The Worst Person in the World
I've really loved getting back into cinemas this year, and my favourite film I've seen on the big screen is definitely The Worst Person in the World.
I went home from uni to watch this film with my mum. We have a little tradition of going to see films about womanhood. In the past, this has included Lady Bird (2017) and Little Women (2019). After The Worst Person in the World, we both left the cinema in awe.
The film follows Julie (Renate Reinsve), a woman at the cusp of her thirties. Her age is about halfway between me and my mum now. It is a testament to the film that we both felt touched by Julie's story. Joacham Trier has created a film that feels both fresh and timeless. He subtly introduces contemporary themes of the climate crisis, MeToo, and even the COVID-19 pandemic. It's hard to summarise the plot succinctly because what Trier excels at is bringing art and magic to everyday life. Trier lifts universal experiences of love and loss onto the screen and makes you want to keep watching.
There are sequences of real cinematic beauty that are on a level with the film's powerful dialogue and plot. My personal favourites are the scenes between Julie and her lover Eivind (Herbert Nordrum). From sharing a cigarette, to running through a city frozen in time, to feeling distant in a tiny apartment, Trier charts their love story through various cinematic ingenuity. In a world of cinema saturated by CGI, watching the almost theatrical stunt of a street full of people standing still felt refreshing.
While the film is funny, political and sexy, it packs its most effective punches in its portrayals of grief. The film is split into twelve chapters, and the final quarter of the film is stunningly emotional. It doesn't mean much, because my mum and I cry at everything, but we both sobbed through the last half hour.
The phrase "life-affirming" is thrown around a lot in film discussion. However, I left the cinema after The World Person in the World feeling affirmed. Trier's film is a comforting real portrayal of a world where everything feels out of control and heading for crisis. Go and see it whenever it's ready to stream!
Picking a favourite film from the Courier year is undoubtedly one of the trickier decisions as a sub-editor, from The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent to Scream to The Batman there has been a vast range of excellent and entertaining cinema screenings. But an absolute standout for me this year has to be Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic, Dune.
Sci-fi as a genre has a history of producing some absolutely incredible films, whilst also boasting some of the more… interesting stories shall we say. But there’s no doubt that Dune falls into the first category, running at 2 hours 30 the film is sensible in its decision to tackle just one part of the huge story to avoid creating a baffling pace. What is most impressive about the film, however, is Villeneuve’s attention to the visuals of the film, combined with Greig Fraser’s immaculate cinematography and a Hans Zimmer score. There are moments of explosive action coupled with quite intimate scenes a few moments later - the feeling that we are witnessing something monumental is ever-present throughout the film. Despite its long run-time, the world created by Villeneuve is so in-depth that there’s always something new to notice when re-entering the world of Arrakis.
Of course, the cast of this film is almost as epic as the story itself. Timothée Chalamet’s Paul is empathetic as he tries to balance the weight of being ‘The One’, whilst Zendaya is as ever commanding of the screen. For me, a standout relationship in the film was that between Chalamet’s character and his father Duke Leto Atreides, played by Oscar Isaac. The two actors portray their father-son dynamic with tenderness and pride, which only makes the death of Isaac’s character that more emotional later. But it is Rebecca Fergurson who steals the show as Lady Jessica, her desire to keep her son safe whilst protecting the legacy of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood masterfully shown to be in conflict.
With a second part already greenlit, and even more outstanding additions to the cast, there is no doubt that the legacy of Villeneuve’s Dune will be felt for years to come in the film industry.
While being a film sub-editor this year I have had the chance to see all manner of films, and thankfully not all of them have been Morbius.
From the sci-fi epics, Everything Everywhere All At Once and Dune to the superb character studies in Drive My Car, Flee and Sonic The Hedgehog 2, the cinema has been a haven of great movies. But my favourite is one that sadly never graced the big screen when it really should have, Turning Red.
Many cowered in disgust at the mere mention of periods, boy bands and the style of animation, but I couldn’t help but adore every little bit of this film. The complex relationship between Meilin and her mother is the heart and soul of Turning Red, creating an experience that I won’t soon forget and some much-needed insight into the intricate hierarchies of this family while highlighting the cultural differences between Canada and China.
Following the beautiful animated short Bao, director Domee Shi truly gets a chance to shine with Turning Red, with a raw and honest throwback to the early 2000s. From the outfits to the music, the vibes on display are absolutely immaculate and create a safe and comfortable, but realistic, environment to discuss some important topics that aren’t talked about enough.
All of the characters are fun, goofy and lovable, with a heartwarming emphasis being given to supporting and looking after each other. Never before have I seen such a diverse set of costumes and styles blended together to create a friendship group I could only wish I was cool enough to join. This is thanks in part to the superb animation work done by Pixar. Rarely have I seen Pixar let loose quite this much and it is clear just how much fun they had with this. Facial expressions, movements and effects create such a unique and charming experience that me not liking this film was never a real possibility.
Disney should have released Turning Red on the big screen, and not doing that was a huge mistake that I hope they rectify in the future with a sequel (please?).