London Film Festivities: More Good Stuff opinion

It’s not that the London Film Festival hasn’t had a large dollop of messy, pretentious, or just plain substandard films, but, remaining jovial, positive, and super warm and happy-happy, plans for “Bad Stuff” have been shelved in favour of more “Good Stuff”. Luckily, there was a healthy large dollop of that, too.

Once more focussing on the smaller scale offerings, four more highlights from the festival were Broken, After Lucia, Robot & Frank, and Happy New Year, Grandma.

Broken

More than ably mixing it with a cast of none-too-shabby big people, Eloise Laurence’s turn, yet another stunning performance from a child actor, forms the core of a gritty yet humorous British drama. For a debut feature, albeit from acclaimed theatre director Rufus Norris, Broken is impressive – an absorbing, charming, harrowing story told with considerable invention.

After Lucia

While the universal alienation and extreme extent of the bullying of the protagonist is a little hard to swallow and possibly even overly manipulative, the success of a story about a girl cast out and persecuted by her peers for a sexual indiscretion lies in its creation of a subtly defined and believable central character. Through empathy and sympathy, it is difficult not to care about the girl’s plight – it is emotionally involving and moving as a result.

Robot & Frank

As hoped, a sheer delight. It’s set in the future and it’s got a robot in it but typical sci-fi it ain’t, with a simple tale of very human relations and frailty. Cleverly made under the constraints of a low budget (well, relatively low, for an American flick with stars in it) and Frank Langella has never been better.

Happy New Year, Grandma

Old people are hilarious. And scary. The build of Happy New Year Grandma, telling the tale of a family dealing with a possibly senile and definitely wicked granny, is brilliantly paced (so few films are) and completely riveting, starting off from mildly comical encounters and gradually descending into something much more sinister. A black, black comedy that will hopefully find a route into general release.

18th Oct 2012

TA Wittering


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