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Review: Madame Bovary

Sophia Barthes’ Madame Bovary is a beautiful period adaptation of Gustav Flaubert’s novel that deals with its complicated heroine in a way that is both understanding and honest. The cinematography truly stands out as the star, making the film into a visual treat. The story follows the new wife of village doctor, Emma Bovary (Mia Wasikowska), who soon finds herself bored of the limited entertainments of a 19th century French provincial town. Her disappointment in her situation soon drives her…

Review: Decline and Fall – Episode 2

Decline and Fall continued to delight this week with its second episode, packed full again with witty dialogue, sharp visual gags and easy performances from a lively cast. Despite a leading man that many find polarising, and vague marketing, this show has excelled expectations and done the author of the source novel very proud indeed. After a busy set-up episode, the sequel largely transported us away from the stuffy boarding school of Paul Pennyweather's (Jack Whitehall) employment and into the bourgerious…

Review: Harlots – Episode 1

In the crowded list of recent bodice-ripping entertainment, a new British period drama has emerged on ITV's new subscription service, titled Harlots. Battling some garish marketing (more on that later) and another subscription charge that Netflix and Amazon users might see as excessive, it's certainly not got the media buzz it had hoped for.  Indeed, even writing about it is tricky - it's a strange, anachronistic creature, where the best efforts of the recognisable cast are somewhat clouded by some…

Review: Decline and Fall – Episode 1

The BBC unveiled their latest classic novel adaptation in the form of Decline and Fall, a televised version of Evelyn Waugh's 1928 comic novel. Featuring comedian Jack Whitehall as the lead and boasting American star Eva Longoria, it promises a light tone and easy humour. It achieved this well, but in the end it was the source material that really was the star of episode one, with sharp quotes punctuating busy scenes. Despite an unusual leading couple, Decline and Fall…

Review: The Lost City of Z (The Fan Carpet)

There are gaps in everyone's knowledge, and the same can be said of me when it comes to the early 20th century. I know the exploits of adventurer Ernest Shackleton, but I had never heard of Fawcett, a real life adventurer and contemporary whose exploits make up the subject of The Lost City of Z. With that said, what we are presented with in this film, is a beautiful and remarkably paced film that offers a fascinating take on a little-known…

Glasgow Film Festival Review: A Quiet Passion

Emily Dickinson was a remarkable poet who led an understated life in comparison to the magic and deep reflection of her writing. Following on from a portrayal of the Brontes in the BBC's To Walk Invisible, A Quiet Passion shines a light on another mysterious literary giant and one of their near-contemporaries. The film is an attentive biopic, following Dickinson from a turbulent youth to her last days. Surrounding her in the quiet Massachusetts town of Amherst are her siblings…

Glasgow Film Festival Review: Lady Macbeth

Romantic unions are a fragile balancing act, easily knocked off course by inequality and control. Director William Oldroyd’s first feature film Lady Macbeth takes an unconventional approach to the period genre and uses it to draw a vision of a desperate reclamation of control in a doomed marriage - or at least, an attempt at one. Florence Pugh (The Falling) is the lead character Katherine, who provides the inspiration for the familiar name in the title. An adaptation of a classic…

Glasgow Film Festival Review: Their Finest

Director Lone Scherfig’s latest film, Their Finest, is beautiful, yet largely conventional period drama. Another book adaptation of the director’s, it mixes humour with an excellent cast to tell a story that’s largely unknown to modern audiences. However a controversial twist doesn’t manage to distract by its one major mistake - portraying a worn cliche to a tired female audience. Their Finest follows a young copywriter, Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton), who by a turn of luck during the Second World…

Review: Love & Friendship

Let's face it, part of the reason we all flock to period drama adaptations of Jane Austen's work is that to a certain extent, we know what to expect. We know it's likely to be beautiful, with rich costumes and sweeping music. It's also likely to be slower paced than regular cinema, taking its time over character developments to advance the plot in small motions. Love & Friendship, last year's adaptation of Austen's early novella Lady Susan, disregards those unspoken…

Review: Taboo – Episode 3

After last week's violent episode of Taboo, where Tom Hardy's James Delaney prowled the streets and unleashed a glimpse of those rumours in one shocking scene, episode 3 came across as somewhat tamer. Yes, we had to look at a wound being stitched up in a high definition zoom, and witnessed a cadaver full of shellfish first hand, but after his stabbing last week, Delaney generally caused trouble in a far less violent way - namely by writing letters and…