A VERY BRITISH SCANDAL – Review by Susan Granger

Based on a true story, A Very British Scandal delves into the notorious sex scandal that riveted Britain in 1963. It revolves around arrogant, ambitious Margaret Whigham, born in Scotland to a self-made Scottish textiles millionaire who moved the family to New York when she was 14. After several highly publicized romances during her London debutante season and a disastrous first marriage that ended in divorce, scheming socialite Margaret (Claire Foy) married Ian Campbell (Paul Bettany), Duke of Argyll, in 1951. Already unhappy in his second marriage, dissolute Ian was intrigued not only by Margaret’s beauty but also by her generous dowry.

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THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN – Review by Susan Granger

While Academy voters are weighing Oscar votes for his performance in The Power of the Dog, Benedict Cumberbatch made another 2021 film that somehow slid under the radar. Narrated by Olivia Colman, this story revolves around British artist Louis Wain (1860-1939) who became famous for his brightly colored drawings of anthropomorphized cats. He was also an eccentric who believed electricity could transform everyday life.

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THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN – Review by Diane Carson

That director Will Sharpe establishes a spirited, often amusing approach to Louis Wain’s life adds to the entertainment of his roller coaster fortunes without minimizing the hardships he encountered: his adored wife Emily dying young of breast cancer, his sister Marie suffering from schizophrenia, nightmares of drowning, coping with underemployment and social scandal while struggling to lift his mother and five unmarried sisters out of increasingly impoverished circumstances, failing to copyright his images, and his escalating mental illness.

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FIRST MAN – Review by Susan Granger

Based on James R. Hansen’s First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong (2005), the film is adapted as a docudrama by Josh Singer and cinematographer Linus Sandgren, focusing on Apollo 11, America’s first successful manned mission to the moon, making good on Pres. John K. Kennedy’s vision for the future and “a giant leap for mankind.”

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FIRST MAN – Review by Brandy McDonnell

The movie’s pre-release controversy over Chazelle’s decision not to include a scene of Armstrong planting an American flag on the Moon – which in the context of the film would be incredibly out of place – illustrates just how valuable what the filmmaker is doing with “First Man”: allowing us to know one of our most revered American icons as someone who was a man, first.

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