Quick Reviews: 'My Sailor, My Love', 'Bodies Bodies Bodies' | Late Connections, Murder Games
MY SAILOR, MY LOVE
Look, maybe it's just me but does it feel like whenever there's a film that has an adult daughter hiring a housekeeper, there's a good chance that sometimes serious will be happening to their elderly parent during it? Now, this could just be a coincidence when it comes to My Sailor, My Love (Rakkaani merikapteeni in Finnish as well), a poignant drama directed by Klaus Härö. Set in a rural seaside town in Ireland, Howard (James Cosmo) is a long-retired sea captain living in his home as a widow. Worried by his health and disorganised house, daughter Grace (Catherine Walker) hires Annie (Brid Brennan), also an elderly widow, as a housekeeper to look after him. Once Howard and Annie find a romantic connection, this brings up old resentments and untold history when it comes to the strained relationship between Grace and her father.
As the camera sweeps across the fields and dreary old houses, there's a constant push-and-pull in terms of the approach that Härö and writers Jimmy Karlsson and Kirsi Vikman take on these subject matters. At its best, the film finds genuine friction and tenderness—sometimes both together as also shown by complimentary décor overseen by John Hand—but equally often the drama can feel very artificial (if not even manipulative, though that word is overused and misused a lot in criticism nowadays). This is especially apparent with Grace and Annie, and how both of them navigate their relationships. Annie is often treated as a composite character who doesn't have much personality outside of her romance with Howard and being a mom, while Grace is too often portrayed as erratic due to uneven editing by Philippe Ravoet, which then drags out moments and gazes whenever Howard or Annie is on the screen. The three main actors are giving their all but not enough scenes really meet them halfway.
Smileys: Set decoration
Frowneys: Characterisation, editing
BODIES BODIES BODIES
Okay, who wants to play Hotties Hotties Hotties? Oh, everyone except Pete Davidson who's there to deliver jokes? I hear you. Maybe we'll just do Bodies Bodies Bodies instead then, the zooming horror comedy directed by Halina Reijn who's making a career turn to English-language features here. We ride in the car with wealthy, recovering addict Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova), who are a new couple, to a huge mansion owned by family of Sophie's best friend David (Davidson). They're showing up seemingly uninvited to a ''hurricane party'' attended by Sophie and David's friends, much to the surprise of his girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), uptight Jordan (Myha'la Herrold), podcaster Alice (Rachel Sennott) and her new, older boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace). The group end up playing the mafia-esque game which takes a dark turn once actual bodies start piling up.
Maybe the most perplexing thing about the movie is that despite all its unreliable characters and riding heavily on waves of social media culture, it never really pushes buttons in that sense neither in a good way nor bad way. There's plenty of adequate elements in the overall direction, visuals and acting (Sennott and Bakalova have their moments) but Sarah DeLappe's screenplay (story credit went to original writer Kristen Roupenian) never really digs below the surface of these characters, even though they're presented at first like they are performing roles to a certain extent, and then the writing tries to unravel secrets and personalities but does it unsuccessfully. Mostly it might come down to the fact that ''Bodies'' never works in any genre; its comedy and satire is mostly just loudness without any truth to it, horror is wandering in the darkness for inefficient jump scares while dramatic moments often come from dumb decisions that characters make. And when that happens, someone always ends up crying and no one is having fun.
Smileys: Actors were solid