Directed by: Michael Grandage
Written by: Ron Nyswaner
Based on the book by: Bethan Robert’s
Starring: Harry Styles, Emma Corrin, Gina McKee, David Dawson, Rupert Everett, and Linus Roache
My Thoughts Going Into It
The thought of watching Harry Styles act makes me nervous. It brings me back to the episode of iCarly where One Direction guest stars. The acting was yikes, for lack of a better word, but that was to be expected for a group of singers who were not known for their acting.
Nevertheless, watching a movie where he was cast for his acting skills made me nervous and I honestly put off watching this movie for that sole reason. Would people say his acting was good just because he is already a star? Or, would he actually be good at acting? Or, would everyone be extra harsh on him because he is so known for, you know, being himself?
When he was a host on SNL a few years ago. I have to admit that he surprised me with his improved acting skills. But starring in a feature film offers a lot more screen time and more serious content. Welp, let me click play.
While Watching It
I don’t know if it’s the subtle, yet serious English banter that is keeping me from falling into this story, or if it is me being nervous about being critical of Harry’s performance. Either way, something doesn’t feel right. Maybe it is mostly because that is Harry Styles and not Tom?! Partly, yes, indeed, sir.
Also, the actors don’t feel in sync with one another. For people who are supposed to be very connected and indulgent with one another, this confused me. Where is the chemistry? Were there screen tests between the actors before filming began? Overall, I think the lack of chemistry is what is preventing me from caring about the plot, the characters, and the movie as a whole.
I paused the movie and looked up reviews to see if I am the only one feeling this way. While there are many people who loved the film, there is also a group of people who feel the same as I do. There is little to no magnetism between the stars of the film, and being that this movie is based on a book about intense relationships between its characters, this is a major, standout problem.
The second half of the movie is better than the first half, likely because the exposition is over and the story begins. It starts to feel more meaningful and with clear direction. The depth of the movie is all loaded here and it’s heartbreaking in more ways than one. The cinematography also improves a bit and the ending is profound and hard hitting.
It’s Done And Over
Am I missing something here? I really don’t like being so critical of movies because I respect how much work goes into it, from behind-the-scenes, to writing, to acting, to all the bits and bobs here and there. Many people who saw this film at a film festival raved about it, so maybe watching it up on a big screen changes it’s delivery success rate. However, watching it at home alone did not result in it landing well with me.
While it was overall predictable and slow, the older versions of the characters touched me more than the younger ones did. Their stories felt more real, emotions more engrained and intense, and thus, those plot points more poignant and successful in my mind. I have to point out that Emma Corrin, too, was a convincible Marion and brought the charisma the other characters were lacking.
Maybe the soundtrack needs work, maybe the character development needs expansion, maybe all of the above and more. But even with all the negatives I previously pointed out, the ending of the film is still powerful. I think that goes to show how brilliant this movie could have been if the pace was worked with a bit and the character’s emotions were more tangible.
My Rating: 6/10
Harry. Styles. One Direction will always have a place in my heart and good on Harry for giving acting a try. He is a talented guy and I know he is in touch with his emotions enough to be a great actor, but this movie did not showcase that. Maybe that’s entirely because he will always be Harry, the baker from Holmes Chapel, to me. But I wish him well in all that he does. He even said recently that he wants to take a break from acting because it involves a lot of sitting around and he would rather be recording music and preforming instead.
When a policeman, schoolteacher, and museum curator walk into a bar, a secret, predictable, and heartbreaking love triangle ensues.
You can watch it on Amazon Prime.
Thanks for reading,