doors creak, ectoplasm swirls and wind whistles through crumbling mansions in Personal Shopper (Icon, 15), however, Olivier Assayas’s sharp, glassy ghost story isn’t any unfashionable Victorian rehash. This story of grief taking either uncanny or deliriously illusory form amid the on foot ciphers of Paris’s movie star set is pretty the most modern imaginative and prescient of a phantom risk in latest memory – one which sees even a device as soulless because the iPhone become a capability conduit of religious presence.
As bespoke style buyer Maureen (Kristen Stewart) tries to blankly hold her lifestyles of 2nd-hand privilege in the wake of her dual brother Lewis’s demise, unsure apparitions interfere to shake her out her waking to sleepwalk. Is it Lewis? Someone or something else? Or as she enters eerie text-message exchanges with an invisible stalker, is the call surely coming from inner her head? Assayas thrillingly maintains all alternatives open, directing what looks as if schlock with the silken precision that steadily uncovers a messy tangle of emotional threads. As for Stewart, at the same time as wholly unconvincing as a person named Maureen, she’s in any other case coolly remarkable, shuffling terror, preference, and disaffection with an unmarried hand from scene to scene.
Marion Cotillard makes rare errors of judgment in Nicole Garcia’s dozy, heavily cologned melodrama
It’s rare for a film to bounce from UK cinemas to Netflix earlier than heading to DVD. Had I observed it turned into streaming, I’d have urged you to catch Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho’s totally superb Aquarius (Arrow, 18) weeks ago. Now, with this heady cinematic Caipirinha of social, sexual and political unrest available on all formats, you’ve no excuse to pass it. No overall performance final 12 months were given less of its due than Sônia Braga’s sensuous but razor-edged profession-crowner here. As a boho widow fighting teeth and nail to keep her otherwise emptied Recife rental constructing from corrupt assets builders, she’s as hard and as funny and as attractive as autumn-technology Bette Davis – whose very own philosophy that “vintage age ain’t no vicinity for sissies” receives a rigorous exercise in Mendonça Filho’s unfastened-flowing however livid movie.
‘Entirely superb’: Aquarius, starring the great Sônia Braga.
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‘Entirely first-rate’: Aquarius, starring the great Sônia Braga. Photograph: Alamy
Aquarius is obviously a greater rousing examine of feminist independence than Disney’s blockbusting self-remake Beauty and the Beast (Disney, PG) – the millennial embellishments of which have been lots vaunted in advance, however, mark a timid departure at great from fairy tale method. As expensively upholstered as may be, Bill Condon’s film is a slavishly designed cosplay exercising, an artificial paean to the utterly updated charms of the landmark 1991 animation that invents no virtues of its own. Even that glorious Ashman-Menken tune rating is rendered thinner and tinier right here, and no longer simply by using a hard-running Emma Watson’s reedy vocals: the entire movie is little more than capable karaoke. Still, it’s without difficulty the highest-grossing movie of the 12 months, so what do I understand?
I fall out of step with my important peers, in the meantime, on Terence Davies’s embalmed, parasol-twirling Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion (Thunderbird, 12). Davies, a proficient film-maker who wears his melancholic sensitivities on his sleeve, need to wear an excellent soulmate for Dickinson’s yearning, internalized artistry, but this Valentine is scuppered with the aid of its tone-deaf dabbling in an arch, overworked comedy of the faux-Austen faculty. It belatedly corrects route toward plummeting heartbreak, but an unpoetic stiffness persists.
A Quiet Passion trailer.
As you can see, it’s a gratifyingly generous week for lady-driven dramas, if not exactly a type one. Another lady suffers from steely clear up with The Levelling (Peccadillo, 15), an unwelcoming however auspicious debut from British newcomer Hope Dickson Leach that treads a few acquainted – and squidgily rain-sodden – turf with its rumbling tale of a younger trainee vet (Ellie Kendrick) returning to her father’s sick farm after her brother’s loss of life. Unlike Kristen Stewart in Personal Shopper, she isn’t actually haunted with the aid of her sibling, however, some thing’s off all of the identical. Dickson Leach bridges rural realism with a streak of classical tragedy.
Weepier and now not half of as formidable is Another Mother’s Son (Signature, 12), a 2nd world struggle story of doughty home-the front pluck, fronted by Jenny Seagrove, that might have been dredged up at any factor within the past 70 years. Marion Cotillard, meanwhile, makes unprecedented errors of judgment in Nicole Garcia’s dozy, closely cologned melodrama From the Land of the Moon (StudioCanal, 15). Playing a spirited French villager forced right into a loveless marriage to break out being sectioned, she emotes with all she’s got, however, can’t raise this even to crazy-delight reputation.
Netflix’s To the Bone, starring Lily Collins.
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‘Empathetic’: Netflix’s To the Bone, starring Lily Collins. Photograph: Gilles Mingasson/Netflix through AP
Back to Netflix, wherein their contemporary Sundance-premiered exclusive To the Bone is hardly more a laugh to observe, however, winds up rattling internally you. An unfussy, emotionally acute directorial debut for veteran Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer Marti Noxon, it tackles the awful concern of teen anorexia with an empathetic directness that dodges any maudlin disorder-of-the-week pitfalls, and showcases new, nervy complexities in famous person Lily Collins – as a wasted-away patient on her closing treatment, and final shred of wish. For a younger audience, it’s the thoughtful, immediately-up deal with this subject has too lengthy needed on film.
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