Let me get this out of the way first - just because Tom Burke, Honor Swinton Byrne & Tilda Swinton do a excellent job (the reason for a 5 & not a 3) in this movie (even though Tilda Swinton is little used) doesn't mean that its great. The cinematography is good (though a bit washed out, but that could be on purpose based on the total lack of tension in this movie, so why have anything but pastel hues?); the direction I found to very good (even though Joanna Hogg, working from her own script) loves wide framing that seems to collapse on close encounters. The script though is just a lot of talking, talking, talking that seems to be leading us nowhere. Scene after scene of conversation that is all very nice but has little purpose. The only person who has anything interesting or useful is Anthony (Tom Burke). Julie (Honor Swinton Burke) seems to be so unaware that it gets very tedious watching her sleepwalk through this mess. (I have yet to understand the title "The Souvenir" as it relates to the story. I give guesses but the might be spoilers)
This movie is like being with friends & having a nice evening (The reviews &Trailers for this movie) and then just as you open the second bottle of wine they stand up and say now let's go to the den so we can show you the slides of our vacation to the Kansas & Nebraska Prairie! (The movie starts!) (No offense to the great states of Kansas & Nebraska, but you are flat!). This movie builds no tension between its characters, it does nothing but shows a day in the life of a slick, maneuvering man & a woman who has no sense of the world around her & is a prime enabler. Is it about her blind love for him. Is it about his manipulation of her. Is it about her lack of knowledge of...of...well basically everything. I kept hoping this movie would do something, would go somewhere, would show us something that we could care about (especially regarding Julie) but it never did, it just kept wandering and wandering to the expected conclusion with a closing shot (reminiscent of the final shot on The Searchers, although I am sure it was not on purpose).
As you read all the glowing reviews about the acting, etc. I would say 2 things - 1. All that great acting, cinematography, even directing doesn't mean squat without a script that means something and 2. They said that the English Patient was a great movie too!