Oscar buzz, rebellious birds and billboards, and film stars

It’s award season and it’s buzzing with rumors, nominations and wins. The past few weeks I was able to get my ass to the cinema (despite this super-crazy-important deadline of my master thesis proposal looming over my head) and I got to see some great films. Even though the second month of the year has only just begun, it’s still pretty special to name my very first 10/10 film, right? 

// You Were Never Really Here

I’ll admit, You Were Never Really Here took me completely by surprise. In theory, the film should be right up my street: Joaquin Phoenix looking dark and mysterious, Lynne Ramsay in the director’s chair and a thriller-mystery-drama plot. Sometimes what sounds really good on paper, isn’t so good in practice. With You Were Never Really Here I didn’t expect it to disappoint, but I didn’t expect is to impress me as much as it did either. Phoenix is completely in his element: he portrays traumatized veteran Joe who now works as a hitman with intense aggression and violence, but also with such fragility and sensitivity, you can’t help but be incredibly intrigued and touched by his character. 

// Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Winner of four (!) Golden Globe awards and nominated for seven (!) Oscars, Three BillBoards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (let’s abbreviate it to Three Billboards for the time being he) deserves the award-buzz in my opinion. Star Frances McDormand is glorious as mother Angela, who feels wronged and overlooked by her local police department after the murder of her daughter, and puts up huge billboards to steer their attention to solving her daughter’s murder. McDormand is gritty, vulgar, seriously funny and surprisingly touching. Three Billboards is one of those films that makes you laugh at loud, but one that also stays with you for a very long time after you’ve seen it. 

// The Greatest Showman

Let’s talk about films that sounds good on paper but aren’t so good on the silver screen. The Greatest Showman sounds great: Hugh Jackman in a part we all knew he was born to do, the music is written by duo Pasek & Paul (who won an Oscar for their work on La La Land), the impeccable Michelle Williams has a starring role, and there’s enough singing and dancing to keep even my Dad awake during the screening (true story). But still, The Greatest Showman doesn’t turn out as good as it sounds on paper. Although it’s definitely entertaining and you will find yourself humming the songs long after you’ve seen the film (or maybe that’s just me and my creepy audio-based memory), but in the end it’s trying too be hard to be Moulin Rouge! and only ending up as a cheesy, goody-goody copycat. 

// Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool

Within the realm of film, there are certain things I just can’t resist: romance, period-pieces and sunlit dancing montages. When I saw Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, it was love at first sight. Annette Bening is simply irresistible as film star Gloria Grahame, who starts a star-crossed love affair with the much younger Peter, who is portrayed by an equally irresistible Jamie Bell. The couple meets in 1980s Liverpool and their whirlwind romance takes them to Los Angeles, New York, and back to Liverpool, where Gloria is sick and seeks the help of Peter and his family. It’s a beautiful, vivid, gorgeously acted and touching film. 

// Lady Bird

What happens when you combine Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan? That’s right. Magic. Winner of two Golden Globes and nominated for five Oscars, Lady Bird is turning heads. In essence, it’s a film about young Lady Bird as she comes of age in boring, sunlit Sacramento, California. She spends her time annoying the nuns at her catholic high school, applying to colleges as far away from home as possible, and falling in love with the bad boy of the school. But Lady Bird is made with such care and with so much love from both director Gerwig and star Ronan, that you can’t help but completely fall in love with the loud, soft, young and old Lady Bird. 

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