Minari

David with his dad Jacob out in the fields

  Minari is an old-school film of the sort you used to see at Sundance a lot, gentle character driven dramas full of people who were essentially decent. The sort of film Robert Redford used to direct, like Ordinary People or The Milagro Bean Field War or A River Runs Through It (which starred Brad Pitt, an exec producer here). It did well there, winning both the Grand Jury and Audience awards. In the dying days of the Donald Trump administration it asks and answers the question: who built America? The answer is immigrants, though that message is never uttered out loud. Instead we follow a Korean family who’ve moved out from the … Read more

Ammonite

Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet

  After a few years of doing mostly voice work, Kate Winslet has been coaxed back into a leading role in Ammonite, the follow-up to Francis Lee’s powerful breakthrough debut as a director, God’s Own Country. The 2017 movie told the story of forbidden love between two men on the wild and windy moors of Yorkshire. It’s tempting to see Ammonite as a remake – forbidden love on the wild and windy shores of Dorset – but is there more going on here than that? Winslet plays real-life 18th-century fossil-hunter Mary Anning – a huge Wikipedia page on her awaits if you know nothing about her. To boil it down: she lived in Lyme … Read more

God’s Own Country

Josh O'Connor and Alec Secareanu

  It was reading about his highly anticipated 2020 film Ammonite that jolted me into the realisation that I’d never got around to seeing God’s Own Country, former actor Francis Lee’s 2017 debut as writer/director. It was on the must-watch list and then another load of must-watches came along and it got lost. Thanks to the imminence of Ammonite, amends have now been made. “God’s own county” (not “country”) is what proud Yorshirefolk call England’s biggest (and once richest) administrative region, a sentiment not shared by the protagonist of this tale of big emotions played out on small canvases. Johnny (Josh O’Connor) hates Yorkshire, he hates the family farm he works on with … Read more