Archives for posts with tag: julie walters

Did you see Mamma Mia and hate it? Don’t see this. Did you see Mamma Mia and sort of like it? For sure see this, it’s better. If you loved Mamma Mia in its original flavor, you will go bananas for this.

Donna (Meryl Streep) has died, unexplainedly, but probably because Meryl didn’t have a lot of time to spend on this movie. And also so people can look sad. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) has restored the hotel, and it’s lovely, but Sky (Dominic Cooper) is in New York and might want to stay there because career or bagels or something. It storms like crazy the night before the grand opening OH NO.

Running along with this is flashbacks of Donna’s (Lily James) earlier life, where–in utter defiance of probability–she manages not to know which of Sam (Jeremy Irvine), Bill (Josh Dylan), or Harry (Hugh Skinner) is Sophie’s father and does not seem like an irresponsible tramp. This is partly because Lily James’s smile is slightly infectious and also because all of them are crazy hot and catch her at reasonable emotional states for jumping into bed with people. Richard Curtis has managed this well. They’re pretty good young Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colin Firth, respectively, although I could ask for slightly more differentiation between the non-blondes.

BUT. The best part is her young Christine Baranski (Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Julie Walters (Alexa Davies). They’re hilarious and adorable and good matches, but still have their own personalities. They dress horribly and give slightly bad advice (as they will again when they are older) but are so cheekily supportive it’s hard to be angry. Also the constant gags with the youth of the flashbacks and the age of the original cast are wonderful.MV5BMjEwMTM3OTI1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDk5NTY0NTM@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_.jpg


This movie knew exactly who would see it, and catered to that mercilessly, but it was also so gleeful. I could not stop smiling. I look forward to drinking a bottle and a half of rosé and singing along to it in the future.

Stray observations:

  • Andy Garcia jumped on this bandwagon and if you think about it for a split second it’s extremely obvious why but the payoff is so good.
  • Wait for the credits sequence. It’s way better than the first one.
  • We get “Waterloo” AND “Fernando” and I could not be happier.

Director: Ol Parker
Rating: PG-13
Length: 114 minutes
Score: 5/5 and also unrateable

I guess it speaks to my astounding unawareness of other people’s opinions about films that I went to Brooklyn last night and was confused by how many people were there. I haven’t watched an awards show since Titanic cleaned up at the Oscars, for reference.

Anyhow, Brooklyn. Immigrant tales used to come in two kinds, the kind where home changes and the kind where home doesn’t. Vis-à-vis the United States, the former used to have a charming romance between two different types of people, melting pot blah blah, America rah rah. That’s gone out of fashion, to be replaced by the type of story exemplified by Jhumpa Lahiri’s Namesake, where everything is complicated and maybe home is nowhere.

Things are complicated in Brooklyn, too, but less aporetic. Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) has two lives, one in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, and the other in Brooklyn, New York. These come with the usual trappings: Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson) and Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen), respectively, as well as the conflicting pulls of family, job, interfering busy-bodies, and so forth. Both worlds (as well as the ships that cross the Atlantic) are beautifully drawn, from costumes to local dances to employers to beaches… It’s lovely, and Ms. Ronan looks varyingly lovely in it–her hair and costume people are tremendous, as her growing confidence, knowhow, and maturity are borne out in her fashion choices and ability to do her hair properly. There’s no makeover moment, and the progression is not linear, but her understated, splendid acting comes through perfectly. She is equally at home in times of crisis (deaths, catastrophic homesickness) and in small moments (talking too much on a date, and, my favorite moment, sitting next to a boy on the trolley and smiling while avoiding eye contact).

Aside from the obvious complicated gentlemen and a priest here and there, most of the characters in Eilis’s life are women, from her mother and sister to the owner of the boarding house in Brooklyn, a Mrs. Keogh (Julie Walters, who is great as always), and the other boarders there. They are excellently drawn; none is a caricature, and they all have reasonable, clear motivations. This movie is actually interested in how its characters think, women and men, and benefits from the attention.

My one quibble is that it’s a little predictable, and, in the end, a little pat. And I know there’s nothing new under the sun, but it started out so ambitiously I was a little surprised.

Stray observations:

  • Shoes in the 50s were awful, apparently, and this film is unflinching about it.
  • If you don’t want someone to propose to you, for whatever reason, and that person is averagely percipient and non-awful, it’s not that hard to keep him from doing so.
  • Domhnall Gleeson is rapidly becoming one of my favorites, because he is extremely versatile–aside from the shock of ginger hair, he is nearly unrecognizable from here to Star Wars.

Directors: John Crowley
Rating: PG-13
Length: 111 minutes
Score: 4/5