This weekend ASFF selects five new films about to hit UK cinemas. Hailing from England and America, the hard-hitting themes vary from grief and illness to racism and sexuality.
All Is True(Sony Pictures)
Ben Elton has already written the sitcom version of this idea – at home with William Shakespeare – in his comedy Upstart Crow. This collaboration with Kenneth Branagh is the grown-up version, as The Bard returns to his family home after a fire wrecked the Globe theatre during a performance of Henry VIII– or ‘All Is True’ as it was known then. Branagh directs and plays Shakespeare, Dame Judi Dench co-stars as his wife Anne while Sir Ian McKellen features as the Earl of Southampton.
If Beale Street Could Talk(E1 Entertainment)
Barry Jenkins returns after his Oscar triumph with Moonlightto deliver this very classy adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel. KiKi Layne and Stephan James star as two young lovers in 1970s Harlem, almost torn apart when he’s imprisoned after being falsely accused of rape. Featuring some powerful performances – notably Colman Domingo and the Oscar-nominee Regina King – it brings Baldwin’s prose vividly and caringly to life.
An intimate family portrait, Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside’s documentary follows three Mexican brothers, Rodriguez, Bruno and Diego, and their relationship with their 93-year-old grandmother, América. In the backdrop, a subplot rumbles about their father in prison after he was charged with negligence regarding her care, but mostly this is a tapestry of daily life as the brothers takes turns in looking after América.
Actor Joel Edgerton directs his second film after the surprisingly effective chiller The Gift. This deals with a very different sort of horror – conversion therapy. A subject that already formed the core of The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Lucas Hedges plays Jared, the son of a Baptist pastor father (Russell Crowe) who is sent for a twelve-day course to repel his gay urges. Edgerton plays the head of this devastating program, while Nicole Kidman features as Jared’s misguided mother.
Green Book(Curzon Artificial Eye)
Set in 1962, Italian-American Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) is hired to chauffeur African-American pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a concert tour through the Deep South. Don is aware of the troubles that he might face in different locations due to the colour of his skin and requires someone to act as both driver and bouncer. They must rely on The Green Book, a guide to the few establishments that are safe for African-Americans and embark on a journey that will change both of their lives.
Lead Image: Still from Boy Erased.