Tag Archives: drama


Mother! (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Mother! Review: What on earth is happening and why doesn’t God do anything to stop these talented directors from going rogue in the name of symbolism? – there goes your cryptic God-Mother Earth theory!

My Ratings: 3.5/5

Mother! is one of the most talked about film of this year with extreme reviews from both the audience and the critics, extreme positives and extreme negatives!

Then the poster says ‘The most controversial movie in decades’ and you think why are these people trying to sell a Darren Aronofsky film by just hi-lighting on its controversiality aspect? Not as a brilliant horror film, or as a superb thriller or mystery or drama – but simply as ‘most controversial’. And then you watch the film and realise that the poor marketing people didn’t have much of a choice!

The story of a woman (Jennifer Lawrence), who wants to be a mother and eventually becomes one with the help of HIM (her partner Javier Bardem).  But in between, a number of guests appear at their house, all uninvited (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer to start with) and from there the film plunges into sheer catastrophe portrayed through a series of unimaginably horrific experiences that – let me see how to put it without giving away much details – that Mother!-Reviewtakes away all her fun of being a mother!

Now it’s difficult to merely narrate the plot of a movie like Mother! without wrapping it up into various symbolic metaphors. It is so uniquely chaotic and absurd for the real world (hopefully a caricature of the real world itself) that even while watching the film you constantly look for some allegorical inklings and eventually when you connect to the Biblical symbolisms which at certain points are pretty much on your face  – you finally feel at home and buckle up to absorb the rest of the gore and insanity!

Acting wise pretty decent performances by all, specially the supporting characters Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are terrific! Bardem though given much less screen time makes his presence felt and Jennifer Lawrence – her naivety and helplessness somehow reflects the anxiety of the audience – it’s like ‘why is this happening to me’ and this feeling doesn’t leave you till the very end of the film!

The one thing I really appreciate is the cinematography of Matthew Libatique that creates a certain earthy Mother!-Reviewmood that is essential for the movie. The repeated close-up shots of the Mother character makes us feel what she is going through, we desperately try to relate with her inner turmoils.

I have been a big fan of director Darren Aronofsky‘s previous works – the likes of Requiem for a DreamThe WrestlerBlack Swan and Pi and they are all psychologically disturbing to certain extents but for me his latest film is a bit too deliberate an attempt to create uneasiness – it’s like forcefully pushing a certain riddle/cipher through the audience’s throat than actually trying to create quality Cinema! 

A film that you may like or dislike but certainly it will make you think and discuss and figure out what the hell did you just watch! May be Mother! was destined to be neither good nor bad but simply controversial. Fair enough!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

A Fantastic Woman – Best Of 19th Mumbai Film Festival 2017!

A Fantastic Woman (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

A Fantastic Woman Review: Love is an empty word without respect but the real question is how much disrespect can one endure for the sake of his/her love?

My Ratings: 4/5

A Fantastic Woman originally titled as Una Mujer Fantástica is a film directed by Sebastián Lelioone of the most prominent figures of the post-dictatorship Chilean cinema. And his latest is this years’s official submission from Chile at the 90th Annual Academy Awards for the Foreign Language Film Award!

The idea of a man who chooses to become a woman, to live and die as a woman and wishes to be loved and treated like one is something that often people cannot accept without a certain hint of prejudice. And this is the touching story of a trans-woman named Marina, a young night club singer who aspires in this brutal society to live her life with as much dignity as any other human being.

She is in relationship with an older man named Orlando (Francisco Reyes). They are happy and in love but again that doesn’t guarantee that their romantic liaison will be wholeheartedly accepted and/or respected by others, especially by Orlando’s direct family (his ex-wife and a prick of a son).

And thus after the sudden demise of Orlando, Marina has to go through a series of humiliating and degrading events that made her A Fantastic Womanfight for her self respect, her pride and also for the rights for her lost love.

Daniela Vega who is a trans-woman in real life played the central character in the film with surprising efficiency. Most of her inner strength is expressed through her eyes – a brave soul with immense determination and yet so emotionally vulnerable, ready to face all the odds for the one who she loved so dearly!

And very intelligent storytelling by director Sebastián Lelio as he keeps the film very real, not once opting for any overdramatic cliches and providing just enough information to keep the viewers hooked through the otherwise pretty straightforward linear script.

Certainly the best transgender drama of recent times; this is the story of a woman who doesn’t allow anybody to dictate terms in her life, a woman of integrity, bold yet compassionate, sensual yet devoted – yes, she is indeed a fantastic woman!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

The Light Between Oceans (2016)

The Light Between Oceans review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A brilliant romantic period drama – a magical experience!

My Ratings: 4.2/5

Since Blue Valentine (2010) I have religiously followed the work of film maker Derek Cianfrance. He has this unique gift of handling actors, he makes them live together on set for weeks that gives light-between-oceans-poster2Derek’s films that rare spark of casual spontaneity.

And so in Derek Cianfrance’s latest film The Light Between Oceanswith two Oscar winning actors Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz and one Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender, you can only imagine the level of performances that are put on display!

A powerhouse of brilliant acting that teleports you to the post-WWI era (1921) in an instant.

Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender), a veteran of World War I and currently a lighthouse keeper discovers a row-boat that has been washed up on the shore near the lighthouse. He along with his wife Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander) finds a baby girl on that boat and decides to keep the baby as their own.

But then the distressed real mother of that baby Hannah Roennfeldt light-between-oceans-poster(Rachel Weisz) arrives and Tom’s conscience doesn’t allow him to keep away a baby from her mother!

A combination of dramatic moments and subtle sentiments; romance, agony, guilt and forgiveness – a perfect blend of emotions that makes The Light Between Oceans a classic.

Then again Alexandre Desplat‘s music perfectly justifies the fantastic way of capturing the essence of nature, specially the sea – thanks to the brilliance of cinematographer Adam Arkapaw.

Adopted from a novel by the same name, written by M. L. Stedman, this slow paced 2hr film is a treat for all cinema lovers!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Room (2015)

Room review

written by Souranath Banerjee

An exceptional tale of mother-child bonding, an emotional whirlpool.

My Ratings: 4.4/5.

There are movies that defy against the notion of being made just for entertainment, there are films which shatter the general norms of popular cinema and become something extraordinary. And in the process, they set an example just as the film Room did last year.

Based on Irish-Canadian writer Emma Donoghue‘s popular novel by the same name, who is also the screenwriter for the film, the brilliance of Room is difficult to be tagged into one particular genre.

room-poster2Essentially it’s a thriller that involves the account of a daring attempt to slip away from the clutches of a ruthless kidnapper but on a deeper note the film is a complex sensitive drama and an expert dissection of human psychology.

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, Room is evidently treated in two distinctively different halves.

The first half till the intermission deals with a mother Ma (Brie Larson) and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who are being kidnapped inside a garden shed (the room) by a psychopath called Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) and then of course, the planning and execution of their valiant escape. 

And then the second part which takes the film to another level of brilliance, actually deals with the emotional turmoil that they had to go through even after they are so called ‘safe’. And by ‘they’ it’s not only the mother and her son but also their near-family included.

Acting wise everybody is a winner.

room-poster1Specially Brie Larson who as the protective mother, dealing with her certitudes and also her vulnerabilities has given one of the best performances I have seen in a long time!

And then of course, young Jacob Tremblay, such effortless way he delivers his dialogues, his bond with the room, and then his body language when exposed to the world, his unconditional ability to love others – that boy just nailed it.

And superbly supported by Joan AllenMatt Gordon and not to forget the cameo by William H. Macy.

May be inspired by similar real life kidnapping cases of Jaycee Lee Dugard and Amanda Berry or may be the film is completely a work of fiction as the author claims, but one thing is certain – Room is one rare piece of cinema that promises to stay with you for a long time.

Highly recommended. Run.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com