Post by caiaphas RE O Level (E) on Sept 13, 2017 8:12:08 GMT
I found this a beautiful little film. There is a stillness about it, a sparse script, and an absence of an annoying soundtrack which we’ve grown used to, dictating our feelings towards the characters and their situations. Here we are left to make our own judgements. Patrick Wolf’s The Days plays over the closing credits, and we are shown a montage of old films, full of colour, celebrating the farming communities of old, like something out of Merrie England. It’s quite a contrast to what we’ve just seen…
The film depicts the hard lives of farmers in the north of England. The elements are bleak like the landscape. There’s an isolated farmhouse and a dilapidated caravan for the Romanian farmhand who arrives to help out. He gifted like a modern day Gabriel Oak; he will teach sullen warrior Johnny that he needs to stop for a second to appreciate the Beauty which is all too often right under your very nose. Alec Secarenu, unknown to me, plays the gypsy lad (“Please don’t call me that…”); Josh O’Connor, a kind of poor man’s Russell Tovey, and unrecognisable really from his TV role as Lawrence Durrell plays Johnny. Both are superb.
Like other posters, I too remember Gemma Jones from her Duchess of Duke Street days. She crops up in smaller roles now; she was marvellous in Marvellous a few years back, and here she is just as good playing the grandmother doing her best to cope with her ailing son (Ian Hart) and good-for-nothing grandson whose vomit and used condoms she’s in the habit of clearing up.
Never have a few wild daffodils in a jam-jar looked so romantic; never have the words Thank You been uttered with such poignancy; never has a journey to Scotland on a National Express bus seemed a matter of life and death. But it is.
We gradually warm to these unsmiling characters. We’re on their side. We want them to win, as this unusual romance blossoms over- of all things- a Pot Noodle.
I understand that this small scale film has gambolled its way into mainstream cinemas, gaining a much wider audience than it was perhaps intended for. It’s done it quietly, like some of the best things do.
It’s certainly a thing of delicate, brutal beauty.
Stunning performances from all. Josh O'Connor has the air or Frankenstein's monster, who literally has to be taken by the hand and slowly taught how to love - and allow himself to be loved. I've seen it 4 times now, and while that's starting to verge on the obsessive, trust me - it was worth it. Can't recommend this film enough.
So not much dialogue, then? After my sojourn in the cultural desert, I have a backlog of films (this one, Insyriated, Final Portrait, Wind River and Limehouse Golem, in no particular order) to see and there are new releases from Friday, so I need to prioritise ruthlessly. Plus some of them are a bit heavy so I don't want too many long, serious films in one day.
Well, I've booked 4 films in succession for today, including this one, which is going to be a rush and tough on my poor posterior. However, all are "free" (included in my prepaid Curzon membership), so a far better use both of my time (while on holiday in Northumberland, I spent all day going to Newcastle and back and managed one film) and resources. I didn't mind paying £6 to see Patti Cakes at a Cineworld but that's about my limit on the occasions when I do have to pay - generally in London. So if God's Own Country doesn't grab me, one or more of the other films probably will.
As the audience left the auditorium after the screening of God's Own Country, I overheard 2 ladies discussing the film. One said she hadn't been so disappointed by a film in ages and her hopes had been raised by the reviews but that it was very heavy-handed with every plot development so clearly signalled; she then apologised to her friend for suggesting they see it.
I did think she had a point (as when she went on to say that it didn't help that one of the protagonists was "unprepossessing"), but I wasn't disappointed as I'd been prepared for the worst. I liked the fact that there was no intrusive soundtrack; indeed, there was very little music at all so what there was seemed more significant. In places the action was too graphic and prolonged for me and although I'm straight and female, I'd say that about any on-screen or on-stage intimacy as I think those things are private and more powerful if merely hinted at and the rest left to the imagination.
The scenery might have appeared more attractive at another time of year but it wasn't a travelogue and the farming background, and animal husbandry in particular, seemed horribly grim and realistic. Not sure I agree with the disappointed lady's comment that "It was the oldies who saved it, really", but Gemma Jones certainly had a good part and made the most of it.
All in all this reminded me partly of Withnail And I and partly of another recent film about a son with ageing parents living in some rural hell-hole; I can't recall the title but I'm sure others here can.
I enjoyed this, but not quite as much as I expected to I don't think. Something about gay films can really get to me like Moonlight did and like I expect Call Me By Your Name will after reading the book. This didn't quite do that, but it was effective nonetheless. The performances were mostly good with a few dodgy line readings, although I can imagine some of the dialogue wouldn't be the easiest to pull off. I wish the central relationship had been developed a little bit more. I understand that the point is that the main character can't or wont voice his feelings, but even a few more non-sexual physical scenes would have done nicely. They had a great chemistry that I felt like we didn't see enough of. I could have done with less of the older actors and more of the younger. I also wish there'd been a bit more of a score, I found it relieving to hear music at the end and think it could have added a lot, it doesn't need to be overdone. Nice to see a mainstream film about gay men that doesn't shy away from nudity and sex scenes (unlike lesbian films made by straight men that often overdo them) and that has a happy ending.