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John Bleasdale

Film Review: The Son

★★★★☆ “Love is not enough,” is the advice given to the parents in French playwright Florian Zeller’s sophomore feature film The Son, which closes the diptych begun by The Father. It is wise advice and goes against so much that we instinctively feel about parenting and childcare. All we need is love, surely? Unconditional love.

Film Review: The Whale

★★★★☆ American director Darren Aronofsky has made a career out of exploring individuals who are physically and psychologically self-destructing in the throes of obsession. It could be the relationship between the diameter and circumference of a circle; building a boat to avoid a genocidal flood; ballet or wrestling; drugs or food.

Film Review: Saint Omer

★★★★★ Documentary filmmaker Alice Diop’s (We, La Permanence) first narrative feature Saint Omer is a major achievement and an investigation into motherhood, judgment and the other. Kayije Kagame plays Rama, a university professor and writer who is working on a new book.

Film Review: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

★★★★☆ Academy Award winner Laura Poitras has become one of the keenest and most perceptive chroniclers of our times. From torture in Iraq to Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks, her documentaries feel like they aren’t just recording history as it is made but are directly participating in it.

Film Review: Corsage

★★★★☆ Royalty. Can’t live with them. Can’t stop making films about them. If it isn’t The Queen or the Netflix series The Crown, it’s Spencer. And now Marie Kreutzer’s new film Corsage puts on the crown with a spirited and witty take on Empress Elisabeth of Austria – better known in Europe as Sissi.

Film Review: White Noise

★★★★★ “All plots tend to move deathward. This is the nature of plots.” we are told early on in Noah Baumbach’s new film White Noise. Not since Alvy Singer bought Annie Hall all those books about death has there been such a funny and richly intelligent investigation of the particularly American anxiety about death.

Film Review: Tori and Lokita

★★☆☆☆ We all have directors that we don’t seem to get on with. We might admire their technical prowess or their commitment, but for some reason we just don’t click. For this critic, that’s the Dardenne brothers – Jean-Pierre and Luc – the Belgian filmmaking team that have brought a series of modern classics.

Film Review: Aftersun

★★★★★ Parents are normal people too. They might not seem it but once you have a kid, you become a care provider, a hotelier, a therapist, a nurse, a taxi driver, a chef and a thousand other things. You become mum or dad and the idea that you too might have a life is something that shrinks.

Film Review: Armageddon Time

★★★★☆ Whether it’s the neo-noir of We Own the Night, the ménage à trois of Two Lovers, or the sad-dad-in-space opera of Ad Astra, Gray has managed to pursue an intensely personal vision through a variety of genres. Now he’s back in UK cinemas with a more down to earth offering.

Film Review: Triangle of Sadness

★★★★★ If there was one criticism of Ruben Östlund’s The Square, it’s that his satire wasn’t so much shooting fish in a barrel as nuking a pod of whales in a glass of water. His new film, Triangle of Sadness, begins with a series of riffs on how vacuous the high fashion world is.