We have honest conversations about films and our programme is designed to challenge as well as entertain! Our reviewer wasn’t impressed by this one – do you agree, or would you give it a glowing review?
Reviewed by Jemima Laing
I don’t often miss the point, I like to think I’m a fairly good point-getter, that I’m agile enough of mind to understand the twists and turns of a film which can challenge me both intellectually and emotionally. So I’m still struggling to fathom why I so roundly missed the point of The Souvenir Part II, but I did. I’ve been hard pressed to find a review that gives it fewer than three stars, it has been showered in layer upon layer of critical acclaim so please don’t let me persuade you not to dedicate an hour and 48 minutes of your life to it, but I just didn’t get it.
For context I am a Hogg devotee. I rewatch Unrelated on the regular – it is a mainstay of my ever-changing list of top ten films. I also loved The Souvenir, the first in this brace of films following Julie Harte, a young filmmaker from a privileged background who is captivated and, in part, defined by her relationship with the mysterious Anthony. And it’s his death she is trying to assimilate and understand in this sequel.
The first film was moving, profound and evocative of so many parts of my own London-based teenage years. Tom Burke’s Anthony captivated me too and I think that’s one of the problems with this film, for me at least. As a viewer I felt the lack of him throughout, far more keenly than the presence of the newer characters. The Anthony-shaped hole was not properly plugged even by his fleeting appearance towards the end.
It is all beautifully done, as Joanna Hogg always beautifully does, and it repeats its neat trick of having Julie and her mother played by real life mother and daughter Honor Swinton Byrne and Tilda Swinton. The Babushka doll nature of a film within a film within a film was cleverly done and tricksy to boot but the bit of my heart which belongs to this story and these people and this film is firmly lodged in the place where Anthony was alive and lived. The Souvenir has joined Unrelated in my roster of regularly watched films, but I don’t think I’ll watch its younger sibling again.
The Souvenir II is screening at Plymouth Arts Cinema from 25th February – 2nd March.
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