Who would believe that today is the last day of the London Film Festival? It’s been glamorous, it’s been edifying, it’s been wonderful.
We’ve seen too many fabulous films to list, but we would like to give special notice to A Serious Man. We battled through the MJ fans in Leicester Square on Tuesday night to catch the latest Coen Brothers feature, and it was textbook Coen Brothers – probably the most Jewish film we’ve seen all year! Brilliantly acted, beautifully shot and totally compelling, you are drawn into the life of the long-suffering protagonist, Larry Gopnik. A normal, quiet, family man, Gopnik is desperately trying to keep control of his life and his troublesome family (pot-smoking son, demanding daughter and philandering wife). In typical Coen style the predominantly dark, brooding film has flickers of humour, and leaves a lot to the audience’s imagination. Although we enjoyed it very much, we’re not sure how much a non-Jewish audience would gain from it, as there are lots of Jewish references and Yiddish words thrown around. Saying that, there’s still time to buy an English to Yiddish dictionary before the film’s general release on 20 November.
Last night also saw LFF’s winners announced at the new Festival Awards Ceremony. French film A Prophet won the Star of London award for best film, but the judging panel, that included Jarvis Cocker, also praised post-apocalyptic epic The Road and The Scouting Book for Boys. Writer Jack Thorne – previously a writer on Skins – won the best British newcomer prize for his twisted coming of age story.
And today we’ll be donning our glad rags one last time, for the closing night of LFF and the debut of former Turner Prize winner Sam Taylor Wood’s first film, Nowhere Boy, the powerful, extremely moving biopic of the young life of The Beatles legend John Lennon. Focusing on his fragmented childhood in Liverpool, the film is based on the book, Imagine This: Growing Up With My Brother John Lennon, written by his half sister Julia Baird. It deals heavily with his relationships with his Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and estranged mother Julia (Anne Marie Duff), as well as his close friendship with a young Paul McCartney. It stars promising up-and-comer 19-year-old Aaron Johnson (who has been dating 42-year-old Sam Taylor Wood for months, maybe he can audition for Cougar Town next?) and with its charm, wit and genuine emotion, is easily in line to be one of the best films we’ve seen this year.
- Siam Goorwich & Holly Fraser