Let me get this out of the way first - just because Tom Burke, Honor Swinton Byrne & Tilda Swinton do a excellent job (the reason for a 5 & not a 3) in this movie (even though Tilda Swinton is little used); the cinematography is good (though a bit washed out, but that could be on purpose based on the total lack of tension in this movie, so why have anything but pastel hues?); the direction I found to very good (even though Joanna Hogg, working from her own script) loves wide framing that seems to collapse on close encounters. The script though is just a lot of talking, talking, talking that seems to be leading us nowhere. Scene after scene of conversation that is all very nice but has little purpose. The only person who has anything interesting or useful is Anthony (Tom Burke). Julie (Honor Swinton Burke) seems to be so unaware that it gets very tedious watching her sleepwalk through this mess. (I have yet to understand the title "The Souvenir" as it relates to the story. I give guesses but the might be spoilers)
This movie is like being with friends & having a nice evening (The reviews &Trailers for this movie) and then just as you open the second bottle of wine they stand up and say now let's go to the den so we can show you the slides of our vacation to the Kansas & Nebraska Prairie! (The movie starts!) (No offense to the great states of Kansas & Nebraska, but you are flat!). This movie builds no tension between its characters, it does nothing but shows a day in the life of a slick, maneuvering man & a woman who has no sense of the world around her & is a prime enabler. Is it about her blind love for him. Is it about his manipulation of her. Is it about her lack of knowledge of...of...well basically everything. I kept hoping this movie would do something, would go somewhere, would show us something that we could care about (especially regarding Julie) but it never did, it just kept wandering and wandering to the expected conclusion with a closing shot (reminiscent of the final shot on The Searchers, although I am sure it was not on purpose).
As you read all the glowing reviews about the acting, etc. I would say 2 things - 1. All that great acting, cinematography, even directing doesn't mean squat without a script that means something and 2. They said that the English Patient was a great movie too!
Quite early on I could tell what was going on in the film. I even had a guess at what the end would be. Despite this, I continued watching expecting more, something big, something shocking and I never really got it. The director does a great job at showing the ins and outs of a toxic relationship, however, it's just not enough.
I wanted to leave early on but stuck it out thinking something would happen soon. The performances were good, but the story was disjointed. What were the reviewers using at Sundance to give it an award?
I was so genuinely bored while watching this movie that I found myself checking the time on my phone constantly throughout. The movie tries to give you a taste of the everyday life of a young woman in film school who is juggling her work and older boyfriend who happens to be an addict, however it is unbearably dreary and dull. The main character is boring and has no defining personality other than being a pushover film student, and her catering to her manipulative boyfriend does not encourage any sympathy. This movie is basically a vignette of nothing happening.
I usually get in line to see a film that has anything to do with A24 film producers. Also 92/100 meta critic rating! Were they watching the same film! It was so boring and has nothing going for it. The characters are not interesting and the story is pointless. The critics are dead wrong about this one in my opinion. Avoid at all costs! It'll bore you to death, that coming from a guy who loves slow burn films.
Hard to imagine that they are making a part 2. I couldn't even get through part 1.
If you think your life is dreary,
or you're sometimes not quite sure,
have pity on posterity.
I had high hopes based on capsule reviews I read, but this is an awful film. Why should anyone care about a self-destructive junkie who has had every advantage in his life and a fool who is a hopelessly romantic enabler? The one redeeming feature is that the cinematography is good. But it doesn't help the story. I assume it is somewhat autobiographical. How sad. It is absolutely dreadful!
Based on a true story: in the 1980s, Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) is a young British woman from a wealthy family and attending film school. She hooks up with Anthony (Tom Burke) who gradually takes advantage of her while trying to hide his serious personality flaws and habits.Swinton Byrne does not, in any way, give a bad performance; in fact, it is rather good. But she lacks the depth and subtlety required to carry the main role in a two-hour movie. Adding to the trouble is Burke whose Tom is as bland as kale and as common as a condo construction project in downtown Toronto. This character is so lacking in charisma and charm that the film becomes an unintentional mystery as the viewer is left to wonder what Julie could possibly see in him with or without his shortcomings.A sad irony is a scene in the film in which a film teacher explains that "Psycho" was a success as most scenes were normal, thus making its abnormal, frightening scenes stand out more. If only writer/director Joanna Hogg had followed the advice that she had written for one of her secondary characters. While the narrative of "The Souvenir" is consistent, it does not have any scene that stands out, making it long and dull.A saving grace was the presence of Tilda Swinton (Swinton Byrne's real-life mother) portraying Julie's mother - emphasis on the word 'presence' which was missing in the primary performances. The film would have benefited with more scenes that included Swinton Senior."The Souvenir" is hyper-praised in the most baffling of ways by most critics. One of the praises is that it's based on a true story. Well, there are billions of true stories that don't make good films. Sadly, "The Souvenir" is one of them.