Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Dolly Wells

QuickView: Good Posture (2019)

“Lilian: desperate for affirmation; bright, creative, compelling.”

Julia Price

Dolly Wells’ directorial debut is a brief but engaging drama about a young girl finding herself in New York after a break-up. Lilian is immature and materially spoiled but, we realise, emotionally starved by absent parents which has left her feeling adrift. The film unfolds over several weeks in which she lives in the house of a famous, reclusive writer, Emily Mortimer appearing predominantly through voiceover as the pair exchange adversarial correspondence in Lilian’s journal. Grace Van Patten carries the film, imbuing Lilian with an earnest depth that prevents the audience from simply dismissing her as spoiled, coupled with Wells’ smart dialogue that calls to mind Greta Gerwig’s portrayals of stubborn adolescence like Lady Bird. The humour arises largely from the supporting cast of New York characters. Zadie Smith, Martin Amis and Jonathan Ames also appear in amusing interviews about the importance of the fictional Julia Price’s work, though these are confusingly introduced into the film before the conceit of Lilian making a documentary. Wells allows us to dwell long enough to understand Lilian, but not to know where she will end up. In many ways Good Posture feels like a novella that joins a character at a turning point and ends before we fully understand the outcome of the story’s events, but it does so in a way that leaves a sense of interpretative intrigue rather than frustration.


QuickView: Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

Can You Ever Forgive Me? quad poster

“You can be an asshole if you’re famous. You can’t be unknown and be such a bitch, Lee.”


Based on the true story of Lee Israel, a struggling writer who turned her creativity to forging letters from literary figures, this is a solid drama elevated by two sublime performances at its centre, both earning Oscar nominations. Melissa McCarthy sheds all expectations of her comedic persona to immerse herself in Lee’s deeply disagreeable character. There is no heart of gold hidden beneath the surface, just a human who dislikes the world. Richard E. Grant’s turn as Lee’s gadfly alcoholic accomplice will invariably draw comparisons to Withnail, though the earnest Jack Hock has at least some redeeming features. Although they are plainly reprobates, it is a testament to the performances that an audience can come to appreciate these two characters and will continue to carry them after the credits roll.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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