MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 16, 2023: PRETTY RED DRESS

Yes, a beautiful, sexy red sequined dress is at the heart of writer-director Dionne Edwards’ South London-set feature debut. But Pretty Red Dress is about much more than an item of clothing, no matter how fabulous it is. It’s the story of a man learning to embrace himself for who he truly is, a woman learning what “unconditional love” really means, and a family learning how to support each other in positive ways.

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PRETTY RED DRESS – Review by Loren King

This original, perceptive debut feature from writer-director Dionne Edwards is about many things: music, sexuality, gender presentation, Dads and daughters and, yes, the titular garment. Natey Jones, in a stunner of a performance, is Travis, a young man freshly released from jail for what seems a minor offense and reunited in working-class London with wife Candice (Alexandra Burke) and their tween daughter Kenisha (Temilola Olatunbosun). Travis is secretly a cross-dresser, and to the credit of the film and to Jones, this is treated neither as a joke nor as a heavy-handed lesson.

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Sadie Frost on QUANT and Culture – Nadine Whitney interviews

Sadie Frost is a renaissance woman. From her early years working as a model and actor to running her own fashion house and production companies, there are few hats Frost hasn’t worn. Sadie Frost started her career as a child actor and model. Her notable cinema roles as an actor have been as Lucy Westenra in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a role in Paul W. S. Anderson’s debut feature Shopping. In the 90s she established the first of two production companies she would run. One was responsible for the release of David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ, amongst other features. With Quant, Sadie emerges as a director with a distinct visual voice using her knowledge of fashion and youth culture to investigate the impact of swinging sixties icon Mary Quant. Nadine Whitney spoke with Sadie about what inspired her to move to the other side of the camera.

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QUANT – Review by Nadine Whitney

Sadie Frost, actor, producer, fashion designer, and now director is the perfect person to handle Mary Quant’s story. By the time she was filming Quant, Mary was in her nineties and unavailable for interviews. To tell Mary’s fascinating story she relies on archival footage, artistic reinterpretations (starring Camilla Rutherford as Quant), and a fascinating selection of interviewees that include musician Dave Davies (The Kinks), legendary fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, and people who worked with and knew Quant personally.

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RYE LANE (Sundance FF 2023) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Searchlight Pictures is missing a great opportunity by waiting until March to release Brit rom-com Rye Lane. This film is perfect viewing for Valentine’s Day, and sadly those in search of a charming romance to watch on the 14th will not even know what they’re missing. First-time feature director Raine Allen-Miller centers Black love in this color-drenched, Peckham-centric charmer that makes the South London neighborhood as much a lead character as the two who fall for each other on its streets. There’s so much fun and joy to be had in Rye Lane, it makes me grateful not EVERYONE has kicked the rom-com genre to the curb.

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HURT BY PARADISE – Review by April Neale

Star, writer and director Greta Bellamacina has made a lengthy, pretty film, Hurt By Paradise, that accomplishes two things. It will make the well traveled viewer miss London terribly, especially the glorious spring and summer months. It also reminds the viewer how important it is to have a close female friend at the ready, one who is always there for you.

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ETERNAL BEAUTY – Review by Sarah Ward

Sally Hawkins is one of the finest and most compelling talents currently gracing our screens. And, as demonstrated in Maudie and now Eternal Beauty as well, she’s one of the most quietly, touchingly expressive performers that audiences presently have the pleasure of watching — especially when it comes to characters who aren’t being afforded a voice, a path or their own sense of agency by the world around them.

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EDIE – Review by Sheila Roberts

It’s never too late to embark on an exciting adventure to fulfill a lifelong dream, even if it means taking a few risks along the way. In Simon Hunter’s inspiring Edie, Edith Moore (Sheila Hancock) regrets not climbing Mt. Suilven in the Scottish Highlands after her Dad proposed they do it many decades ago but her authoritarian husband disapproved.

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