Movies: Novitiate, Loving Vincent, God’s Own Country

Novitiate

Set in the 1960’s when Pope John Paul XXIII just announced the Vatican II reforms, Novitiate is the story about Cathleen Harris and her journey through Catholic High School in Tennessee and onward to the Sisters of the Blessed Rose monastery in 1964.

All is not good with the Mother Superior who struggles with the changes in the church.  Concurrently the young novices do what young girls do, gossip, break the rules and struggle with their new identities.

The acting is exceptional.  Melissa Leo transforms into the Reverend Mother.  Margaret Qualley plays Sister Cathleen.  Julianne Nicholson shines as the Sister Cathleen’s Mom.  Denis O’Hare plays Archbishop McCarthy with a brief but searing performance.  The entire cast is over 70 actors!

The film has an R rating for language, some sexuality and nudity.  The genre is listed as Drama with a run time of 2 hours, 3 minutes.

There is Oscar material to be sure.  Most likely nominations are Movie, Acting, Screenplay…

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Loving Vincent

This is the first animated feature film made entirely from over 65,000 camera frames of oil paintings, on more than 850 canvases by over 50 painters in Gdansk, Poland.  This is the only feature film made entirely frame by frame, filmed over 14 days in a London Studio.  The entire process was seven years in the making.

The plot is quite simple: deliver one of Van Gogh’s last letters to his brother Theo after the painter’s death in Auvers, France, July 1890.

There are over 40 actors doing voice overs.  Most notably are Chris O’Dowd as Postman Joseph Roulin, Saoirse Ronan as Marguerite Gachet, Robert Gulaczyk as Vincent Van Gogh, Piotr Pamula as Paul Gaugin and Cezary Lukaszewicz as Theo Van Gogh.

This film is already being regarded as a dazzling visual achievement and we agree wholeheartedly.  Note: many of the story vignettes came from private collections that have never been offered for public viewing.

This film is rated PG-13, running 1 hour, 35 minutes.  It is listed as a Crime/Drama.  Oscar nominations are likely for Animation and technical categories.

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God’s Own Country

This is an exceptional film especially given it is the debut feature film by writer and director Francis Lee.  The story is set in remote rural Yorkshire where elderly parents of Johnny Saxby struggle to run a farm with only their son to help.  A Romanian immigrant answers an ad for work.

A close relationship develops almost immediately as the two young men work long hours under harsh conditions.

The cast is quite short.  The young British actor, Josh O’Connor delivers a strong performance as the son Johnny Saxby.  Alec Secareanu creates a powerful character as the Romanian.  British actor Ian Hart plays the ailing father and Gemma Jones plays the ever watchful wife and Mom.

The film has been described as a British Brokeback Mountian.  We see it as so much more.  It is a study in human character: flawed, intense and ultimately heartwarming.

This film is not rated.  The genre is listed as Art House, International, Drama, Romance.  The run time is 1 hour, 44 minutes.

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One thought on “Movies: Novitiate, Loving Vincent, God’s Own Country”

  1. Some of your films I have to experience vicariously because they don’t always make it to the boonies, even in the “art” cinemas. Thanks for the short critiques.

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