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Critics reviews
The Souvenir
Joanna Hogg United Kingdom, 2019
Life and art are similarly melded throughout Joanna Hogg’s gorgeously melancholy tale.
August 28, 2019
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This elegant, engrossing film is the latest from Joanna Hogg, one of the great British filmmakers of her generation, and her ultra-controlled, rigorously formal style meets its ideal subject matter: Hogg’s own life.
August 13, 2019
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The Souvenir is a beautifully realized, painful movie that only hits the viewer in the hours and days after seeing it.
August 06, 2019
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The way that The Souvenir oscillates between inhabiting its heroine’s state of hypnotic thrall and snapping out of it to provide a clearer-eyed assessment of her plight—as well as her complicity in it—makes it one of the most impressively directed features of the year.
June 10, 2019
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The revelation doesn’t alter the film’s main themes (innocence, coming of age, emotional dependency), but rather deepens them and takes them in a darker direction. It also dovetails beautifully with Hogg’s visual aesthetic, which is built around an exquisite sense of off-screen space.
May 24, 2019
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There’s a theoretical aspect to Joanna Hogg’s urgent and ambitious autobiographical drama, “The Souvenir,” along with its dramatic one; but, far from reinforcing each other, these two aspects are in conflict—neither wins, but both are weakened.
May 23, 2019
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Buoyed by delicate eroticism and drifting back and forth between staid, observational formalism and quivering naturalism, The Souvenir unfolds as a work of imperfect memory. As in her usual fashion, Hogg has no interest in holding the audience’s hands through easily plottable events; the effect is one of putting places and faces together in an act of dreamy, but potent recollection.
May 17, 2019
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Rarely does a film come along that one wishes would never end. One litmus test for measuring a movie’s success lies in an uncanny feeling only the viewer can discern: do I long to return to my life, or am I rapt here in the theater, in company of these images and stories? Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir is a memorable cinematic lesson, so rich and articulated as to be better described as lived rather than seen.
May 16, 2019
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“The Souvenir” is one of my favorite movies of the year so far, but I almost want to keep it a secret. Partly because it’s the kind of film — we all have a collection of these, and of similar books and records, too — that feels like a private discovery, an experience you want to protect rather than talk about.
May 16, 2019
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Adroitly deploying ellipses in the narrative, Hogg avoids the usual cyclical (and hence predictable) drunk/sober/relapse/repeat structure unavoidably inherent to any addiction narrative.
May 15, 2019
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Pocket descriptions do injustice to the film’s mirror to experience, beautifully realized through a mix of soft portraiture and wide-shot interiors, with Honor Swinton Byrne disarming as Julie in her debut film role, Tom Burke playing out a mesmerizing slow-motion drug-hastened destruction as witty, caddish Anthony, and Tilda Swinton as Julie’s just-so mother.
February 04, 2019
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Theirs is an intoxicating, believable, believably doomed romance. New enough to (and hungry enough for) love to overlook the obvious red flags like his drug problem or the way he takes advantage of her moneyed status, her warm and well-meaning naivity allows Anthony’s coldness to flourish.
February 02, 2019
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