-gooders.

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THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS – Review by Sheila Roberts

Written and directed by Scherfig, the New York City drama features an impressive ensemble cast that includes Zoe Kazan, Andrea Riseborough, Bill Nighy, Caleb Landry Jones, Jay Baruchel and Tahar Rahim. Scherfig attempts to write an authentic story that will resonate with audiences, including those that may have never experienced such bleak situations in their own lives.

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THE DEATH OF STALIN – Review by Martha P. Nochimson

You can’t get a better deflector for these dark days in the United States than a serio-comic farce set in the now defunct Soviet Union in 1953, as the mammoth country was given an opportunity to emerge from the rigid structure of Stalin’s tyranny. The Death of Stalin (2017) directed by political satirist Armando Ianucci is such film, a comic tour de force about the anarchy hidden within despotism.

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