At the Movies

in Features

Paul Anderson is an Arts broadcaster, radio presenter, producer and journalist. He’s known for work on BBC 6 Music, Xfm, Capital as well as hosting his own one-hour film show ‘At The Movies’ on Smooth Radio.Paul is also a member of the London Film Critic’s Circle. Follow him on Twitter @afilmguy.


Possibly one of Jane Austen’s least likeable characters, Emma Woodhouse, when we meet her, is a sweet natured, well-heeled young woman living with her dad (Bill Nighy). Played by Anya Taylor-Joy (who is better known for creepy roles in Witch and Split), Emma, after one successful attempt, decides a career in matchmaking is the right one for her. She starts messing in the lives of her friends and neighbours, including a vicar Mr Elton who eventually gets the wrong end of the stick, gets drunk and proposes to her. Then there is the busy body and talkative Miss Bates (a wonderful Miranda Hart), to whom she is simply rude and nasty. As with all Austen there is a twist and there is one liaison that leaves Emma reeling; that’s not a spoiler the book was published over 200 years ago; and then the foppish George Knightly appears and although dismissive of her at first, he warms as the film progresses. The score is typically sweeping from Isobel Waller-Bridge and if you are a fan of Austen, Downton, Sunday night TV period pieces or any rom com you will love this.     


Life in the services, with all its uncertainty and anger is difficult enough for the men and women serving, so for their partners and families there must be many obstacles to overcome, not least of which is boredom. Sharon Horgan plays Lisa a brash and funny grab-life-by-the-lapels mum of teenagers who is asked to organise events for the wives and partners. Kristin Scott Thomas plays Kate and is the polar opposite of Lisa. Aloof, organised, controlled and stiff. Lisa decides the best way to ease the boredom and tension for the wives is to get together with booze and rubbish food. Kate does not approve and does her best to derail everything Lisa tries to organise. Based on a true story the Director Peter Cattaneo has drawn  authentic characters – as he did in 1997’s The Full Monty – and takes us through their journey of how to alleviate the fear while waiting for the doorbell or the phone call that may lead to news of a loved one lost. Lisa and Kate gradually realise each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work together on the idea of a choir. Cue hilarious terrible singing and heart-warming solos. This really happened, and they bagged themselves a UK number one with it. While it will resonate to service personnel, there are enough uplifting, funny and moving moments to keep all audiences entertained and not a little moist eyed.  

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