In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply pointed stories about women's lives. So this drama weaves together three narratives with distinct female perspectives. Based on short stories by Maile Meloy, these tales only barely intersect, but they echo similar themes in a striking rural Montana setting.
In the central story, Beth (Kristen Stewart) is a young lawyer who drives four hours twice a week to teach a night class, where she develops a fan in a young rancher (Lily Gladstone) who has a secret crush on her. Meanwhile, Laura (Laura Dern) is another lawyer representing an injured worker (Jared Harris) who took a small financial settlement before learning that he would never physically recover. And then there's Gina (Michelle Williams), who is building a home in a gorgeous location with her strained husband (James Le Gros) and surly teen daughter (Sara Rodier). They need a pile of old sandstone that has been sitting for some 50 years next to the home of a man (Rene Aberjonois) everyone's afraid to talk to.
All of this is set against Montana's big-sky landscapes, sumptuously captured on-screen by cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt. Everything is crisp and wintry, and Reichardt cleverly designs the film in a simplistic, insightful way that quietly focusses on unspoken interaction between the characters. Yes, much of this movie is completely silent, as these women consider the realities of their lives. This of course allows the actresses to make the most of their characters, adding weight and depth to each scene, often without saying a word.
Continue reading: Certain Women Review
This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written, directed and acted that it's impossible not to be pulled into its powerfully wrenching drama. Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan (see also 2011's sleeper masterpiece Margaret) creates characters so vivid that they get deep under the skin, and he allows his actors to so fully inhabit them that they become unforgettable.
This is the story of Lee (Casey Affleck), a janitor who is hiding in Boston from his past. When his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has a heart attack, he returns to his hometown Manchester to take care of Joe's 16-year-old son Patrick (Lucas Hedges), who isn't remotely happy about this set-up. But Joe's estranged wife Elisa (Gretchen Mol) has vanished, and Lee's ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams) has started a new life. So while Patrick struggles to maintain his independence, Lee tries to build some sort of relationship with him. But both are still reeling with pain over things that happened to them over the years.
Yes, the central theme here is grief, and Lonergan piles mountains of it onto these characters. As details about their back-stories are revealed, the intensity of the emotions becomes nearly unbearable, and yet neither Lonergan nor the actors ever give into sentimentality or trite sermons. This is achingly realistic, an exploration of how people survive even the worst things life can throw at them. And Affleck delivers his best performance yet in the role, a devastatingly transparent turn that holds the audience in rapt attention. Newcomer Hedges matches him beat for beat as a deeply likeable teen whose prickly reactions make him even more sympathetic. And both Williams and Mol add some blistering electricity as women struggling to reinvent themselves. In just a few scenes, Williams very nearly steals the film.
Continue reading: Manchester By The Sea Review
The actress spoke about raising her 11 year old daughter Matilda in the wake of Heath Ledger's death eight years ago.
Hollywood actress Michelle Williams has opened up about her personal life, including the struggles of raising her 11 year old daughter, Matilda Rose, without Heath Ledger, and about stepping back into the world of dating.
The 36 year old star posed for the front cover of December’s issue of Porter magazine, and opened up about what it’s been like knowing that her daughter – who was just two years old when her father, actor Heath Ledger, died in January 2008 – will grow up having never really known him.
Michelle Williams opened up about her daughter never knowing her father, Heath Ledger
Lee Chandler lives a life of self-imposed exile but that's not how he's always been. For many years prior, he lived in the small town of Manchester-By-The-Sea where the rest of his family and his fiancé all live. It's a picturesque fishing town and the pace of life is slower than any city could offer and the Chandler's all live good lives. Now, Lee lives in Boston and works as a janitor and his strict day to day routine has been brought about to limit the amount of people he see and has to deal with.
When Lee's brother, Joe, dies Lee is made the guardian of Patrick, Joe's teenage son. The news comes as a surprise to both men. Patrick is dealing with the loss of his family and now is forced to live with his uncle who's distanced himself from the family years prior.
Patrick doesn't understand his uncle's reluctance to relocate and move back to the small neighbourhood he used to call home. As hard choices are made and old acquaintances become part of the present day picture, Lee must not only do what is best for himself but also consider his nephew and the wishes of his brother.
Continue: Manchester By The Sea Trailer
Happy birthday Norma Jean!
It's the 90th birthday of Marilyn Monroe today; a Hollywood icon who remains a legend of showbusiness despite her flaws and her controversial life. This is an actress who has inspired and influenced so many, that multiple films have been produced depicting her life and career.
Here are just five of the best depictions of Marilyn in movies:
'The Secret Life Of Marilyn Monroe' starred Kelli Garner
Continue reading: Five Great Movie Depictions Of Marilyn Monroe
Beyonce’s performance at the Made in America Festival on Saturday featured strong feminist and body positive messages.
Beyoncé’s performance at Budweiser’s Made in America Festival on Saturday (5th September) was carefully orchestrated to include messages of female empowerment. The 34-year-old singer, who had celebrated her birthday the evening before, headlined the first day at the Festival held at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.
Beyonce at the Vanity Fair Oscars party in L.A., February 2015.
At the height of Williams' solo career, she could count on her Destiny's Child band mates to back her.
Destiny's Child. Stellar Awards. Guys. It happened. The former R&B trio didn't tease their reunion or reveal they were planning anything at all, they just made it happen on Saturday night. Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams took the stage together at Las Vegas' Orleans Arena to perform Williams' Say Yes. Beyoncé and Rowland previously collaborated on the studio version of Williams' single, an EDM-inspired reimagining of the Nigerian gospel song When Jesus Says Yes.
Michelle Williams won big last night - and she had some supportive friends there to back her.
The song was nominated for three Stellar awards, including Urban/Inspiration Single of the Year, Music Video of the Year and Song of the Year, with Williams picking up an extra nod in the Female Vocalist of the Year category for her gospel album Journey to Freedom.
Continue reading: Destiny's Child Surprise Diehard Fans With Stellar Awards Collaboration
'Suite Française' has been miraculously adapted from one of the first pieces of World War Two fiction ever written, by one of the most tragic authors in history.
The new period romance starring Michelle Williams and Matthias Shoenaerts is based on a novel that survived World War II against the odds. Irene Nemirovsky was a well-known novelist in pre-war France, and as the Nazis occupied her country she began writing a sequence of five novels about life during wartime. But in July 1942, she was arrested as a Jew and deported to Auschwitz, where she was killed.
Matthias Schoenaerts as Bruno von Falk in 'Suite Française'
At the time of her deportation, she had only completed the first two books in the series, handwritten in notebooks that were collected by her daughters. Thinking they were journals, the women were afraid to read about their mother's wartime experiences, and left them untouched. More than 50 years later, elder daughter Denise looked through them, discovering the two novels written in microscopic handwriting over 140 pages. The two books were titled 'Tempete en Juin' ('Storm in June') and 'Dolce' ('Sweet'), and were published together as 'Suite Française' in 2004 along with notes from Nemirovsky including the outline of the next book 'Captivite' ('Captivity') and the titles of the final two books in the series: 'Batailles' ('Battles') and 'La Paix' ('Peace').
Continue reading: 'Suite Française' Adapts A Miracle Book
Even though it's made in a style that feels familiar, this World War II romantic drama takes a much more complex approach to the period, most notably in the way that it refuses to let anyone become a hero or villain. This is because author Irene Nemirovsky wrote the source novel at the time, not in retrospect, which gives it an unusual kick. And the film also benefits from an extraordinarily textured performance by Michelle Williams.
She plays Lucille, who in 1940 is living in the French country town of Bussy with her mother-in-law Madame Angellier (Kristin Scott Thomas). Since her husband is missing in action at the front, Lucille is feeling trapped in her life with the madame, who cruelly increases her poor-farmer tenants' rent even during these hard times. Then the Germans arrive to occupy the town, and officer Bruno (Matthias Schoenaerts) is billeted in their house. Initially a horrific presence, Bruno turns out to be a soulful young man who misses his family. As he composes music on Lucille's piano, she reaches out to him in friendship, surprised to find a spark of attraction. But things get more complicated when Lucille and the madame begin to help a neighbour (Sam Riley) who crosses the Germans and needs to be hidden from view.
Director Saul Dibb (The Duchess) shoots this in a fairly straightforward costume-drama style, with sun-dappled cinematography and lavish settings. But the film rises above the genre in the characters, who are never allowed to become the usual stereotypes. Both Lucille and Bruno are intelligent young people aware that they're in the wrong place at the wrong time, so it's hardly surprising that they are drawn to each other, and Williams and Schoenaerts spark vivid chemistry that never boils over into forbidden-love melodrama. Each of them is a bundle of contradictions, remaining sympathetic even when they make bad decisions. And Scott Thomas adds further texture as the harsh madame who reveals her own unexpected shadings.
Continue reading: Suite Francaise Review
During the Second World War, France was quickly and violently taken over by the German army. Now, under enemy occupation, the residents find themselves having to house and shelter their victorious enemies. Lucille Angellier (Michelle Williams) is one of these people, having to share her house with Commander Bruno von Falk (Matthias Schoenaerts). Despite being on two different sides of the conflict, the two find a strange attraction to one-another, and a romance begins to blossom. But Madame Angellier (Kristin Scott Thomas), Lucille's mother-in-law, distrusts the German officer, leading to a series of events that will test the strength of love and trust, in a time of war.
Continue: Suite Francaise Trailer
Date of birth
9th September, 1980
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