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Killing Me Softly (2002)
Makes "Body of Evidence" look like "Citizen Kane"
Ah, Erotic Drama, last bastion of the predictably dire film... Killing Me Softly is a half-assed attempt at an erotic mystery with no redeeming features whatsoever (unless you consider a glimpse of Heather Graham's breasts to be worth two hours of torture). Fiennes appears to be being paid by the word (he maybe says twenty during the entire movie) and is limited to grunts and baleful stares, Graham appears to be trying not to laugh most of the time, and the plot twist is by turns obvious and ludicrous.
Me Without You (2001)
Friendship is a curious thing, and it's a topic which hasn't been explored too recently at the cinema. Me Without You puts this right, following the relationship between Holly (Williams) and Marina (Friel) from the seventies through the present, watching as them grow up and exploring their feelings towards each other and each other's families.
Imagine a British answer to The Ice Storm or American Beauty, and you're about half-way there, as this contains performances of genuine passion and emotion which leads you to engage on a surprisingly deep level with the characters as it delves beneath the surface of friendship. There is a moment about an hour in with Holly where it was impossible not to feel her character's desperation. While mostly drama, there are many moments of subtle humour which are effective without disturbing the overall flow of the piece.
The direction, especially with some inspired lighting in the last half hour is more than adequate, and the soundtrack perfectly evokes the spirit of the era, as do the costumes which have obviously had great care taken over them.
More importantly, though, this is a film which will really make you think, make you question the nature of friendship and your friends - you'll want to recommend this film to them, but you probably won't for fear of losing them afterwards!
A delight, and not at all what you might expect from a British film starring an ex soap actress. The two leads put in fine performances, and the supporting cast more than pull their weight. It's fair to say that I felt some of the nudity and drug use were slightly gratuitous, but this is a criticism that could also be levelled at American Beauty to a certain extent. This isn't quite a five star film, but it's pretty close.