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Tag: Olivia Colman

QuickView: The Lost Daughter (2021)

The Lost Daughter poster

“I am an unnatural mother.”

Leda

Olivia Colman delivers a powerfully understated performance in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, a moody character exploration of a woman’s troubled past, which rises to the surface during a beach holiday alone. Colman is initially charming as the academic Leda, lonely and awkward as she can be, but this gradually wears away over the film’s two hours as we glimpse something darker beneath. With its structure hinting at a mystery, Gyllenhaal’s script leaves some motivations deliberately (if frustratingly) vague, but it is through seeing Jessie Buckley play Leda as a young mother that we recognise more overtly impulsive and selfish characteristics that are veiled⁠ — yet still present ⁠— in Colman’s performance. Through the family Leda meets on the beach, The Lost Daughter casts its net wider in addressing the societal expectations placed on young mothers in contrast to the harsh reality of parenting and the inescapable resentment and regret at lost opportunity despite love for one’s children.

7/10

QuickView: The Mitchells vs The Machines (2021)

The Mitchells vs The Machines

“I’ve always felt a little different than everyone else, so I did what any outsider would do. Made weird art.”

Katie Mitchell

Following an unconventional family unexpectedly caught in a robot uprising, The Mitchells vs The Machines is really about family relationships, and the need to find common ground and ways to communicate. Continuing the looser approach to animation style from Into the Spider-verse, the art direction blends detailed 3D animation, flatter cell-shading, and sporadic flairs through 2D overlays. The result lends the incredibly polished production a handmade feel, mirroring Katie’s amateur filmmaking and bringing to mind the creative low-fi filmmaking in Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind. Reference humour spans the generations, from Internet memes to older movies (numerous nods to Kill Bill are an unexpected choice). Like Wall-E there is an underlying warning about lazy reliance on technology, although it’s all rather on the nose, with the disaster caused by a young billionaire tech entrepreneur named Mark (“It’s almost like stealing people’s data and giving it to a hyper-intelligent AI as part of an unregulated tech monopoly was a bad thing”). Its depth may be limited to its family dynamics, but spending a couple of hours with the Mitchells is raucous fun and it is hard not to root for a family who plainly love one another, even if their abilities place them at the opposite end of the spectrum to the Incredibles.

8/10

"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2022 Priyan Meewella

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