True Story

SWEET COUNTRY

Director
Warwick Thornton
(SAMSON AND DELILAH)

Stars
Ewen Leslie, Sam Neill, Hamilton Morris, Bryan Brown, Matt Day, Gibson John, Tremayne Doolan, Trevon Doolan, Natassia Gorey-Furber and Thomas M. Wright

This acclaimed Australian film from director Warwick Thornton, a Camera d’Or Award Winner at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival for his debut feature film SAMSON AND DELILAH, has and continues to gain strong recognition at home and abroad. Its most significant award wins from late last year include the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Film, the Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival and it was also the Special Jury Prize Winner at the Venice Film Festival.

Inspired by a true story that was told to Thornton by the grandfather of co-writer David Tranter, SWEET COUNTRY is filmed and set in the Australian outback during the 1920s. Local landowner and Christian preacher, Fred Smith (Sam Neill) lends his indigenous farmhand, Sam (Hamilton Morris) to ex-war veteran and cattle station owner, Harry March (Ewen Leslie), for a couple of days to help him finish works on his land. As Harry’s behaviour turns increasingly threatening and soon becomes violent towards his helper, Sam fatally wounds his aggressor in an act of self-defence. Knowing all too well that he is in major trouble for killing a white man, Sam and his wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey-Furber) go on the run. Seeking justice for the death of Harry is Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown), who scours the dry and dangerous landscape in scorching conditions in pursuit of the wanted man.

Lo and behold, what we have here in SWEET COUNTRY is a masterful work of striking authenticity and raw storytelling. Our country has home-grown a healthy number of films that boast these characteristics, but rarely at the consistently high standard so prevalent in this ‘meat-pie’ Western.

Filmed in the Macdonnell Ranges near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, director and cinematographer Warwick Thornton stunningly photographs the breathtaking locations, making them just as prominent as the films’ characters. Of particular note, the entire sequence that depicts Sergeant Fletcher‘s pursuit of the wanted man is abundant with images beautiful enough to hang on your lounge-room wall. As far as cinematic productions go, they don’t get much better than SWEET COUNTRY. This exceptional work of dramatic art is one that all Australians can and ought to take pride in, even though its story isn’t one anyone can be proud to tell.

Moving across now to its narrative, viewers should be aware that SWEET COUNTRY is told at a relatively gradual pace and features a high number of more drawn-out scenes. Once accustomed to its slower tempo and as major incidents occur, an overwhelming sense of appreciation for the fine storytelling and top-notch quality of movie-making on display sets in and stays. A highly commendable attribute of the writing involves the multi-dimensional characterisation of the film, which removes all instant labelling away from its protagonists and antagonists. At the same time, the themes of this movie are never sacrificed or lost, proving SWEET COUNTRY to be an all-round stand-out motion picture our country has produced in recent years.

4 ½ stars

Sweet Country

Viewer Discretion
MA15+ (Strong violence)

Trailer
SWEET COUNTRY

Moviedoc thanks Transmission Films for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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THE POST

Director
Steven Spielberg

(THE BFG, LINCOLN, JURASSIC PARK)

Stars
Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Matthew Rhys and Bruce Greenwood

If the engrossing biographical story being chronicled in Steven Spielberg’s THE POST isn’t enough to warrant your purchase of a ticket to this film, then the pairing of Hollywood greats Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, together for the first time in a feature film, is guaranteed to broaden its appeal should it be needed. They certainly do not let down.

Written for the screen by SPOTLIGHT writer Josh Singer, this political drama is a true account of the race against time faced by The Washington Post to expose a governmental cover-up that lasted for three decades and spanned four U.S. Presidents. As the newspaper’s first female publisher, Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) is thrust into a compromising position when secret documents pertaining to the cover-up are handed into her office. With rapid competition coming from The New York Times, Kay and her hard-working editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) must make several agonising decisions that place the careers of its employees on the line and will ultimately make or break Kay’s newspaper business.

THE POST
Before THE POST begins its examination of the pages that reveal the shocking government secrets, there is plenty of background the script wishes to cover that details the current position of the newspaper and its main shot-callers. Though it is necessary to have this understanding prior to the big news story being outed, the narrative is overloaded with dialogue (and not all of it is of a need-to-know basis) and results in the film becoming quite weighty and tougher to fully absorb. Appreciation for the film is not lost throughout this first half and once the central plot, along with the lead performances from Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks become the focus herein, THE POST is immediately more engrossing to watch.

This is Steven Spielberg’s fifth feature film with Tom Hanks and first with Meryl Streep. Personally, I had hoped for more from this promising film collaboration and storyline. The experienced director isn’t able to iron out some of the clunky creases in the film’s script. Nonetheless, THE POST is not to be missed by ardent fans of the genre and/or by those who possess a strong interest in this topic.

3 ½ stars

ThePost_Pic#06
Viewer Discretion
(Coarse language)

Trailer
THE POST

Moviedoc thanks entertainment One for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2017 including the highlights and some low-lights

Hello everyone

Firstly, a huge thank you for every review you have read, liked, shared, commented on and even chatted to me about in person. Thanks to you and your incredible support, I had a very productive year of film watching and reviewing!

In total, I got to see and review 141 films officially released in 2017 alone, which is 15 more than I was able to see at this same time in 2016! Of these, more than 25 movies received a 4 star rating from me, so I have compiled a ‘Best 25’ list this year as well as a ‘Worst 5’.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading this post. I also hope you take away a handful of films to see that you’ve never previously heard of or watched!
As always, please get in touch to share your views and best & worst movies.

I look forward to your continued support and interaction in what will be an even bigger and busier year of film watching & reviewing in 2018, where I hope to review a monthly classic and bring a review or two fresh from my attendance at film festivals!

Moviedoc 🙂

Moviedoc’s Best 25 Movies of 2017

25
WONDER
4 stars

A beautiful and meaningful story featuring a great cast that will make you cry a little but feel plenty of joy

24
PADDINGTON 2
4 stars

As sweet as marmalade itself and a sequel that’s every bit as good, if not better, than the first film. Paddington is no one-trick teddy bear!

23
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
4 stars

Arguably and in my opinion, this is the best rendition of Batman, ever! Utterly hilarious at times and scores Moviedoc’s #1 spot (just!) for best family film of 2017!

22
INGRID GOES WEST 
4 stars

All at once, this is an uncomfortably funny, dreadfully saddening and downright frightening exposé of just how far a social media addiction and obsession can take a person. Highly recommended!

21
GIFTED
4 stars

A splendid drama! One of the most underrated films of 2017! If you haven’t already, it is time to unwrap this true gift of a film.

20
THE BIG SICK
4 stars

A broadly appealing and wholly accessible romantic comedy-drama that’s not only based on a true story but even stars one of the real-life subjects; stand-up comedian, actor and writer, Kumail Nanjiani

19
BABY DRIVER
4 stars

It’s been a solid year for heist movies and this is the best of them. Flawless car chase sequences and an outstanding music score drive this slick and unique heist film. Hopefully BABY DRIVER won’t lose popularity due to co-starring Kevin Spacey, for it absolutely deserves to be seen.

18
MISS SLOANE
4 stars

Enthralling! I’ve been told those who are into TV Series “House of Cards” will want to see this. Sorry for making another connection to Kevin Spacey!

17
FENCES

4 stars

Can be a challenge to watch, especially during the first half. However, Denzel Washington’s Oscar-nominated performance playing a character he’s portrayed on Broadway 114 times before and Viola Davis’s Oscar-winning acting are so stellar in a movie that becomes absolutely riveting

16
THE BEGUILED
4 stars

Beautifully filmed and impeccably acted by one of the stand-out ensemble casts of the year. An excellent film from director Sofia Coppola.

15
MOONLIGHT
4 stars

You haven’t seen a story quite like the one told in MOONLIGHT before. This is the Best Picture Winner at the 2017 Academy Awards earlier this year. Brave and heartfelt storytelling.

14
MOUNTAIN
4 stars

A majestic and breathtaking cinematic experience. The Australian-made MOUNTAIN is 2017’s best documentary feature.

13
THE SALESMAN
4 stars

This is acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s (THE PAST, A SEPARATION) latest feature film. An immaculately devised and strongly executed domestic drama with a gripping finale.

12
DUNKIRK
4 stars

A minimalist war film that draws maximum anxiety and exacts a claustrophobic stranglehold over its viewers from start to end thanks largely to the ever-present score by Oscar-winning film composer, Hans Zimmer

11
HOUNDS OF LOVE
4 stars

A similar breed of film to 2011’s SNOWTOWN, HOUNDS OF LOVE is an unnerving and tense dramatic thriller that showcases an outstanding music score, cinematography and acting. The best Australian film of 2017.

10
LAND OF MINE
4 stars

An Oscar-nominated foreign film taking place after WWII, which depicts a group of very young German POWs sent to Denmark to clear thousands of hidden land mines. Stomach-turning tension is guaranteed.

9
LOVING VINCENT
4½ stars

The first-ever oil painted feature film about Vincent van Gogh is never solely limited to its visual capabilities. A sublime film.

8
SILENCE
4½ stars

Martin Scorsese’s passion project and three-hour epic is a bravely written piece that is expertly penned toward the most religiously devout. A near-masterpiece.

7
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
4½ stars

The PLANET OF THE APES film series is now officially one of my favourites, if not my absolute favourite film franchise. Combines mesmerising CGI and cinematography with a powerful and relevant story that has a strong message for humankind. I just love it!

6
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
4½ stars

The storytelling structure, its well-studied account of key themes and the honesty of its writing and character depiction achieves MANCHESTER BY THE SEA A-grade status.

5
PERFECT STRANGERS
4½ stars

What happens when a close-knit group of friends meet for dinner and share every text message, email and phone call received with one another? You will want to find out! Italian comedy PERFECT STRANGERS features one of the most cleverly conceived and carefully-considered screenplay’s of the year.

4
GET OUT
4½ stars

Movies as genius as this are few and far between. Masterfully and studiously crafted, intelligently written and flawlessly executed, GET OUT is a broadly appealing and accessible horror film at heart that functions as a menacing mystery invite to all. If you haven’t already, please accept your invitation, pronto! You will not regret it.

3
LADY MACBETH
4½ stars

Witness one of the most conceivably written, daring and exciting character transitions seen in recent years. This fierce, fearless and electrifying film turns the period drama genre on its head in near flawless fashion and is the breakout film for its star, Florence Pugh, who is scintillating. Unmissable!

2
DOWNSIZING
5 stars

The last film to receive 5 stars from me was THE HUNT in 2013! Well, it had to take something very special to break that lengthy drought. Simply put, you have never seen a film quite like DOWNSIZING before. It is extraordinary. I admired its continual refusal to yield to any form of mainstream cinema convention, despite being a mainstream-friendly release. It also unearths one of the truest & most beautifully conceived and written characters I’ve seen in any film. Hong Chau (from acclaimed TV Series Big Little Lies) is just superb as Ngoc Lan Tran, in what is one of this year’s acting highlights. Absolutely amazing in every way imaginable.

THE BEST MOVIE OF 2017

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME 
5 Stars

It took me until February, 2018 to see this sensual and picturesque masterpiece. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME not only met my high expectations, it by far exceeded them. This slow-building drama set in northern Italy during a hot summer in 1983 is so precise and honest yet powerfully subtle in its articulation of the complex emotions and sensitive scenarios involving its characters. It takes some time for the forthcoming relationship to develop, yet does so organically and in complete avoidance of all stereotypes. By the time its extraordinarily moving and meaningful finale arrives, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME simply overwhelms. The ultimate meaning and key themes of this beautifully produced film earn an equal amount of appreciation as the stunning production, stand-out score and immaculate performances achieve.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Moviedoc’s Worst 5 Movies of 2017

5
BAYWATCH
1 ½ stars

Not even the charismatic Dwayne Johnson can save BAYWATCH from drowning in its own dump.


4
CHIPS
1 ½ stars

Unfunny. Sexist. Nasty. Avoid!


3
JIGSAW
1 star

Jigsaw may do a Jesus by way of his resurrection, however he is certainly no saviour to the eternal damnation sentenced upon the viewer in this dreadful reboot. Now, please stay dead.

2
SNATCHED
1 star

Goldie Hawn should have remained in her fifteen-year movie hibernation. Terrible movie.

THE WORST MOVIE OF 2017

T H E  M U M M Y
1 star

An unacceptable first instalment in Universal’s rather forced Dark Universe film series that seemingly exists purely to rival Marvel and the like. Yet sadly, THE MUMMY still grossed $409.1 million worldwide, which means there’ll probably be more to come. A score of just 5.5 on IMDB and 16% on Rotten Tomatoes more than justifies why this utterly dreadful reboot is the worst of the 141 movies released this year I have seen.

Still with me? Good! Now we go to some highlights and low-lights of 2017

The acting stand-outs of 2017

Timothée Chalamet in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Hong Chau – DOWNSIZING
Florence Pugh – LADY MACBETH
Danielle MacDonald – PATTI CAKE$
James Franco – THE DISASTER ARTIST
Emma Booth and Stephen Curry – HOUNDS OF LOVE
Naomie Harris – MOONLIGHT
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis – FENCES
Aubrey Plaza – INGRID GOES WEST
Teresa Palmer – BERLIN SYNDROME
Barry Keoghan – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Sonia Braga – AQUARIUS
Oscar Isaac – SUBURBICON
Hugh Grant – PADDINGTON 2
John Lithgow and Salma Hayek – BEATRIZ AT DINNER
Nicole Kidman – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER & THE BEGUILED
Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar – LION
Pierre Niney and Paula Beer – FRANTZ
Brian Cox – CHURCHILL
Jessica Rothe – HAPPY DEATH DAY
Tiffany Haddish – GIRLS TRIP
Sally Hawkins – MAUDIE
Hugo Weaving – JASPER JONES

Films to add to your watch list not in my Best 25 from 2017

PATRIOT’S DAY
LIFE
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
THEIR FINEST
A MONSTER CALLS
COLOSSAL
LION
COLLATERAL BEAUTY
SUBURBICON
THE BOSS BABY
BERLIN SYNDROME
LOGAN
THE DISASTER ARTIST (But watch clips from YouTube of THE ROOM first, if you haven’t already seen it!)

Most over-rated and/or most disappointing films from 2017

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
JACKIE
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
VICTORIA & ABDUL
THINGS TO COME
THE SNOWMAN
A CURE FOR WELLNESS
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
LOVING
A SILENT VOICE
ALONE IN BERLIN
TRESPASS AGAINST US
GOLD
THE FLORIDA PROJECT

The highlights in films from 2017

Hong Chau’s character in DOWNSIZING
The uniquely hand-painted visual experience in LOVING VINCENT
The extreme slo-mo’s in HOUNDS OF LOVE
The development of the relationship and the first intimate scene between Elio and Oliver in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
The atmosphere and the battle sequences staged in DUNKIRK
The real footage of a tightrope walk between two mountain peaks in MOUNTAIN
The final dinner table scene in THE BEGUILED
The car chase sequences and the music score in BABY DRIVER
A reaction from a particular water monster in THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
The birthday party sequence & guest arrivals in TONI ERDMANN
The visual and aural experience in GHOST IN THE SHELL
The dialogue and its delivery from Tiffany Haddish in GIRLS TRIP
The final action sequence on the ice in Iceland in THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

Best horror film

GET OUT
(A clear stand-out, however if that’s not scary enough for you, then try out IT COMES AT NIGHT, HAPPY DEATH DAY and IT. None of these films managed to scare me though!)

Best crying film
A MONSTER CALLS
(Even though its title suggests this belongs in the above category! Not the first time director J.A. Bayona has claimed this spot at the end of the year. THE IMPOSSIBLE was his previous movie)

Best lol film

PERFECT STRANGERS
(However, if you want something more mainstream, then try THE DISASTER ARTIST and GIRLS TRIP)

Best love story or romantic film

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Most unique/strange films

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
MOTHER!

Highest Grossing Film – Worldwide

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
($1.26 Billion)

Highest Grossing Film – In Australia

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 
($36.3 Million)

Compiled by Moviedoc
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THE TEACHER (UCITELKA)

Director
Jan Hrebejk
(DIVIDED WE FALL, COSY DENS)

Stars
Zuzana Mauréry, Martin Havelka, Peter Bebjak, Tamara Fischer and Richard Labuda

From her very first day at a suburban school in Czechoslovakia during the early 1980’s, school teacher Mrs Drazdechová (Zuzana Mauréry) establishes her intentions to add an unorthodox subject to her curriculum. As class commences, Mrs Drazdechová orders every student to openly share what each of their parents do for a living. It is only the beginning of how the manipulative teacher, who is seeking personal gain, will cause division among fellow staff, her students and their parents.

Meanwhile, after some time, the school’s principal decides to organise a secret meeting with the parents of the controversial teacher’s pupils to have them sign a petition for the expulsion of Mrs Drazdechová, who has high connections within the Communist party.

Click to view full size image

Inspired by a true story, THE TEACHER demonstrates its two scenarios simultaneously from start to end. Throughout the opening minutes, it can be troublesome trying to pinpoint the separate timelines depicted due to the unclear editing. Don’t let that be of any ongoing concern to you though for once the structure is properly formed, THE TEACHER is a fascinating lesson in the art of manipulation. The appalling behaviour and practices of Mrs Drazdechová and the significant toll that her unacceptable actions have on her students is strongly and appropriately recognised. Labelled as a black comedy, THE TEACHER does derive some humour (mostly) from the bickering of parents. You see, Mrs Drazdechová does have support from parents whose kids grades are (cough; enhanced thanks to duties being served to her) where they need to be. Thankfully, THE TEACHER doesn’t allow any inappropriate, out-of-place amusement to interfere with what is a story that ought to be taken just as seriously as the commanding display of acting from Zuzana Mauréry as Mrs Drazdechová. Her final scenes are especially a stand-out!

3 ½ stars

Click to view full size image

Viewer Discretion
(Mature themes, coarse language and brief nudity)

Trailer
THE TEACHER

Moviedoc thanks Palace Films for the preview screening pass provided to watch and review this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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BREATHE

Director / Andy Serkis (Feature film debut)
Stars/ Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Tom Hollander and Hugh Bonneville

The name Andy Serkis is most recognised for portraying on-screen characters Caesar and Gollum in the fantasy adventure franchises PLANET OF THE APES and LORD OF THE RINGS, respectively. Now, Serkis makes his first foray into the business of movie directing with UK romance drama BREATHE

Based on a true story, it is 1958 when Robin Cavendish (Oscar nominee Andrew Garfield) is managing his tea-broking business in Kenya and is suddenly paralysed from the neck down after being diagnosed with polio. Advised that he has just three months left to live, which he’ll need to do within the confines of a hospital bed with wife Diana (Claire Foy) and newborn son Jonathan by his side, Robin defies all medical odds by exceeding his given life expectancy and becoming a pioneer for the disabled in the process.

Once its obligatory background formalities are ticked off its checklist in a hurried first act, the screenplay by William Nicholson (writer of GLADIATOR, LES MISÉRABLES and EVEREST) hones in on the period of Robin’s ailment that most mentally and physically challenges him. Quite pleasingly, audiences never become too burdened or bogged down by the suffering being endured daily by Robin. Instead, more emphasis is devoted to the friendly banter shared among Robin and Diana’s close family and friends. Although it might be somewhat of a relief that BREATHE is not the heavy film it could have been, it is still a disappointingly laborious one that will take much longer to find your sympathy than you would like. In all honesty, its touches of levity can be quite a bore to sit through. Moreover, the true worth of Robin and Diana’s story is being unnecessarily delayed. While Andy Serkis shows good intent in his aspirations to bring a more cheerful ring to the saddening elements of Robin’s story, he does struggle with the meandering writing and getting their combined execution right.

Thankfully, at roughly the mid-way mark of this two-hour movie, the real inspiration to be told in this story finally surfaces. Once at the fore, BREATHE makes a significant improvement that you will hopefully be willing to hold your breath for.

3 stars

On a special side note, the real-life Jonathan Cavendish is one of several producers working on BREATHE.

Viewer Discretion/ M (Mature themes)

Trailer / BREATHE

Moviedoc thanks Asha Holmes Publicity for the invite to the screening of this film.

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FINAL PORTRAIT

Writer & Director / Stanley Tucci (BIG NIGHT, THE IMPOSTORS)
Stars/ Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Sylvie Testud, Clémence Poésy and Tony Shalhoub

FINAL PORTRAIT is an enlightening retelling of Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti’s (Geoffrey Rush) numerous attempts to complete his portrait of young American writer and art admirer James Lord (Armie Hammer). It is 1964 in Paris when Alberto makes the flattering offer to draw his friend James, who is spending a few days traveling the French capital. Told from James’s perspective, FINAL PORTRAIT follows the trials and tribulations of both men as the neurotic artist battles both artistic and personal problems in this biographical comedic drama.

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From even his childhood years during the early 1900’s, Alberto Giacometti showed a keen interest in art. The life events of this post-impressionist artist that occurred from then to the timeline depicted here have surprisingly never been told in a feature length picture. However, they certainly deserve to be (and hopefully will be) someday.

Better known for his on-screen work, writer/director Stanley Tucci focuses on several days in the latter part of Giacometti’s life, in this moderate yet finely made film. Content with regularly and casually observing rather deeply exploring any of its themes and characterisations, FINAL PORTRAIT is an undeniably lightweight film that has tendencies to sometimes meander and linger in repetitiveness. Nevertheless, those who fancy this edited snapshot will take a liking to Tucci’s piece of work courtesy of the director’s firm handling of a basic story and peculiar characters, the reasonable pace over a short duration that has been applied and a terrific performance from Geoffrey Rush (who knew he could speak French!?). These aspects of the film keep this UK production a serviceable one.

3 stars 

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Viewer Discretion/ M (Mature themes, coarse language and nudity)

Trailer / FINAL PORTRAIT

Moviedoc thanks Transmission Films for the screening invite to this film.

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VICTORIA & ABDUL

Director/ Stephen Frears (FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS, PHILOMENA, THE QUEEN)
Stars/ Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Michael Gambon, Tim Pigott-Smith and Eddie Izzard

It took over one hundred years from its occurrence for this true story to be publicly told. Based on the 2010 novel of the same name by Shrabani Basu, VICTORIA & ABDUL is a comedic drama about an unlikely friendship that came to fruition.

Reprising the role she previously played in the 1997 biographical drama MRS BROWN, Judi Dench again reigns supreme as Queen Victoria during the late 1800s. Bored and disinterested in her daily affairs, her Royal Majesty takes an instant liking to a tall, dark and handsome servant named Abdul (played by Ali Fazal), who broke the number one rule to not make eye contact with his Queen. Over several years, Abdul, who is a Muslim Indian, and Queen Victoria, begin to form a close bond, which causes quite a stir among her family members and close associates. 


The honest story of a genuinely remarkable and beautiful friendship is tarnished by the intrusion of an unnecessarily high supply of seemingly fabricated and overplayed farce.

Right from her opening scenes, where her Royal Majesty is having a royal snore before sloppily dining a meal fit for a king, VICTORIA & ABDUL deliberately enforces an undeniably featherweight tone. These frequently occurring, yet infrequently funny scenes go too strong on the slapstick, diminishing much of the inherent class and worthiness befitting of the film. Its misguided attempts to be too comedic become less of a problem as the developing friendship gains the traction it deserves. The screenplay’s realisation and revelation of the value that Abdul is bringing to his Queen’s life, who is having her mind opened just as much as her heart, and Judi Dench’s excellent performance do keep VICTORIA & ABDUL as close to the film experience it ought to be, even if sometimes the trajectory of their friendship is a little unclear, and even rather uncomfortable. As they grow closer, the nature of this film transitions to become a more poignant one, yet without much of the effect intended.

Though undoubtedly let down by its screenplay written by Lee Hall (writer of BILLY ELLIOT and WAR HORSE), VICTORIA & ABDUL is also a major disappointment from an experienced director who has previously handled a regally depicted movie with sophistication and class in the past.

2 ½ stars


Viewer Discretion/ PG (mild themes and coarse language)

Trailer / VICTORIA & ABDUL

Moviedoc thanks Universal Pictures for the pass to watch and review this film.

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