Tag Archives: lesley manville

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL (2019) – My rating: 7.5/10

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a dark fantasy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, directed by Joachim Rønning, and written by Linda Woolverton, Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. It is a sequel to the 2014 film Maleficent. I enjoyed this sequel and have mostly good things to say about it.

When we last left Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), she had shed her evil disposition, restored the Moors to its former light and was well on her way to being a gracious, reformed God-mother, raising Aurora (Elle Fanning) as her own. Aurora is also now the reigning Queen of the Moors and Maleficent is guardian and protector. However, in the five years since King Stefan’s death, we learn that mistrust and circumstances defined a new Maleficent as evil as the Maleficent of old. What happened to define Maleficent this unearned character judgment? What we didn’t know, was lurking in a nearby kingdom called Ulstead, lived the queen and mother Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) of Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) who is instrumental in shaping most of our thinking about Maleficent. In this sequel, Aurora is proposed to by Prince Phillip. Little did we know, Aurora’s answer to that proposal would be the foundation for which the entire story would be based. While Phillip’s father King John (Robert Lindsay) wishes for peace, his mother Queen Ingrith has been secretly preparing for war. Many lives will change and many truths will be revealed, including a major reveal for the mysterious Maleficent. Hidden in areas of the castle, workers make weapons and ammunition out of iron, deadly to all fairies. Diaval (Sam Reily), Maleficent’s raven and confidante, overhears Phillip proposing to Aurora. When he has relayed this to Maleficent, she advises against the union, but Aurora insists she will be proven wrong.

I enjoyed Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and give kudos to Disney for their diverse employment. I especially like the message this movie sends regarding revenge, evil, gossip and faith. I think this is a good strong story and deserved more acknowledgment than it received.  The film received mixed reviews from critics, with criticism aimed at the “muddled plot and overly artificial visuals”, but praise for the performances of Jolie, Fanning and Pfeiffer. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported the film holds an approval rating of 40% based on 246 reviews, with an average rating of 5.09/10. As of January 31, 2020, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil has grossed $113.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $377.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $491.7 million. Check It Out!

[MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL is Oscar-nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling — Totalling 1 Oscar Nomination]


PHANTOM THREAD (2017) – My rating: 7/10

Phantom Thread is a drama written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  This unusual film is about a couturier who takes a young waitress as his muse.  I didn’t think this film was Oscar worthy nor did I think it made a whole lot of sense.  I did feel the acting was brilliant and the fashions were exquisite.

In 1954 London, renowned fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock (Danial Day-Lewis) creates dresses for members of high society. His charisma and genius is matched by his obsessive, controlling personality. Cyril (Lesley Manville) his sister, manages the day-to-day operations of his fashion house and has significant influence over his life. Reynolds is haunted by the death of their mother, and stitches hidden messages into the linings of the dresses he makes to show the artistry of his work.

While visiting a restaurant in the countryside, Reynolds is drawn to a waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps). After some conversation, he asks her on a date, and she accepts. Their relationship develops, and she moves in with him, becoming his assistant and muse. Cyril initially distrusts Alma but comes to respect her willfulness and determination.

At first, Alma enjoys being a part of Reynolds’ work, but he proves aloof and hard to please, and they bicker. When Alma makes him a romantic dinner, Reynolds lashes out, saying he will not tolerate deviations from the routines he has worked hard to perfect.

Alma poisons Reynolds’ tea with poisonous mushroom gathered outside his country house. As he readies a wedding gown for a Belgian princess, Reynolds collapses, damaging the dress and forcing his staff to work all night to repair it. He becomes gravely ill and has hallucinations of his mother. Alma nurses him back to health and he asks her to marry him. She accepts.

Reynolds and Alma soon start bickering again. As Reynolds feels his work is suffering, he concludes it may be time to send her away. Alma responds by making Reynolds a poisoned omelette. As he chews his first bite, she informs him that she wants him weak and vulnerable with only her to take care of him. Reynolds swallows the omelette and tells her to kiss him.

Where Phantom Thread ends up was unclear to me and I’m not sure it will be any clearer to you.  You will have to see the movie to determine if the rest of the story makes sense to you or not.  I did not see the fabulous plot noted by other critics or the Academy.  As usual, Danial Day-Lewis’ acting was outstanding.  It is rumored that this will be Danial’s final role before retiring. Frankly, I was disappointed by this long and drawn out bazaar story that nearly put me to sleep.  There were some highs but lots of lows.  You’ll have to decide for yourself if Phantom Thread is a worthy movie!

[Phantom Thread is Oscar nominated for BEST: Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Costume Design and Original Score]