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The Hotel Splendide is on a remote and cold island, accessible only by a once-a-month ferry. It's a dark and dreary spa created by the late Dame Blanche, whose grown children now run the ... See full summary »
14-year-old György's life is torn apart in World War II Hungary as he is sent to a concentration camp where he is forced to become a man, and learns to find happiness in the midst of hatred, and what it really means to be Jewish.
Two men become entangled in a torrid love affair with the same woman. Pierre is Miriam's longtime lover. John is desperately searching for clues about his past when he and Miriam have a ... See full summary »
Kuki, a divorced Italian socialite, changes her life after a serious car crash. She accepts a marriage proposal from Paolo Gallmann, a man she doesn't know well, and she moves to Kenya with... See full summary »
Toots and May's marriage is one of Toots being dependent on his wife. Shortly after Toots and May arrive in London to visit with their grown children Bobby and Paula and their respective children, Toots falls ill and dies. Toots' death brings to the surface the underlying strain that has always existed between May and both of her two children, and the unhappy lives they have all led. Now specifically with Paula, May is disapproving of her relationship with a construction worker named Darren. Not only does May think his occupation makes him beneath Paula, he's also a married man. Darren is in an unsatisfying marriage but doesn't want to leave it if only because of his son. Even after May gets to know and like Darren, she still encourages Paula to break up with him. The issue is is that May herself has fallen in love with Darren, the two who begin a sexual relationship. What will ultimately happen between May and Darren also depends on Darren, who is floundering in his own life and ... Written by
A fierce, shockingly intelligent piece of work from the gifted British writer Hanif Kureishi who wrote "My Beautiful Laundrette", (this is the best thing he's done since then). It's about intelligent people whose lives don't add up to much. They've squandered what they have been given and are largely empty vessels. The only character on screen who is alive is the mother of the title yet she feels dead inside until a rough handyman shows her some affection and awakens her to the joys of sex. He has his own motives but Kureishi treats him with a good deal of compassion. This is a film in which people and places feel familiar, where characters exist beyond the confines of the screen. In some respects it's a bit like "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" but it's an altogether tougher piece of work. The director, Roger Michell, allows scenes to build instinctively. And it is beautifully acted.
As the eponymous mother Anne Reid betrays her wasted life in every gesture. There is not a false note in her extraordinarily lived-in performance, and that very fine actor Daniel Craig displays shadings to his character than even Kureishi hasn't tapped into. If the film strikes a false note it is, perhaps, in the character of the talentless daughter, caught up in a messy affair with the man her mother seduces (or should that be the other way round) and even messier life, but she is so well played by Cathryn Bradshaw she hooks you in nevertheless. The film is also extremely beautiful to look at (DoP Alwin Kuchler) and must rank, unhesitatingly, as the best British film of the year.
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