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

New this weekend: Colette, The Front Runner, Stan & Ollie, The Judge

The official trailer for Colette, a biographical drama starring Keira Knightley as the titular French author.

 

COLETTE ★★★★☆
Directed by Wash Westmoreland. Starring Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Eleanor Tomlinson, Denise Gough, Aiysha Hart. 15A cert, general release, 112 min
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Knightley) is a pigtailed teenager living in a corner of Burgundy who is not adverse to a roll in the hay with her parents’ slick and much older friend Willy (Henry Gauthier-Villars, played by West). It’s only after the naive country girl has married and moved to Paris with Willy that she and we come to realise that he’s a literary fraud. A womaniser, a bully, and gambler, Willy is reluctant to let the brink of poverty come between him and whoring, so he tells Colette to write a novel. She writes a bucolic tale recalling her rural childhood. He trashes it and demands a rewrite with a closer focus on the schoolgirls. The second draft is an overnight sensation, published under Gauthier-Villars’s name. It takes a while for Colette to emerge from his shadow, but she does so with gusto in this good looking cradle-to-grave biopic. Full review/trailer TB

THE FRONT RUNNER ★★★★☆
Directed by Jason Reitman. Starring Hugh Jackman, JK Simmons, Vera Farmiga, Alfred Molina, Sara Paxton, Mamoudou Athie. 15A cert, general release, 113 min

Composed of long, snaking takes and Altmanesque overlapping dialogue and soundtracks, The Front Runner parachutes the viewer into the cut and thrust of the 1984 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, just as Colorado senator Gary Hart is conceding to Walter Mondale. Hart has so much charisma, smarts and fabulous hair that they’ve had to draught in the Greatest Showman himself to play the role. Fast forward to 1987: Hart is the presumed front-runner in the Democratic race until he is caught entertaining a pretty blonde named Donna Rice (Paxton), whom he met on a yacht named Monkey Business. The historical details are impeccable but the events have been pointedly repurposed as a cautionary tale that leads all the way to Trump. Full review TB

STAN & OLLIE ★★★★☆
Directed by Jon S Baird. Starring John C Reilly, Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Nina Arianda, Rufus Jones, Danny Huston. PG cert, general release, 97 min

Touching, funny drama following Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (Coogan and Reilly) as they tour the UK and Ireland in declining years. That’s pretty much it. There are few significant revelations. The comedy is as gentle as the original films. The sentimental turns are worked ruthlessly. Nothing much happens that you don’t expect to happen. Yet it works like a dream. The two lead roles could hardly be better cast and Arianda steal every scene as Laurel’s bolshie Russian wife. Full review/trailer DC

THE JUDGE ★★★★☆
Directed by Erika Cohn. Club, QFT, Belfast (Wed/Thurs only), 76 min

In 2009, with the support of a progressive sheikh, Dr Kholoud al-Faqih became one of only two women appointed as judges in the sharia (Islamic law) courts in Palestine. Watching this fascinating documentary portrait, you may wonder how the West Bank ended up with quite so many women in the job. “There are many evils associated with this and it conflicts with the sharia”, cautions an Islamic scholar. A quick vox pop suggests he’s not alone in that view. “Men can separate their minds and hearts, so their judgment is better than women’s,” explains one young woman. Battles lie ahead. TB

AN IMPOSSIBLE LOVE/UN AMOUR IMPOSSIBLE ★★★★☆
Directed by Catherine Corsini. Starring Virginie Efira, Niels Schneider, Jehnny Beth, Estelle Lescure. 16 cert, IFI, Dublin, 135 min

Beautifully made, ultimately troubling drama, spanning many decades, concerning an awkward on-off romance. Viewers familiar with the semi-autobiographical novels of Christine Angot will have some idea where the story is going and will grasp ambiguities in the title, but, narrated by the couple’s daughter in versions of the author’s prose, this difficult saga will still exert a grip. Efira is terrific as the woman who can’t tear herself away from a pompous jerk. Full review DC

THE FAVOURITE ★★★★★
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, James Smith, Mark Gatiss. 15A cert, general release, 119 min

It is 1708 and, as the War of the Spanish Succession takes a breather, cynical Sarah Churchill (Weisz), Duchess of Marlborough, and sly Abigail Hill (Stone), later Baroness Masham, squabble for the attentions of dotty Queen Anne (Colman). Lanthimos transforms what could have been a straight-up period drama into a savage, weird, twisty comedy of appalling manners. The dialogue sparkles. The photography is weirdly brilliant. The performances are flawless. A near masterpiece. Full review/trailer DC

Other ★★★★☆ and ★★★★★ movies out and about: Bohemian Rhapsody, Bumblebee, The Camino Voyage, Creed II, Free Solo, The Last Movie, The Old Man & the Gun, RBG, Shoplifters, Sorry to Bother You, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, A Star Is Born, Three Identical Strangers

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