The Favourite is something of a change of pace for Lanthimos. Not only is it the first time he’s adapted a screenplay he didn’t pen himself, with a comparatively muted surrealism compared to his previous films, it’s also the closest he’s got to crafting something that could be described as emotionally sincere.
Outside of its documentation of gender fluidity and same sex relationships during a period where they were scorned by society, Colette still remains a breath of fresh air amongst a field of stuffy costume dramas. The film is often hysterically funny (Westmoreland co-wrote the screenplay with his late partner Jonathan Glatzer), with Dominic West giving an entertainingly histrionic performance in the lead.
The feature debut of director Darko Stante manages to find a new angle on a familiar staple of LGBT storytelling, throwing its protagonist into a world of hyper-masculinity that seems beyond parody. It feels contemporary due to, for the most part, the lack of overt homophobia – here, even the name calling is embedded with a bizarre homoeroticism, so comfortable with their sexuality the (presumably) straight characters appear to be.
Anchor and Hope is a complex, mature relationship drama that feels nothing less than believable, even as it presents a lifestyle that’s likely alien to most viewers. But with three great performances at its centre, this is never a problem – it is quietly moving, even as it asks us to confront our own issues with parenthood.
Is it possible to separate the art from the artist? Documentarian Lisa Immordino Vreeland definitely doesn’t think so, as her examination of the life and career of photographer/artist/costume designer Cecil Beaton understands that the many contradictions in his character informed a lifetime of work across a variety of different mediums.
The public perception of bodybuilding is currently defined by the idea of warped masculinity – a heteronormative activity exclusively for men who take more steroids daily than they have braincells in total. It’s not entirely clear how media representation of bodybuilders has, in the past few decades, gone from presenting them as idealised men to cultural laughing stocks, but T. Cooper’s documentary Man Made is set to send stereotypes back in the opposite direction.
At one point in HBO’s original documentary Believer, Imagine Dragons vocalist Dan Reynolds is warned that he’s going to open himself up to criticism for organising a pro-LGBTQ concert – just not predominantly from the religiously conservative, but LGBTQ people aghast at a cis-gender, heterosexual white man co-opting their struggle. This is slightly unfair, as both the film and the charity concert presented within are born of good intentions that deserve the renewed spotlight this documentary will place upon them.
You might think you know the story: two men meet at a remote cruising spot, where men have been mysteriously disappearing for weeks, and find themselves falling deeper into a murderous cat and mouse chase. But this surface level synopsis is the only true similarity between Devil’s Path and 2013’s widely acclaimed anti-thriller Stranger by the Lake, a film to which it will likely be compared based on the subject matter alone.
Every Act of Life proves to be a surprisingly comprehensive documentary, effectively recounting six decades of a successful career at a brisk pace. For theatre fans, this is essential viewing – and for those of you like me, who shamefully don’t watch as many plays as they should, this is still well worth a look.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is set in the early nineties in Montana, but the film doesn’t wear the cultural differences separating then and now too heavily; a cassette tape here, a “Clinton/Gore” bumper sticker there, but no detail significant enough to leave the audience thinking that what we’re seeing is a relic of the past, and not something that’s unfortunately still taking place well into the 21st century.