Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Snook’

Intimate Portrayal Of Loss

Pieces of a Woman

Director: Kornel Mundruczo

Cast: Vanessa Kirby, Ellen Burstyn, Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Snook, Benny Saldie, Iliza Shlesinger, Molly Parker

This film is only available on the streaming service Netflix

Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo’s immersive portrayal of a mother giving birth is the spell bounding opening scene of Pieces of a Woman which premiered at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival in which its star the supremely talented Vanessa Kirby walked away with the Best Actress prize at Venice.

Pieces of a Woman is brilliantly acted and beautifully directed.

The Emmy nominated star of The Crown, Vanessa Kirby is amazing as the pregnant Martha, an affluent young woman who decides along with her partner Sean wonderfully played with trapped aggression by Shia LaBeouf (Fury, Charlie Countryman) to have a home birth with the assistance of a midwife Eva played by House of Cards star Molly Parker. This controversial scene was shot with minimal editing and is graphic, visually impressive and holds the emotional crux of this film together.

Director Kornel Mundruczo cleverly uses a cinematic metaphor of a bridge being built over the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts, which is in fact the bridge that construction foreman Sean is working on before his life completely unravels.

To add more emotional depth to the film, legendary and Oscar winning actress Ellen Burstyn (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) is cast as Martha’s wealthy and controlling mother Elizabeth. The confrontational scene at the end of the film between Burstyn and Kirby is electrifying and a master class in screen acting.

Kirby tautly presents an intimate portrayal of loss, of a woman who gives birth and then loses everything and how her male partner and family react in different ways to this unprecedented tragedy. Vanessa Kirby’s nuanced and deeply complex approach to such a challenging portrayal of a woman will definitely earn her Golden Globe and Oscar buzz during the 2021 awards season.

Ellen Burstyn is equally superb as the mother Elizabeth who watches her daughter disintegrate emotionally and thinks that money and legal justice is the only solution to assuage the guilt and loss.

Succession star Sarah Snook has a brief role as a callous Boston lawyer who becomes too involved in Martha and Sean’s legal case. Pieces of a Woman is a superb film, beautifully written and absolutely riveting, an intelligent insight into a deeply taboo subject matter, which has not been tackled frequently in world cinema.

Pieces of a Woman gets a film rating of 8 out of 10 and is highly recommended but not for sensitive viewers.

We Own The Stars

The Glass Castle

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Cast: Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Ella Anderson, Sarah Snook, Max Greenfield, Josh Caras, Iain Armitage, Sadie Sink, Brigette Lundy-Paine

Hawaiian director Destin Daniel Cretton’s cinematic adaptation of the bestselling novel by Jeanette Walls The Glass Castle is an emotional and intricate exploration of a dysfunctional family’s unconventional upbringing.

The Glass Castle stars Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson (The People vs Larry Flynt, The Messenger) as the patriarch Rex Walls and Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (21 Grams, The Impossible) as his wife Rose Mary. Oscar winner Brie Larson (Room) stars as the grownup second daughter Jeanette who would eventually turn from gossip columnist writer to bestselling author of the novel from which the story is based.

Ella Anderson plays the younger version of Jeannette who has to deal with her poverty-stricken parents as they grow up in the backwater of West Virginia, often living in abandoned buildings and scrounging for food money.

At the film’s outset it is clear that Jeannette has a special bond with her heavy drinking, big dreaming and often delusional father Rex who keeps promising her and her siblings (two sisters and a brother) that he is going to build the family a glass castle from which they can glimpse the stars through.

As the narrative shifts between New York in 1989 and her poverty stricken upbringing in rural West Virginia, The Glass Castle intelligently explores the concepts of sustainable living, of living off the grid and repudiating the city driven Capitalist work ethic which defines contemporary America.

The mother Rose Mary is too busy painting to watch her children, never mind feed them while the father Rex is too busy drinking to actually get a proper a job to support his family. Woody Harrelson gives one of the best performances of his screen career as Rex Walls as he manipulates and misguides the family into believing that he has the capacity to actually take care of them.

Eventually the young Jeannette says to her siblings that they have to make their own plans to save up money and leave West Virginia for more lucrative work opportunities in New York.

Fast forward to 1989, where the older Jeannette, beautifully played with nuance and comprehensive emotional intelligence by Brie Larson who as a successful journalist on the verge of marrying her straitlaced accountant fiancée David played by Max Greenfield (The Big Short) suddenly has to contend with her parents squatting on the Lower East Side in an abandoned building.

Josh Caras, Brigette Lundy-Paine and Sarah Snook (The Dressmaker, Steve Jobs) play the other siblings Brian, Maureen and Lori.

The best scenes in The Glass Castle are between Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson and while the film is an emotional joyride, it does not give the parents any social accountability for the way they brought up their children through neglect and apparent starvation.

The Glass Castle is a fascinating exploration of familial responsibility or lack thereof and the emotional effects that irresponsible parents decision making can have on their unsuspecting children.

The drama gets a film rating of 8 out 10.

The highly underrated Woody Harrelson should received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his performance as Rex Walls in the upcoming 2018 Academy Awards.

The Glass Castle is recommended viewing for those that enjoy a tense, sometimes difficult family drama where the children are told to pick stars while they are starving on earth.

Outback Red is Back in Fashion

The Dressmaker

dressmaker

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse

Cast: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Caroline Goodall, Sarah Snook, Kerry Fox, James Mackay

Australian director Jocelyn Moorhouse (How to Make an American Quilt) returns to form in this hilarious and bitter-sweet black comedy The Dressmaker combining the talents of Oscar winner Kate Winslet (The Reader) and Oscar nominee Judy Davis (A Passage to India, Husbands and Wives) in a story about Tilly Dunnage who returns to the Australian outback to avenge the townsfolk who sent her packing when she was 10 years old, blaming her for the death of a young boy.

The Dressmaker is The Scarlett Letter with style, as Winslet delivers a fabulous performance as the tenacious dressmaker Tilly Dunnage who returns to Dungatar, Australia in the earlier 1950’s after a sojourn in Europe’s fashion capitals to look after her mother, Mad Molly Dunnage, wonderfully played by Judy Davis. The onscreen chemistry between Winslett and Davis makes this tale of sweet revenge crackle with delight and is a testament to a brilliant stroke of casting.

The male leads are played by Australian actors Liam Hemsworth (Paranoia, Empire State, The Hunger Games trilogy) and Hugo Weaving recapturing some of that cross dressing glamour which he become so famous for in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as the closeted cop Horatio Farrat.

dressmaker_ver3

Based upon the novel by Rosalie Ham, The Dressmaker is a brilliant and biting black comedy about the drawbacks of small town life: ignorance and the dangers of gossip as a weapon of exclusion.

Tilly Dunnage, always looking absolutely gorgeous despite being in the dusty Australian outback, slowly wins the hearts of the female population of the small town as she becomes a prized dressmaker transforming the plain grocer’s daughter Gertrude Pratt into a gorgeous visionary now known as Trudy.

As Tilly manages to re-establish a bond with her mad mother Molly, she also befriends the local hunk Teddy McSwiney played by Hemsworth and in one hilarious scene she even has to take his measurements for a new suit while he stands shirtless in front of Tilly and her mad mother.

With artistic references to Sunset Boulevard and South Pacific, The Dressmaker is an absolute gem of a film, a wicked black comedy which truly shows Winslet in her most glamorous role to date, taking on the town and correcting the wrongs of the past. Judy Davis is brilliant as the mad mother Molly who confronts her own demons in a town which has long since cursed her.

The rest of the cast include Sarah Snook as the fickle Gertrude Pratt, Kerry Fox (Shallow Grave) as the evil Beulah Harridiene, Caroline Goodall as the pushy mother Elsbeth and the dashing James Mackay as the eligible William Beaumont.

The Dressmaker is highly recommended viewing, a superb and fashionable way to spend two hours and indulge in all the antics of a small town drama filled with mystery, panache and revenge.

 

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