FILM REVIEW: 2 Days In New York

[FIRST PUBLISHED ON  THE MODERN WOMAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE]

Ever think it was crazy having all your family in one room? Well, Hopscotch’ latest film, an incredibly smart comedy entitled 2 days in New York takes exasperating family insanity to a whole new level; in a way that will not only have you in fits of laughter, but will also make your family seem more functional than ever.

Written, directed and starring Julie Delpy; this impressive movie is a follow up to Delpy’s earlier 2007 film 2 Days in Paris, in which she played the same character with a different love interest. However, 2 days in New Yorkdevises its own plot, drama, conflicts and comedy.

Delpy stars as Marion, an artist extremely nervous before a showing of her latest works in New York City. She lives with her boyfriend, Mingus and her son by a previous marriage, Lulu as well as Mingus’ child from a previous marriage.

As if the apartment wasn’t crowded enough, it gets even more so when Marion’s father, Jeannot {played by Julie Delpy’s real father, Albert Delpy} comes to visit on the eve of her show, along with Marion’s sister, Rose and her boyfriend Manu {who just also happens to be Marion’s ex-boyfriend}.

Delpy truly takes the idea of culture clash to a whole new level, as the French visitors’ personalities and actions stray away from the much conceived French stereotype of elegance and sophistication and rather delve into more loose, manic absurdities in the the most hilarious fashion.

Think, attempts to smuggle French sausages into the country, arrangements for a pot dealer to come to the apartment and the keying of limousines. Of course, with all this craziness going on, tensions build, cracks appear and strains start to appear in Mingus and Marion’s relationship for the first time.

Marion is ultimately left to choose between the two most important men in her life, her partner or her husband.

The cast in their roles, could not be better suited. Chris Rock in his role as Mingus is great, perfectly encapsulating the role of the partner trying hard to compromise and like his partners family, at the same time overcome with a slow burning outrage, that Marion’s family’s consistent absurdities exacerbate.

Julie Delpy in both her acting and directing roles bring her signature sentimental wittiness, as Marion as she tries her best to calm the neurotic nature of her family, whilst undergoing her own stresses and trying not to reach breaking point.

2 Days of New York is a refreshingly light and loose film, an absolute joy to watch. It is truly the perfect movie to share a few light-hearted laughs with some friends these holidays, earning itself a solid 7 stars.

Film Review: The Sapphires

[FIRST PUBLISHED ON THE MODERN WOMAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE]

A fun film that manages to celebrate life and covers a range of social, political and racial issues, all while entertaining a diverse audience. Sounds impossible, right? Well, Deborah Mailman manages to do just that in her stunning new Australian film The Sapphires.

Inspired by a moving true story and adapted from a stage play, the film tells a quintessentially Australian tale- following an all {Aboriginal} girls’ group during the 1960s as they strive to make their dreams to become stars come true.

The McCrae sisters, Cynthia {Miranda Tapsell}, Gail {Deborah Mailman} and Julie {Jessica Mauboy} grew up on a remote Aboriginal mission where singing was a huge part of their lives from a young age. They honestly believed country music was the best kind to sing to help them realise their goals. Until, that is, they entered a talent competition and met a boozy Irishman in the music industry named Dave Lovelace {Chris O’Dowd}.

He gives the girls a Motown makeover introducing them to soul music, and it seems their dreams could come true once and for all.  With the addition of a fourth member, a long estranged cousin Kay {Shari Sebbens}, the group undergoes a transformation into the shimmering Sapphires, becoming an instant song and dance sensation. They’re offered the chance of a lifetime playing for the troops in Vietnam.

Filled with fabulous, sparkling ‘60s outfits and a lot of soulful singing that will have you wanting to dance in your chair, The Sapphires not only has elements of comedy, but probes more dramatic and profound themes as well: illustrating the realities of war, the harshness of racism extant in Australia during the time and even referencing the Stolen Generation.

However, overall the film still manages to be uplifting and positive; using the music and classic tracks such as “I’ll take you there” and “I heard it through the grapevine” to impart a sense of joy not only to the soldiers within the film, but the audience as well.

The use of black and white archival footage of the war and of the Aboriginal camps of the ‘60s adds a great effect to the movie, truly emphasising the harsh reality of these situations, especially when juxtaposed against the glamorous entertainment industry.

All of the actors perfectly encapsulate the essence of their characters, and the beautiful vocals only enhance their performances. Deborah Mailman, who is the most experienced of the four leads, plays the majority of the more dramatic scenes and does a truly wonderful job in the way she handles them.

I would give The Sapphires a solid 8 out of 10 stars. It is a great Australian movie that will have you experiencing the widest spectrum of emotions, so have your tissues ready and be prepared to want to dance along to each and every one of the songs.

Film Review: Hysteria

[FIRST PUBLISHED ON THE MODERN WOMAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE]

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Hysteria directed by Tanya Wexler is an offbeat, mischievous romantic comedy set in Victorian England during 1880, a time when germs were thought by most to be a mere myth, people pondered whether an invention like the telephone would ever take off and any problem a women should have from insomnia to disturbing thoughts was attributed to the catch-all ailment of ‘Hysteria’. The film tells the story how the invention that is known today as the vibrator came about.

From the outset of the film the words appearing on screen “Based on a true story, really” establish the films lighthearted nature. It follows Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) an idealistic young doctor with modern ideas who takes a position in the office of Dr Robert Dalyrmple (Jonathon Pryce) who runs a clinic for women, specialising in a particular “intimate massage” type treatment to cure the highly common “disease” of hysteria.

Mortimer quickly becomes popular among his patients who feel ever so much better after their treatment, however soon Mortimer’s hands become strained. His inventor friend the impressive and wealthy Edmund St John Smythe (a role Rupert Everett was born to play) suggests an alternative; an electric massager. But will the treatment have the same effect using this device?

A romantic twist furthers the plot as Granville courts one of Dalyrmple’s daughters (Felicity Price) a very prim and proper young women who lives according to the Victorian conventions of decorum and would make the perfect wife, yet there is a strange attraction between Mortimer and Dalyrymple’s other rebellious crusading daughter (Maggie Gyllenhall) who is a social reformer running a settlement house and the opposite of her sister in every way.

Hysteria is a lighthearted film that plays with the social mores of its era. The actors are all perfect fits for their parts and expertly approach each of their individual roles with complete seriousness, with the exclusion of Everett who has fun with his role and makes it work. Tanya Wexler hits the nail on the head with her ensemble, tackling the delicate subject matter in a manner that is funny, debonair and visually discreet.

Overall it is a very enjoyable film that is easy to watch, and good for a few laughs. I would give it a solid 6 out of 10 stars – it truly is a great film to watch with a couple of girlfriends.