THE FAVOURITE
2018, Fox Searchlight, 119 min, Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos

Early 18th-century England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time-consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.


LA LA LAND
2016, Lionsgate, 128 min, USA, Dir: Damien Chazelle

Written and directed by Academy Award nominee Damien Chazelle (WHIPLASH), LA LA LAND tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern-day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams. “Every once in a while, you come out of a movie theater feeling like you’re walking on air. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it restores your faith in the power of cinema. Damien Chazelle’s dreamy neo-retro musical LA LA LAND is one of those rare films.” - Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly


THE HELP
2011, Walt Disney Pictures, 146 min, USA, Dir: Tate Taylor

In the summer of 1963, recent college graduate and aspiring author Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns home to Jackson, Mississippi for the summer, only to discover that the friends she left behind (a fire-breathing Bryce Dallas Howard among them) have become malignantly conformist housewives-in-training, with nasty racist opinions suddenly in full swing. Stunned by how the same young girls who were so lovingly raised by black domestics could grow up to be such biggots, Skeeter suddenly realizes the book she wants to write: a collection of interviews with black maids in her community. Particularly hesitant is Abileen Clarke (an excellent Viola Davis), who doesn't want to stir up trouble, but when the racist atmosphere of Jackson reaches a dangerous fever pitch with the assassination of Medgar Evers, she knows her story must be shared at any cost. With an impressive supporting cast including Jessica Chastain as the good-hearted, bottle-blond outsider in town, Octavia Spencer as Abileen's smart-mouthed friend and fellow domestic and Allison Janney as Skeeter's cancer-stricken mother. Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Davis) and two for Best Supporting Actress (Spencer and Chastain).


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