Check out the February Audio Described Screenings at the Irish Film Institute.
Lady Bird – Tues 27th 16.20 & 20.50.
The Shape of Water – Tues 20th 13.00 & Mon 26th 20.30.
Phantom Thread – Wed 7th 13.00 & Sun 11th 20.15.
I,Tonya – Mon 26th 15.50 & Wed 28th 20.40.
Journey’s End – Tues 6th 18.30 & Thurs 8th 13.30.
Writer/actor Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha, Mistress America) effortlessly transitions to the role of director for her début feature, a semi-autobiographical account of coming-of-age in Sacramento in 2002. Working from her own script, Gerwig manages to breathe new life into the rites of passage subgenre, approaching many familiar moments – first love, prom night – with great flair and imagination. Saorise Ronan shines as Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson, a restless 17-year-old navigating her way through the pitfalls of Catholic school, her modest academic prowess being no obstacle to romantic dreams of college life on the east coast. Lady Bird’s complex relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) underpins her often chaotic life and their many exchanges adroitly capture the nuances of a close mother-daughter bond.
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro’s beautiful, romantic fairy tale centers on mute Elisa (the superb Sally Hawkins), who, although she has close friendships with neighbour Giles (a reliably excellent Richard Jenkins) and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer), suffers from loneliness. When the mysterious corporation for which she works acquires an ‘asset’ in the form of an amphibian humanoid, guarded by the sadistic Strickland (an especially bug-eyed Michael Shannon), she is drawn to the creature, gaining its trust as the two ultimately fall in love and search for a way to be together.
In the beautifully constructed and impeccably performed Phantom Thread, this is again brought to the fore in a study of the shifting power dynamics at play between a trio consisting of couturier Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis in his self-professed final acting role), his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), her brother’s keeper, and his new model, muse, and lover, former waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps). Relationships take dark and unexpected turns in this lush, sensuous film.
Margot Robbie gives a deliciously exuberant performance as disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in Craig Gillespie’s imaginative riff on the scandals circulating around the 1994 Winter Olympic Games, culminating with the brutal sabotaging of rival skater Nancy Kerrigan. Wryly presented as faux documentary where the key players in the debacle – a rogue’s gallery of grotesques – are interviewed some twenty years afterwards, Gillespie also uses extensive flashbacks to fill in the gaps in the lurid narrative. Tonya’s fractious relationship with her volatile, pushy stage mother LaVona (Allison Janney) forms a through-line in this unclassifiable, breathlessly entertaining blend of bizarre true-crime drama, comedy and intimate character study.
Northern France, 1918. British Army C Company is anxiously awaiting an imminent German offensive, led by the broken, alcoholic Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin), and former school teacher Osborne (Paul Bettany), his avuncular second-in-command. The company is joined by the naïve young Second Lieutenant Raleigh (Asa Butterfield), who requested assignment to Stanhope’s command because the two attended the same school. R.C. Sherriff’s poignant drama of life and death in the trenches of World War I, first performed on-stage starring a young Laurence Olivier in 1928, and filmed in 1930 by James Whale, is faithfully adapted by director Saul Dibb in this restrained production that retains the deep sadness of the play and wisely resists contemporary embellishments. (Notes by David O’Mahony.)