Director: Roger Michell. Starring: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Iain Glen. USA/UK 2017. 106 mins.
After health problems determine that he must spend his winters in warmer climates, Ambrose (Glen), a wealthy landowner and guardian to his orphaned cousin Philip (Claflin), heads to Italy. Years later, Philip receives a letter from Ambrose announcing that he has fallen in love with and married a distant relation, the eponymous Rachel (Weisz). Soon after, Philip learns that his guardian is dangerously ill, but by the time he arrives in Italy, Ambrose is dead and Rachel has left for England, bound for her deceased husband’s estate in Cornwall. Racked by suspicion, Philip confronts Rachel, but he too soon finds himself under her beguiling spell. What is she? A femme fatale? A gold-digger? A tease? Thanks to skilled direction and first-rate performances, Roger Michell’s enticing period drama keeps the audience guessing throughout.
Director: Mark Webb.
Starring: Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan. USA 2017. 101 mins.
Gifted is a moving story about choices, compassion and family, all underscored by a wicked sense of humour. Frank Adler (Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy – his spirited young niece Mary (Grace) – in a coastal town in Florida. Frank’s plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when her mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother, Evelyn (Duncan), whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary.
Director: Patty Jenkins.
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nelson. USA 2017. 133 mins.
Since Cathy Lee Crosby burst onto the big screen as the original Wonder Woman in 1974 there have several other versions of DC Comics’ legendary female superhero, but now Israeli actress Gal Gadot (Gisele from the Fast & Furious franchise) takes centre stage as the Amazon warrior-princess after a breakout turn last year in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Raised as a fearless defender of her island paradise in the early 20th century, young Diana meets Steve Trevor (Pine), an American pilot who informs her of the mighty war raging beyond her shores. Inspired to right the world’s wrong, she leaves for London to discover her true destiny and her full, unearthly powers. Gifted director Patty Jenkins (Monster) is behind the camera, overseeing a stellar cast that includes Robin Wright and Connie Nelson.
Director: Joel Hopkins.
Starring: Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson, Lesley Manville. UK 2017. 103 mins.
While looking out over the unspoilt parkland of Hampstead Heath from her attic window, American widow Emily Waters (Keaton) calls the police when she sees an unkempt man, Donald Horner (Gleeson), being attacked by thugs outside a ramshackle hut. Curious about the man she helped save from afar, she ventures out the next day to visit him and discovers that he has lived wild on the Heath for 17 years. As ruthless property developers adopt heavy-handed tactics to remove him from the area he calls home, an unlikely friendship – and then a romance – begins to blossom. With Last Chance Harvey, director Joel Hopkins demonstrated his talent for chronicling unlikely relationships, and his affinity for the Hampstead area adds resonance to this heartwarmingly quirky love story.