The Kings Speech – It’s like someone sat down with a “How to win an Oscar” kit and put this movie together. First of all is the lead character with the disability (Much like Rain Man, Forrest Gump, My Left Foot, etc). Add in sumptuous costumes and set designs. Add a couple of high-profile stars in Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter, and fill in with the cream of Brit character actors (Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Timothy Spall). Yeah, it’s easy to look at this film and be cynical, but I have to say I still enjoyed it. I never knew the story of King George and his stuttering, and the way that the abdication of Edward VIII is woven in is well done. Guy Pearce is terrific as the monarch who gave it all up. Recommended.
Mouchette – I always have hits and misses with the films of Robert Bresson, and this is one of the latter. The story concerns a troubled French girl, her dying mother, and her abusive father. Mouchette’s life is a hard one, and it gets worse as she suffers a rape at the hands of a man she trusts. Bressons’ protagonists are always tight-lipped, and Mouchette maybe more so that any other. The films’ heartbreaking finale will leave you grasping for answers. I sort of recommend this, but I don’t put it in the class of the great A Man Escaped, which I consider Bresson’s masterpiece.
Proof – Little-known Australian film from the early 90’s concerns Martin (Hugo Weaving), a blind man who takes photos of his everyday life and has a friend (a young Russell Crowe) describe them to him. There’s also a housekeeper (Genevieve Picot) whose relationship with Martin is a jumble of sexual attraction and calculated cruelty, and who begins a clandestine affair with Crowe. This film is low budget, and looks it, but it redeemed by stellar performances by the three leads. It’s definitely worth a look.