From the director of Calendar Girls, a thought-provoking comedy drama based on the strike by the women workers at the Dagenham Ford plant in 1968. When the women demand equal pay with their male colleagues, they spark off a furious debate about sexism within British industry, the Trades Unions and the political establishment which leads indirectly to the Equal Pay Act of 1970. A splendid British cast produce a feel-good movie reminiscent of the best of the Ealing comedies.
15 cert – 2010 – Dir: Nigel Coles
113 mins – Lang: English
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson
Evelyn Couch is a middle-aged emotionally repressed housewife with a habit of drowning her sorrows in candy bars. While visiting an aunt in a nursing home, she meets Ninny Threadgoode, a frail but feisty old woman, who loves to tell tales. Ninny’s story of Idgie and Ruth, two young women who worked in the local diner in Whistle Stop, Alabama in the 1930s, inspires Evelyn to take a new pride in herself and change her life for the better. In the tradition of the old Southern storyteller, Fried Green Tomatoes’ classic tale weaves together disparate lives and cherished times. A warm, touching and amusing tale about the importance of love and friendship.
12A cert – 1991 – Dir: Jon Avnet
130 mins – Lang: English
Cast: Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-Louise Parker
Winner of four Oscars at the 2011 awards, the film recounts the efforts of King George VI to overcome his speech impediment so that he can inspire the nation at a time of crisis. He comes to rely on the expertise and friendship of the Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue, to help him give a lead during the abdication crisis and the oncoming war. However, this is not just an enlightening period drama but a very entertaining, heartfelt and surprisingly funny crowd-pleaser which merits a second viewing.
A dark coming-of-age comedy about a lovelorn teenage boy in 1980’s Swansea. Oliver, our duffle-coated hero, has been described as a bizarre mix of Holden Caulfield, Adrian Mole and Billy Liar. His equally eccentric and resolutely unromantic girlfriend, Jordana, is more than a match for him. Some truly dark themes – depression, illness and marital breakdown – are addressed in an honest and original way without betraying the film’s comic lightness or its adolescent viewpoint.
15 cert – 2010 – Dir: Richard Ayoade
96 mins – Lang: English
Cast: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine
Winner of the best foreign-language Oscar in 2009, this marvellous thriller is full of unexpected plot twists and fascinating details. Esposito, a retired judicial investigator, is haunted by a case early in his career, when a young woman was brutally murdered. The murderer had been protected because of links to the military dictatorship of the time and Esposito feels it his duty to seek justice in the democratic Argentina of the new millennium. Parallel to this investigation runs a ‘will they or won’t they’ romance between Esposito and his upper-class boss, Isabel and the title of the film offers clues to the outcome of both stories.
15 cert – 2009 – Dir: Juan Jose Campanella – 127 mins – Lang: Spanish
Cast: Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil, Guillermo Francella
After the relative cheeriness of Happy-Go-Lucky, director Leigh returns to an examination of less hopeful aspects of society. Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen play Tom and Gerri (really!), a contented middle-aged couple who have achieved a cosy tranquillity to which their careers, family life, holidays and allotment hobby all contribute. However, their very warmth and happiness seem to encourage some emotionally far less successful characters to cling to them and the contrast between the suburban bliss of Tom and Gerri and the wrecked lives of their friends is almost painfully acute.
15 cert – 2010 – Dir: Mike Leigh – 129 mins – lang: English
Cast: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville
A road movie with a difference. Five African children of very different backgrounds make the incredible 5000 km journey from Rwanda to South Africa to see the 2010 football World Cup. Their adventures along the way give us an insight into some of the problems facing the continent, including child soldiers, sex-trafficking and HIV/AIDS. The abiding memory of the film, however, is the cheerful banter, beaming smiles and boundless optimism of the children.
12 cert – 2010 – Dir: Debs Gardner-Paterson
88 Mins – Lang: English
Cast: Emmanuel Jal, Eriya Ndayambaje, Sherrie Silver, Yves Dusenge
A glorious vision of circus life in the days of the Great Depression. Young Jacob, forced to give up his veterinary studies, finds himself looking after the animals with a travelling circus, where he catches the eye of the glamorous bare-back rider, Marlena. However, Marlena is married to the sadistic circus ring-master, August, who is in the habit of throwing those he dislikes off moving trains. Will Jacob and Marlena’s love prevail and what will become of the elephant?
12 cert – 2011 – Dir: Francis Lawrence
115 mins – Lang: English
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz
A stirring and uplifting tale of racial and religious assimilation. In 1980 the black Falashas in Ethiopia are recognised as genuine Jews. In turn they are secretly carried to Israel escaping famine and war. The day before the transport is due to leave, the son of a Jewish mother dies. In his place and with his name (Schlomo) she takes a Christian 9 year old boy. This is his story. Live and Become is one of those films that touches your heart and stays with you.
12 cert – 2005 – Dir: Radu Mihaileanu
150 mins – Lang: French
Cast: Yael Abecassis, Roschdy Zem, Moshe Agazai
A film spun out of equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend about the mysterious, 1930’s Tennessee hermit who famously threw his own rollicking funeral party… while he was still alive. The director, Aaron Schneider, captures the period extremely well and the cinematography and musical score are wonderful. The film handles tough subjects like death, regret, suspicion and guilt with wisdom and a gentle humour.
PG cert – 2011 – Dir: Aaron Schneider
99 mins – Lang: English
Cast: Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Lucas Black