The Broken Circle Breakdown
Felix van Groeningen’s raw Belgian melodrama, which was in the official competition at last year’s Sydney Film Festival, took its time finding a local release. I figured a year would be long enough to get over that viewing, that I would be able to see it clearly second time round and not through a choking flood of tears. Wrong, I bawled my eyes out again at the first sight of Elise (Veerle Baetens) and Didier’s (Johan Heldenbergh) 7-year-old daughter Maybelle (Nell Cattrysse) – her hair melting away in a cancer hospital ward.
No spoilers here, we’re told early on what happens, but the chronology of the couple’s story is all jumbled up. We flit all over the place as wild-haired bluegrass musician Didier and free-spirited tattoo artist Elsie meet, fall in love, break-up, have a daughter and face her illness, every episode in their tangled emotional lives signalled with a rapturous or a sad song from Didier’s troop of foot-stomping hipster hillbiillies (in Belgium!) and Elsie’s stunning, hauntingly beautiful vocals.
Only rarely does the tragedy overwhelm the joy. Then it’s over-wrought, sure, and you are hereby warned… Pack some tissues.
MA15+ from May 15.
We don’t get to see many Romanian films, and those that do get a local release are often pretty challenging. Calin Peter Netzer’s film is no exception. Winner of the highly prized Golden Bear at the 2013 Berlinale, Child’s Pose is an intense and gripping psychological drama about a mother’s dysfunctional love for her only son.
Luminita Gheorghiu plays Cornelia, a garishly over dressed and well-connected nouveau riche matron, who spots a chance to reassert control over her adult son Bardu (Bogdan Dumitrache) after he’s involved in an accident that killed a poor family’s son. Drunk, probably… speeding definitely, Bardu is a surly passive creep. No matter, Cornelia methodically sets about making sure he walks free.
Subtle and devastating in equal measures, Netzer is mounting a damming critique of Romania’s post-Soviet corruption and its emerging class divide. Everything is for sale here, even justice. The last scene in the icy slush of the victim’s village will leave you chilled to the bone.
M15+ from May 15.
Thanks to Palace Films we have 5 double in-season passes to give away.
Sunshine On Leith
Now here’s a Scotland we don’t often see!
Our view of that country has so often been shaped by Irvine Welsh’s druggies, thugs with incomprehensible accents and bloated corpses fished out of the Clyde that a sunny, happy, Edinburgh that we might actually want to visit is a shock. Especially one where almost everyone bursts into song and dance at every opportunity.
Yep, just like Bollywood, and Dexter Fletcher’s magical romantic melodrama featuring the songs of The Proclaimers proves to be a toe tapping, heart warming treat – from start to finish. Aye, it’s bonnie!
PG from May 22.
Balmain gal Rose Byrne shows that she’s game enough for absolutely anything – even letting her breasts explode. Now before you go screaming from the room, that scene is pretty funny…
While Nicolas Stoller’s Hollywood comedy has all the ingredients (lewd jokes, relentless crudity and Zac Ephron) that normally make the genre a stinker, this one decidedly isn’t.
Rose and Seth Rogen play new parents uneasily settling into suburban life – ridiculously pleased when they spot a gay couple inspecting the house next door. Hey, we live in a cool neighbourhood! Unfortunately the eventual tenants are a raucous college fraternity, and the couple are quickly drawn into an absurd and escalating tit-for tat neighbourhood stoush.
It’s very silly, very sweary, but I defy anyone not to laugh out loud. Often – call it a guilty pleasure.
MA15+ on now.
We are well used to Apple’s product placement in movies, less so an unabashed ad for Twitter. All you need for run-away business success, it seems, is a one of their accounts – and a 12-year old who understands the difference between public and personal tweets.
Temperamental chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreaux) doesn’t, and is in all sort of strife after a slanging match with an influential restaurant critic (Oliver Platt) goes viral. Carl is quite a cook though… so hot he can even get Scarlett Johansson (in a small part) into the cot just with a plate of pasta. Heck, even the toasted cheese sandwich he makes for his son (Emjay Anthony) looks great.
But his family life is a mess, and he’s going stale by working for an unadventurous corporate restaurant boss (Dustin Hoffman), who fires him after the public stoush.
Favreaux wrote and directed Chef, and stacked it so high with tasty ingredients that it can’t fail to please. Watch for the hilarious cameo from Robert Downey Jnr, who by providing Carl with a food truck, sets him up on his road to redemption.
M15+ from May 8.
Reviews – Russell Edwards