Amanda Seyfried, Amy Adams, Andrew Norman, BlackKKlansman, Carnival of Souls, Carnivale, Charles Casillo, Charlize Theron, Claire Trevor, Diana Dors, Elisa Jordan, Elizabeth Debicki, First Reformed, Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig, Harry Dean Stanton, Howard Hughes, I Am Not A Witch, Joaquin Phoenix, Julia Garner, Karina Longworth, Lady Bird, Lean On Pete, Leave No Trace, Louise Brooks, Lucky, Marilyn Monroe, Michelle Morgan, Netflix, Ozark, Peterloo, Private Life, River's Edge, Saoirse Ronan, Sharp Objects, Shoplifters, Spike Lee, Sweet Country, Tamara Jenkins, The Florida Project, The Rape of Recy Taylor, The Rider, The Ruth Ellis Files, Thomas Gladysz, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Tommy Redolfi, Tully, Widows, You Were Never Really Here
I’m lucky enough to live just around the corner from the Duke of York’s, England’s oldest independent cinema; and so this year I made the most of my Picturehouse membership. I like movies that blend a touch of realism with a sense of style: Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, Mike Leigh’s Peterloo and Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s Shoplifters satisfied those needs.
The performances of Joaquin Phoenix in Lynn Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here and Charlize Theron in Jason Reitman’s Tully revealed two stars at the height of their powers. Saoirse Ronan (in Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird) and Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) were perfectly cast, while Harry Dean Stanton waved goodbye in Lucky.
And there was superlative acting from Amanda Seyfried in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, Elizabeth Debicki in Widows and Amy Adams in HBO’s Sharp Objects. (Widows director Alexander McQueen used music to thrilling effect, while Spike Lee boldly interpolated footage of last year’s Charlottesville riots in his BlacKkKlansman.)
I need to catch up on some other releases I missed, like A Gentle Creature, Cold War, Bad Times at the El Royale, Blindspotting, 3 Days in Quiberon, Black 47, and Roma. At home, I discovered older gems like Herk Hervey’s Carnival of Souls (1962) and Tim Hunter’s River’s Edge (1986.)
On the small screen, I enjoyed watching Paul Giamatti in Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life, and Julia Garner in the Netflix series, Ozark; and documentaries about Ruth Ellis and Recy Taylor. On video, HBO’s Carnivale helped to smooth over my Twin Peaks withdrawal.
It was a good year for classic film readers, with new biographies of Diana Dors and Claire Trevor; a collection of writings from Thomas Gladysz of the Louise Brooks Society; and Karina Longworth’s in-depth look at Howard Hughes and the women of Hollywood.
And of course, all things Marilyn were covered with biographies from Michelle Morgan, Charles Casillo and Andrew Norman; Tommy Redolfi’s graphic novel, Marilyn’s Monsters; and Elisa Jordan’s tribute to Rockhaven, the pioneering women’s sanitarium whose patients included Marilyn’s own mother.