ALL OF US STRANGERS – Review by Diane Carson

Seldom has a film so elegantly combined eerie mystery with awkward love merging into passionate embrace, plus an immersion into a childhood through reentering one’s parents’ lives. That’s the deft high wire act writer/director Andrew Haigh pulls off in All of Us Strangers. Based on Taichi Yamada’s 1957 novel Strangers, the film explores important relationships amidst perplexing memories.

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ALL OF US STRANGERS (Middleburg FF 2023) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Imagine a narrative that is the cinematic version of Brian Eno’s Ambient 1, and you might be able to grasp the emotional, atmospheric examination of grief that is All of Us Strangers. A dream cast featuring Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell and Claire Foy star in writer/director Andrew Haigh’s film is a living ghost story, based on the 1987 Japanese novel Strangers, by Taichi Yamada. Haunting and dreamlike, the cinematography, production design, performances and pacing all conspire to create a sort of out of body experience, even as it breaks your heart.

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FOE – Review by Nadine Whitney

For a film that clocks in at 110 minutes Foe feels like it is bending time and creating something that goes on interminably. Every time you think “Here is a good end point,” it just keeps going to wring out even less emotion and surprise. What Garth Davis and Ian Reid have created is a blank page that tries to say something but, in the end, says nothing. Foe reaches for commentary on the contemporary anxieties of artificial intelligence, corporations becoming governments, the inevitability of a dead planet, but lands on a story about an unhappy couple. Foe is a misfire in almost every aspect and both numbingly dull and ridiculously obvious.

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THE DECEIVED – Review by Susan Granger

Duplicity, dishonesty and betrayal are essential ingredients in the four-part British series appropriately called The Deceived. The psychological thriller begins in Cambridge as Ophelia Marsh (Emily Reid), a young English major, develops a crush on flirtatious Michael Callahan (Emmett J. Scanlan), a University lecturer who is married to successful novelist Roisin Mulvery (Catherine Walker). In the throes of their torrid affair, Michael suddenly disappears, so Ophelia tracks him to his tiny hometown of Knockdara in Northern Ireland, where she discovers a tragedy has occurred. Apparently, Roisin was killed in a fire that destroyed part of their huge ancestral home.

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GOD’S CREATURES – Review by Nadine Whitney

God’s Creatures is akin to a Greek Tragedy relocated to a contemporary Irish fishing village. From the first frame of the film, we are steeped in foreboding which is added to by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans’ strident score that is reminiscent of a Greek chorus in its use of stark strings, percussion, and a chorus of women throat singing. The unnamed village is not a postcard version of the Irish coast, instead it is dark and forbidding. A tight-knit community that is bound together by the whims of the sea and the grind of trying to make some kind of a living doing back breaking work.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 6, 2023: AFTERSUN

A woman’s sun-drenched recollections of a childhood holiday with her troubled father become poignant and melancholy as she revisits them two decades later in Scottish writer/director Charlotte Wells’ impressive feature debut Aftersun. Boasting excellent, authentic performances from stars Paul Mescal and young newcomer Frankie Corio, the film builds viewers’ empathy as it explores the nature of memory and the main characters’ loving but bumpy father-daughter relationship.

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AFTERSUN – Review by Martha K Baker

Aftersun is definitely a film to be seen in the cradle of a theater — without distractions and with Marshall McLuhan’s understanding of movie-going. The intimacy engendered by a theater supports the intimacy of Charlotte Wells’ work, of her theme, of her camera. Aftersun modeling the French approach to domestic dailyness, requires allowance for full appreciation.

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AFTERSUN – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

When do you see your parents as relatable people? When you’re a parent yourself, or just mature enough to take in their troubles and insecurities? Aftersun, the powerful feature debut from writer-director Charlotte Wells, stirs these thoughts in a way that’s tender, honest, and subtly devastating. It’s a heartfelt, affecting portrait of a father-daughter relationship that lingers in the mind afterward.

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NORMAL PEOPLE – Review by Martha K Baker

Sally Rooney’s novel, Normal People, makes an impressive transition to film. Rooney created the characters of Connell and Marianne, teens in a small town in Ireland, Through the acting of Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal on film, the two characters magnetize and engage and instruct.

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