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

New this weekend: The Lighthouse, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Richard Jewell, Queen & Slim

Twilight zone: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse

Twilight zone: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse

 

THE LIGHTHOUSE ★★★★★
Directed by Robert Eggers. Starring Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karamän. 16 cert, gen release, 109 min
“Doldrums. Doldrums,” warns Dafoe’s salty lighthouse keeper. “Eviler than the Devil. Boredom makes men to villains.” Director Eggers (The Witch) has created another distinctly American gothic that blurs the line between deprivation and madness. In late 19th century New England, Winslow (Pattinson) is sent to serve as a wickie on an isolated island under the supervision of the cantankerous Wake (Dafoe). Low-level resentment and bickering spills over into boozy violence and full-blown Oedipal shenanigans. Spiritual advisers ST Coleridge and RL Stevenson cast shadows across the intriguingly murky mythology: DOP Jarin Blaschke is rightly up for an Oscar for his claustrophobic 1.19:1 aspect ratio monochrome. But, ultimately, The Lighthouse stands as a monument to two titanic performances. Full review TB

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD ★★★★☆
Directed by Marielle Heller. Starring Matthew Rhys, Tom Hanks, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Cooper, Maryann Plunkett, Enrico Colantoni, Christine Lahti. PG cert, gen release, 108 min

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Singular drama concerning the relationship between a cynical journalist (Rhys) and the US children’s entertainer Fred Rogers (Hanks). Heller, the gifted director of Diary of a Teenage Girl and Can You Ever Forgive Me?, knows exactly what sort of film she is making: one interested in Mr Rogers’s reputation and awake to his odd techniques. But this is really an intimate story about the adjustments we make in middle age. Beautifully made. Skilfully performed. Full review DC

RICHARD JEWELL ★★★☆☆
Directed by Clint Eastwood. Starring Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde. 15A cert, gen release, 129 min

Sam Rockwell and Paul Walter Hauser in Richard Jewell
Sam Rockwell and Paul Walter Hauser in Richard Jewell

Eastwood’s new film depicts the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics bombing and its aftermath. Security guard Richard Jewell (impressive Hauser) finds the bomb and alerts authorities, only to later be wrongly accused of placing the device himself. Before you can mutter “Goddam Big Government”, Jewell’s persecution by the FBI is ramped up when a conniving journalist (why Olivia Wilde, why?) seduces the details from a sleazy Fed (Hamm). The film has rightly come under fire for its portrayal of reporter Kathy Scruggs. But the storytelling is bluntly effective and powered along by terrific performances from Hauser, Rockwell (Jewell’s lawyer) and Oscar-nominated Bates (his mother). TB

QUEEN & SLIM ★★★☆☆
Directed by Melina Matsoukas. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, John Sturgill Simpson. 16 cert, gen release, 132 min

Jodie Turner-Smith in Queen & Slim
Jodie Turner-Smith in Queen & Slim

Queen (Turner-Smith) and Slim (Kaluuya) meet up in a diner for a date. On the way home, they are stopped by a racist police officer and, after various humiliations, end up half-accidentally shooting him dead. To that point the film has been a wonder of tension and anxiety. When the couple go on the lam, it leaks plausibility at an alarming rate. For all that, the two leads – both British, interestingly – have the skill and charisma to maintain interest. Full review DC

THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD ★★★★★
Directed by Armando Iannucci. Starring Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Bronagh Gallagher, Paul Whitehouse, Aneurin Barnard, Daisy May Cooper, Benedict Wong, Gwendoline Christie, Rosaleen Linehan. PG cert, gen release, 119 min

Hugh Laurie, Dev Patel and Tilda Swinton in The Personal History of David Copperfield
Hugh Laurie, Dev Patel and Tilda Swinton in The Personal History of David Copperfield

Iannucci manages to pack in all crucial elements of Dickens’s novel without allowing the slightest whiff of compromise. Of course, it feels hurried. But Armando’s great trick is to make that hurtling momentum a vital part of the experience. Only the dullest purist will object. Few unfamiliar with the source will be bored. The racially blind casting is very much in harmony with the author’s generosity. Patel is a great David, Swinton an even better Betsey Trotwood. Full review DC

WEATHERING WITH YOU ★★★★☆
Directed by Makoto Shinkai. Voices of Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Shun Oguri. 12A cert, lim release, 112 min

Weathering with You
Weathering with You

The director of the ecstatically received Your Name returns with another touching animation. Powered along by the J-Pop of AKB48 and Gen Hoshino, Japan’s highest-grossing film of 2019 bundles the highs and lows, thrills and humiliations of teenage romance. The wacky mythology is offset with gorgeous hyperreal visuals, as raindrops bounce off umbrellas and puddles. With more than a nod to real-world climate change, Weathering with You clings to love in the face of rising oceans and environmental catastrophe. Full review TB

Other ★★★★☆ and ★★★★★ films out and about: El Topo, For Sama, A Hidden Life, Jojo Rabbit, Just Mercy, Knives Out, 1917, Uncut Gems, Waves

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