Monday 16 September 2019

Movie reviews: Miss You Already, Captive, A Girl at My Door, Older than Ireland

Celebrating 100 years: Bessie Nolan in 'Older than Ireland'
Celebrating 100 years: Bessie Nolan in 'Older than Ireland'

Paul Whitington reviews this week's other big releases - Miss You Already, Captive, A Girl At My Door, and Irish documentary Older than Ireland.

Directed by Hollywood veteran Catherine Hardwicke, Miss You Already (3*, 15A, 112mins) is a comic drama with dark undercurrents, and stars Collette and Drew Barrymore as Milly and Jess, childhood friends who still live in each other's pockets. Milly is married to a rock star turned businessman called Kit (Dominic Cooper), and has two kids, while Jess lives on a houseboat with Jago (Paddy Considine), an oil rig worker, and has just started a course of IVF.

They still see each other all the time, and Milly dominates all social events with her lively and bombastic personality. She lives life at a hundred miles an hour, juggling work, home and night-life with effortless aplomb, but is forced to a standstill by some devastating news.

When her doctor tells her she has advanced breast cancer and will have to undergo chemotherapy, Milly must come to terms with the fact that her days might be numbered.

Written by Morweena Banks, Miss You Already is commendably brave in its unsweetened depiction of cancer, and in fact this is probably the most honest depiction of the disease I can remember seeing in a cinema.

Needless to say, Toni Collette is extraordinary in a role that makes huge demands on her vanity, but the fine line the film treads between tragedy and comedy is ultimately too tricky to successfully pull off.

The shackles of a true story can often smother the dramatic potential of a movie, and so it proves in Captive (2*, 12A, 97mins), a thriller of sorts that starts reasonably well before drifting to an aimless halt.

David Oyelowo is Brian Nichols, a violent felon who escapes from an Atlanta courthouse after shooting dead a judge and a court reporter. As a huge manhunt ensues, Nichols kidnaps a young woman called Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) and holds her prisoner in her own home. As she tries to talk her way free, the police net tightens.

Mr Oyelowo is a fine actor, and has huge sad eyes that hint at secret suffering. As a result one keeps expecting him to reveal a sympathetic story of injustice, but that never happens, and instead the film plods wearily home, bereft of tension and wasting the considerable talents of its actors.

First shown at this year's Dublin Film Festival, A Girl at My Door (4*, No Cert, IFI, 119mins) is a refreshingly eccentric and original feature début from Korean director July Jung. Doona Bae is Lee Young-nam, a police inspector who's been moved from Seoul to a one-horse seaside town after an unspecified scandal that may relate to the fact that she's gay.

She's a secret drinker, and seems almost suicidal until she becomes the champion of a local teenage girl, Do Hee (Kim Sae-ron) who's being mercilessly beaten by her cruel and drunken grandfather.

Fearing for the girl's safety, Young-nam invites Do Hee to stay with her, but what initially looks like an act of kindness soon begins to seem ambiguous, even vaguely seedy. July Jung skilfully keeps you guessing in a film that might move slowly but is rich in sexual and psychological tension.

Alex Fegan's documentary Older Than Ireland (3*, PG, 81mins) pursues a simple but very effective premise - interviewing Irish men and women who, at 100-plus, are older than the state itself. Mr Fegan's last film was The Irish Pub, a watch-able but not particularly imaginative documentary, but Older Than Ireland has a lot more in common with Ken Wardrop's delightful and empathetic 2009 film His & Hers. Here Fegan simply points and shoots and lets the centenarians speak for themselves.

Men and women across the country remember with misty eyes everything from young love and brutal teachers to The War of Independence and the virtues - and shortcomings - of their dear, departed spouses. They do so with humour, wisdom, honesty and charm.

Irish Independent

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