Women Talking

Jessie Buckley and Judith Ivey

Women Talking could have got a lot of dramatic mileage simply by telling the story of what happened rather than what happened next. But it opts for the latter, a daring ploy that eventually yields results, though there are moments on the journey when it looks like it’s not going to make it. Here’s what happened. In a devout, modernity-shunning Mennonite community in Bolivia between 2005 and 2008 a number of women and girls started waking up mornings to discover they’d been raped in their sleep. The youngest of the 151 victims was three, the oldest was 65. The community elders suggested that Satan was responsible, or one of his demons or possibly … Read more

The Lost Daughter

Peter Sarsgaard and Jessie Buckley

There’s a lot of misdirection in The Lost Daughter, starting with the title, but to go into exactly where the misdirection lies and what it consists of is to ruin the entire film. It’s an adaptation of an Elena Ferrante novel, which is a bit of an unusual departure in itself, because for all the massive popularity of Ferrante right now, there have been very few screen adaptations of her work – before this only two movies in 1995 and 2005, and a highly regarded Italian TV series (about to enter its fourth season, as I type). The success of The Lost Daughter – Oscar nominations for the two lead actors, plus another … Read more

The Courier

Wynne with Dickie Franks and Emily Donovan

A familiar and enjoyable spy movie of the old school, The Courier went by the name Ironbark on its first screenings. The new title suits it better. Why that is, and whether the film should be so familiar and enjoyable is the question. It’s the true story of a middle-class amateur, Greville Wynne, deployed on a no-need-to-know basis by MI6 and the CIA to ferry messages from a Soviet agent back to the West at the height of the Cold War. Together, so the story goes, Wynne and agent Oleg Penkovsky saved the world from destruction as the Cuban Missile Crisis threatened to unleash World War III. “I’m just a salesman,” says Wynne … Read more