Home' LOTL : January 2006 Contents 17
Film Reviews By Belinda Hazelton
DIRECTED BY ANG LEE
This epic story of the love between two American farm-hands,
Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) is set in the
magnificent country of Wyoming, and spans 20 years, from the
boys’ first meeting in 1963. We witness the love between Ennis
and Jack developing and intensifying over the years, despite both
having other lives and responsibilities. After their initial time
together on Brokeback Mountain, and their subsequent realisation
of their feelings for each other, they become the mainstay in
each other’s lives. Thus develops a tragic tale of intense emotion,
desire and self-denial.
After some of the forward publicity, and with Heath Ledger
in a lead role, I approached this film with a little trepidation.
However, from the opening scenes, I was completely captivated.
This delicate, complex story is handled perfectly by Ang Lee and
his superb cast. To my great surprise, Heath Ledger’s performance
is subtle, completely believable and far better than any of his
Brokeback Mountain will change cinematic history. Lee and the
writers have taken a long-accepted genre, turned it on its ear,
employed the skills of major Hollywood talent and produced a
visually and emotionally stunning film that is one of the best of
2005, if not the decade so far.
DIRECTED BY NIALL JOHNSON
The central figure of this darkly humorous English film is
Gloria (Kristen Scott-Thomas), who is in a failing marriage to
Walter (Rowan Atkinson). They have two children who are both
experiencing difficulties as well; 17 year-old Holly is precociously
sexual and the younger Peter is a regular target for the bullies
at school. Rather than face her problems, Gloria looks to her
golf coach (Patrick Swayze) for some spice in her life and an
escape from her dull routines. Walter employs a housekeeper,
Grace (Maggie Smith), who seems to be the answer to all their
problems. However, Grace has a hidden past, and her problem-
solving skills definitely were not honed at the Mrs Beeton School
of Household Management!
While I found this film a little slow initially and the relationship
between Gloria and Walter to be quite unlikely, once Maggie
Smith was on screen, I was hooked! She is superb as the
duplicitous Grace, and Keeping Mum allows her to display her
comic talents to the hilt.
MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS
DIRECTED BY STEPHEN FREARS
In 1937, a wealthy, eccentric widow, Laura Henderson (Judi
Dench) bought the Windmill Theatre in London’s West End.
Although she knew nothing about running a theatre, she needed
a hobby, and employed a manager, Vivian Van Damm (Bob
Hoskins), to cope with the everyday running of the business. In
a quest for something different, Vivian devised the concept of
non-stop musical revue, using showgirls, singers and dancers.
Thanks to their immediate success, other theatres soon copied the
shows. To entice new audiences, Mrs Henderson persuaded the
straight-laced London censors to allow nude women on stage,
with the proviso that they pose completely motionless. Houses
This delightful film is entertaining, beautifully cast and shot, and
should have broad appeal. While telling a dramatic story, inspired
by true events, it is also a musical, with exquisite costuming and
sets. Ideal holiday viewing!
RUMOUR HAS IT
DIRECTED BY ROB REINER
This charming, funny film centres on Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer
Aniston), a 30-year-old woman, who is searching for her place
in the world after years of feeling that she just doesn’t belong. At
her sister’s wedding, her grandmother (Shirley MacLaine) reveals
that 30 years earlier, just before her own wedding, Sarah’s mother
disappeared with a mysterious young man. Around the same time,
a rumour circulated about a young woman who had escaped her
forthcoming marriage to run off with her boyfriend who had been
seduced by the woman’s mother. This then became the basis for
the film The Graduate. Sarah becomes obsessed with the notion
that this film is based on her own family, and she is determined to
uncover the truth. Innovative and well executed.
MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS
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