Six of the best films to see at the cinema this weekend

New this week: The Wife, Nureyev, The Meeting

The Meeting - official trailer

 

THE WIFE ★★★★
Directed by Björn Runge. Starring Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater, Max Irons, Annie Starke, Harry Lloyd, Elizabeth McGovern. 15A cert, general release, 100 min
It’s 1992 and the long-suffering wife (Close) of a much-lauded American novelist (Pryce) travels to Stockholm, where her husband will receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. It’s a moment of triumph that unexpectedly leaves all parties reeling, with just a little prodding from a fanboy journalist (Slater, excellent) eager to write the author’s autobiography. Working from a clever script by Jane Anderson (Olive Kitteridge), Swedish director Runge’s film version of the 2003 Meg Wolitzer novel pivots around a subtle, inscrutable turn from Close, making her the bookies’ favourite to win the Best Actress Oscar next spring. Full review TB

NUREYEV ★★★★
Directed by Jacqui and David Morris. Featuring Rudolf Nureyev, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Grace Jabbari, Marlon Dino, Dana Fouras, Maria Fonseca. Club, limited release, 109 min

If there is one scene you cannot miss this year, it is the sight of Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn being “detained” in a San Francisco police station in 1967. Their crime? Attending a party at which there were narcotics. The look upon their faces – a marriage of bemusement and imperiousness – is something to behold. Utilising much the same formula as Asif Kapadia’s Amy, this terrific, beautifully curated new documentary uses archive footage and off-camera voices to chronicle the dancer’s journey to global celebrity from his war-torn childhood in the Soviet Union. Full review TB

THE MEETING ★★★
Directed by Alan Gilsenan. Starring Ailbhe Griffith, Marie Keenan, Terry O’Neill, Kevin McCormack, Brenda McSweeney, Allan Keating. 15A cert, limited release, 95 min

Griffith, victim of a terrible rape, plays herself in a re-enactment of her formal meeting with the attacker. Arranged in co-operation with Restorative Justice Services, the interview travels over much painful ground. Griffith emerges with great dignity. Her assailant obfuscates and rationalises. No viewer with any empathy could fail to be moved, but the awkward format – Griffith faces an actor on the other side of the table – never properly comes together. And the sentimental final shot is a real error. DC

THE LITTLE STRANGER ★★★★
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Charlotte Rampling, Will Poulter, Liv Hill, Oliver Zetterström, Kate Phillips, Dixie Egerickx, Josh Dylan. 15A cert, general release, 111 min

The director of Room returns with a queasy, unclassifiable adaptation of Sarah Waters’s novel concerning a young doctor (Gleeson) caught up with a crumbling dynasty in postwar England. There has been some criticism of the distributors for flogging the film has a straight-up ghost story. That is in there. But The Little Stranger is more a drama about class, money and the British postwar rearrangement. A comparison with Brideshead Revisited would as useful as any with The Turn of the Screw. Full review DC

CLIMAX ★★★★★
Directed by Gaspar Noé. Starring Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Kiddy Smile, Claude Gajan Maull, Souheila Yacoub. 18 cert, limited release, 96 min

Peerless provocateur Gaspar Noé is throwing a party and you’re all invited. You might want to think it over. Noé’s most admired film since Irreversible starts as it means to go on: writhing, gyrating, and seething its way toward the inner circle of hell. A hugely impressive and gymnastic piece of Tanztheater set to 1990s set over one increasingly crazed night, Climax never lets up. Appropriately – or perhaps inappropriately – bacchanalian. Unquestionably the dance-horror-musical event of the year. Full review TB

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS ★★★
Directed by Eli Roth. Starring Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, Kyle MacLachlan, Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic, Colleen Camp, Lorenza Izzo. PG cert, gen release, 105 min

Roth’s unexpected kids’ movie wastes no time in whisking the viewer and its 10-year-old protagonist, Lewis (Vaccaro), into a strange new gothic world. It’s 1955, and following the death of his parents Lewis is sent to to live with his oddball, kimono-wearing uncle (the always amiable Black), a warlock, and his good witch neighbour (Blanchett). Together they must undo some bad magic left behind by their enchanted house’s previous owner, Isaac Izzard (MacLachlan). This is whimsical new territory for the director behind such gory standards as Hostel and The Green Inferno, but Roth has crafted a very convincing Spielbergian family entertainment. Full review TB

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