ASFF selects five films set for release in UK cinemas this Friday. Hailing from America and Britain, these four features and one documentary all explore the human experience in great depth. Using an array of forms – documentary, animation, biography – issues of child abuse, racial inequality and grief are all placed under the cinematic microscope.
Sulphur and White (Modern Films)
Telling the true story of David Tait, a man who went from morally bankrupt city trader to mountaineer and charity fund-raiser, Julian Jarrold’s brave biopic takes a long hard look at his childhood, a time of abuse and trauma, and how that fed into his adult years. Mark Stanley gives his all as Tait, while Emily Beecham is her usual imperious self as Vanessa, the woman that ultimately becomes his wife. Dougray Scott and Anna Friel also co-star as Tait’s parents.
Onward (The Walt Disney Studios)
Pixar’s latest sees two elf brothers (Tom Holland, Chris Pratt) set out on a quest to find a spell to bring their late father back for one more day. Coming from Dan Scanlon, director of Monster’s University, this is a hugely touching story about familial relationships, seasoned with the usual exquisite detail, heart-warming humour and superb animation. Featuring Julia Louis-Dreyfus voicing their mother, it’s a real attempt to show that magic – if you believe in it – does exist.
Peter Cattaneo, the man who once brought us The Full Monty, is back behind the camera for another feelgood tale told with some real-world grit. Based on the true story of a real-life British military wives’ choir, who went from featuring in BBC doc The Choir to performing at the Royal Albert Hall, here the all-female singing group come together, led by Kristin Scott Thomas’ posh Kate and Sharon Horgan’s more salty Lisa. A predictable but comforting experience.
One of the most significant American authors of the 20th Century, who died just last year, Toni Morrison won both a Pulitzer Prize for her 1987 book Beloved and the Nobel Prize for Literature six years later. This documentary, directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, reflects on her life and works, from her Ohio childhood to her time on book tours with Mohammad Ali. Among the distinguished interviewees are Angela David, Walter Mosley and Oprah Winfrey, who co-produced and starred in the 1998 movie adaptation of Beloved directed by Jonathan Demme.
After the likes of Swiss Army Man and Horns, Daniel Radcliffe continues his intriguing post-Potter career with another unexpected effort. Based on a true story, Radcliffe plays ANC activist Tim Jenkin, who was imprisoned in a maximum security jail in Pretoria in the 1970s during the Apartheid regime. As the title suggests, Jenkins and two fellow prisoners (played by Daniel Webber and Mark Leonard Winter) make a bid for freedom, using wooden keys hand-crafted during their incarceration. Francis Anann directs.
All films released on 6 March.