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On the Big Screen: 5 Films for Summer

From barnstorming blockbusters to innovative indies, this summer has a fantastic array of films playing in UK cinemas to choose from. Here, we pick five of the best films to hit screens in the coming months.

Asteroid City | Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson’s latest is a typically idiosyncratic confection, largely centred around a group of families who all experience an extra-terrestrial close encounter in a desert town called “Asteroid City.” Framed like a 1950s teleplay, with behind-the-scenes moments playing out in black-and-white, Anderson’s film dives into areas of loss and grief, making this one of the more emotional works in his canon. Featuring a stellar cast –Margot Robbie, Matt Dillon, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks and many more – it’s full of the director’s usual whimsy and charm.  

Released on 23 June

Oppenheimer | Christopher Nolan

After subtle allusions made in his last film, 2020’s espionage tale Tenet, Christopher Nolan returns with a huge-scale biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb.” Nolan regular Cillian Murphy stars in the title role, while a huge support cast co-star – including Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr. Set to be Nolan’s longest film, just shy of three hours, it will explore in depth the life and work of the man who led the so-called Manhattan Project and shaped the modern age.

Released on 21 July

Scrapper | Charlotte Regan

Winner of the Grand Jury prize in the World Cinema Dramatic section of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Scrapper is a true British underdog success story. It marks the feature debut of the hugely talented Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2019 and 2020 alumnus Charlotte Regan, and tells the story of Georgie (Lola Campbell), a 12-year-old girl who is secretly living alone after the death of her mother. Harris Dickinson (Triangle of Sadness) co-stars as her estranged father, causing friction when he returns from Ibiza to move in with her.

Released on 25 August

Passages | Ira Sachs

American director Ira Sachs (Frankie, Little Men) heads to Paris for this sophisticated drama about young intertwining lives. Franz Rogowski plays Tomas, a volatile film director in a relationship with Ben Whishaw’s more placid Martin. Theirs is an open coupling when it comes to casual sexual partners, until Tomas seduces schoolteacher Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos), who is on the rebound from another failed relationship. An emotionally devastating film, it’s also a very adult look at contemporary hook-ups. Sachs’ best film since 2014’s Love Is Strange.

Released on 1 September

Past Lives | Celine Song

This drama has already enjoyed critical adulation at both the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals. It tells the story of two childhood friends (Greta Lee, Teo Yoo) from Korea who find each other again in adulthood, initially through Facebook. When they finally meet face-to-face in New York, where Lee’s character has carved out a career as an author, she’s married and he’s in a relationship. As they discover that the stars never quite align for romance to spark, it’s a story about accepting your reality, rather than fantasising about “what if?”

Released on 8 September

Words: James Mottram