Movies: Miss Sloane, Jackie, Collateral Beauty

Miss Sloane

This film is powerful, intelligent, thought provoking and above all timely.  It is an inside peek at the all powerful political lobbying industry in Washington, DC.

Jessica Chastain dominates the cast with an iron clad performance as Elizabeth Sloane, the alpha lobbyist.  She already has nominations for best actress for the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards.  It’s too early to tell regarding the Oscar as the holiday releases are coming in hot and heavy right now.

Other excellent performances are given by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mark Strong, Allison Pill, Michael Stuhbarg and Jake Lacy.  Veteran actors John Lithgow and Sam Waterston also give noteworthy performances.

Directed by John Madden.  There is an excellent, yet complex, screenplay by Jonathan Perera.  Rated R for mature subject matter.  It is listed as a Drama Thriller with a run time of 2 hours, 12 minutes.  If you like political insider stories, don’t miss this one.

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Jackie

This film is focused on Jackie Kennedy’s personal journey after the assassination of her husband, John F. Kennedy.  It is a personal chronicle of her trauma, grief, her children, their future, his funeral and ultimately her husband’s legacy.

The film is intense, insightful, sometimes harsh and painful to watch.  For those of us of a certain age, it recalls that time warp when we all remember where we were and the angst that prevailed.

The acting is exceptional.  Natalie Portman, as always, is stellar.  She is Jackie! She is accompanied by Caspar Phillipson as John F. Kennedy and Peter Sarsgaard as Robert F. Kennedy.  There is Billy Crudup as the Journalist, John Hurt as the Preist and the charming Sunnie Pelant as Caroline Kennedy.

Rated R for some graphic images.  Listed as a Drama/Biography, 1 hour and 40 minutes.  It is a unique perspective on history well worth a look.

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Collateral Beauty

We just saw this film yesterday and were moved by its storytelling.  There is a great cast and a candid connection to everyday life.  So I was surprised to see so many harsh comments from so many critics.

Perhaps the theme of the grief stricken Will Smith character withdrawing from normal life and challenging the concepts of Love, Time and Death was too artsy fartsy for many reviewers.

I thought is was an intriguing perspective, told in a unique and thought provoking way.  It was delivered by good solid performances.  Will Smith is the Dad, Kate Winslet is the coworker, Keira Knightly plays ‘Love’, Helen Mirren shines as ‘Death’ and singer Jacob Latimore impresses as ‘Time’.  Other strong performances by Ed Norton, Naomie Harris and Michael Pena round out the cast.

It is rated PG13 but the subject matter might be challenging for young ones.  Listed as a Drama, running 1 hour 37 minutes.  If you like stage dramas and engaging performances, you will probably like this film.

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