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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

06 June 2020

Posted by Charlotte Waugh

Film Reviews!


Group one -26 in attendance

Group two- 19 in attendance 


With an influx of free time during lockdown, what films have you watched and enjoyed? This week our Young Writers started their very own film club as we collaboratively chose a film to watch in between sessions and reviewed it as a group. 

Group one decided to watch and review The Life of Pi whereas the second group chose to look at a french film 10 jours en or. 


The sessions started with a brief discussion of both films, understanding elements that we particularly loved and those that could have been slightly improved. The group was then given a template on how to write a successful review, so the structure could be replicated and filled with their own ideas. Below is the template that was offered ,feel free to utilise!


Title : Think of a catchy title; make it funny or different


Paragraph 1: Opening paragraph – start to summarise the film.


Paragraph 2: Continue with the summary.


Paragraph 3/4: Positive things you thought about the film; story, setting, special effects and music.


Paragraph 5/6: Negative things you thought about the film; story, setting, special effects and music.


Paragraph 7/8: Talk about the characters. Did the actors play them well? Are there particular characters you like? Are there particular characters you don’t like?


Paragraph 9: Final comments – General comments that summarise your view of the film. Summarise it positively if you want them to go and see it! Summarise it negatively if you want to encourage them not to. Finally……5 star rating!


Eliza kindly shared her review on a film that she has recently enjoyed, titled ‘Lion- a story of belonging’. Below is her vibrant review constructed using the template I have attached above, touching on many aspects of the 2016 film ‘Lion’. 


Title :

Think of a catchy title; make it funny or different

Lion- a story of belonging

Paragraph 1:

Opening paragraph – start to summarise the film.

Based on a true story, Lion follows the narrative of five-year-old Saroo living in a small village in India. He falls asleep on a train, whilst playing with his brother, which takes him thousands of Kilometers across India, away from his home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, searching for help from strangers.  Speaking Hindi rather than Bengali, he nonetheless quickly learns the rules of survival from watching other street children. Ultimately he is adopted by an Australian couple, and the film is brought forward to a now 25 year old Saroo.

Paragraph 2:

Continue with the summary.

Armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, Saroo feels a need to revisit his past and unlock the now faded memory of his mother and upbringing.

Paragraph 3/4:

Positive things you thought about the film; story, setting, special effects and music.

There is something so chilling and heart-wrenchingly potent about the image of a young, vulnerable little boy searching for his brother in a vast empty space. Lion does not fail to draw on the powerful human emotions of familial love and courage, assisted by calm yet somewhat looming music. As the audience grow up with Saroo a deeper emotional bond forms, so that when the pinnacle of the film is reached, one cannot take their eyes from the screen. We are emotionally snared from the moment we are taken from a desolate train station in India and see the relationship he has with his biological mother to the picturesque beaches in Australia and his embracing adoptive parents.

Paragraph 5/6:

Negative things you thought about the film; story, setting, special effects and music.

With such a hard hitting story that delves to beautifully into the truth of poverty, culture and family, Lion is hard to fault. Even the most painful parts of the movie- namely the difficulty of bringing up Saroo’s adoptive brother Mantosh and Saroo’s temptation to give up on his journey, all create a tension which is so profound in the particular story. I felt Saroo’s relationship with Roony Mara was not needed in assisting the storyline and her depiction of Lucy had too much attention for my liking. Perhaps the sudden jump to an older Saroo was a shock, as I found myself ‘missing’ the innocent younger boy, played by sunny Pawar. His enactment of 5 year old Saroo was beautifully natural, in a way only a small boy can reflect so easily.

Paragraph 7/8:

Talk about the characters. Did the actors play them well? Are there particular characters you like? Are there particular characters you don’t like?

Having said this, Dev Patel’s Saroo blended a yearning to explore his culture, with a clear Western tint that his Australian upbringing had created. This forced the audience to reflect on ‘nature and nurture’, and how important these two aspects of someone’s life are. Nicole Kidman delivers some of the finest work of her career as Sue, mother to Saroo and his adoptive brother. She perfectly resembles a mother who so clearly cares for her son but understands the implements of not being his biological mother and wishes him to continue on his quest.

Paragraph 9:

Final comments – General comments that summarise your view of the film. Summarise it positively if you want them to go and see it! Summarise it negatively if you want to encourage them not to. Finally……5 star rating!

Lion’s storyline was undeniably uplifting and heartfelt, with such beautiful cinematics of light and colour, assisted by musical pieces of joy and sentimentality. This film is one you must see, not only for such an incredible true story but also the cultural heritage for Saroo in India- a country where family and unconditional love comes above the poverty and troubles they encounter


Eliza Densham 


From film reviews to book reviews, we decided it would be a nice idea to document what everyone is currently reading! We used the chat section to share our recommended reads, which I will attach below. 


Group one are currently reading:


The Hobbit -J.R.R Tolkien 

One of Us Is Lying- Karen M. McManus

Charlotte Sometimes- Penelope Farmer 

All the Light we cannot see- Anthony Doerr

Chinese Cinderella- Adeline Yen Mah

House of Secrets- Chris Columbus 

Life of Pi- Yann Martel 

The knife of never letting go- Patrick Ness

Bad hair days- J.M Forster

Point Blanc Alex Rider- Anthony Horrowitz

Ruby Redford- Lauren Child 

The Girl of Ink and Stars- Kiran Millwood Hargrave


Group two are currently reading:


The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde

City of Ember- Jeanne DuPrau 

In Cold Blood- Truman Capote 

Lord of the Flies- William Golding 

Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury 

The book thief- Markus Zusak

Home fire- Kamilla Shamsie

Naughts and Crosses- Malorie Blackman 

Swing Time- Zadie Smith 

The 49th Mystic- Ted Dekker 



A reminder that the ‘Life in Lockdown’ competition is still open for entries, more details and how to enter are still available on the previous blog posts and our social media channels. 


Until next week, stay safe and keep writing! 



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