Four new films to see in cinemas this week

An Cailín Ciúin, Vortex, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Drover’s Wife

AN CAILÍN CIÚIN ★★★★★
Directed by Colm Bairéad. Starring Catherine Clinch, Carrie Crowley, Andrew Bennett, Michael Patric, Kate Nic Chonaonaigh. 12A cert, limited release, 94 min
Set in the very early 1980s, An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) follows young Cáit (Clinch, excellent) as she is sent to stay with relatives while her mother prepares for a new baby. Based on Claire Keegan's novella Foster, Bairéad's Irish-language drama has already won unprecedented levels of acclaim. There is little danger that weight of expectation will crush this delicately beautiful gossamer construction. There is a pervasive sense of unspoken menace lurking just outside the frame (or somewhere in the near past or future). But it is also a celebration of uncomplicated human kindness. DC

VORTEX ★★★★★
Directed by Gaspar Noé. Starring Dario Argento, Françoise Lebrun, Alex Lutz. 16 cert, limited release, 142 min

Former enfant terrible Noé delivers his most impactful work yet with this ingenious split-screen study of an aging couple. He (Argento) is an intellectual and critic writing a book about dreams and cinema and suffering from an unspecified heart condition, which he chooses to ignore. His wife (Lebrun) is a former psychiatrist, who, in the fog of Alzheimer's, continues to write dangerously potent prescriptions for herself and her husband. With no gore or fluids, Noé mines the horror of bodily decrepitude and forgetfulness. There are thematic similarities with Michael Haneke's Amour, but Vortex is quite unlike anything we've seen – or felt – before. TB

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE ★★★★☆
Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. Starring Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr, James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis. 15A cert, gen release, 139 min

A Chinese-American woman is propelled into parallel universes. The trailer that everyone is talking about is now a movie everyone is talking about. Although frequently undone by its own relentless, zaniness, Everything Everywhere is that rarest of commodities: an original science-fiction film with a mid-sized ($25 million) budget and a big, galumphing concept. This is also a big-hearted family drama about acceptance and a love story between an older married couple. It falls to the terrific Michelle Yeoh to hold all the subplots and occasional comic misfires together. Nobody could have done it better. Full review TB

THE DROVER'S WIFE: THE LEGEND OF MOLLY JOHNSON ★★★☆☆
Directed by Leah Purcell. Starring Leah Purcell, Rob Collins, Sam Reid, Jessica De Gouw, Malachi Dower-Roberts, Benedict Hardie, Harry Greenwood, Tony Cogin. Limited release, 107 min

Attractive revisionist Australian western, based on Henry Lawson's 1892 shott story, concerning a determined homesteader who makes friends with a wrongly accused Aborigine man while her husband is missing. Leigh Purcell, a polymath of some note, directs and stars in a film that makes good use of its locations as the tension builds. Unfortunately, the final act talks through its issues in wearingly explicit and didactic fashion. Purcell's performance just about keeps the structure upright. She is an enormously charismatic actor who makes a Mother Courage for the ages of an already resonant Australian icon. DC

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