Tag Archives: Sam Claflin


Charlotte Salomon knew how lucky she was to escape Germany during the war, fleeing to the south of France between 1941 and 1943 where she sought refuge at a friend’s estate. She may have left Germany, but she knew she couldn’t outrun everything. Some things follow you no matter where you go.

Family haunted Charlotte from either side of the border, a long string of suicided ghosts making her question her own fate, as well as from the camps of the Holocaust where relatives have disappeared steadily. In hiding from the Nazis, Charlotte meets and marries her love, but she still can’t shake her own sense of mortality. She spends her days painting frantically, motivated to leave a record. Though young, she’s determined to paint her own autobiography, nearly 1000 images, memorializing those she’d lost and paying tribute to her own strife.

Charlotte Salomon was murdered in a gas chamber shortly after her arrival at Auschwitz in October 1943. She was 26 and pregnant. Like so many, Charlotte was supposed to be forgotten, wiped from history, but after her death, her family unearthed the paintings she’d carefully packed away.

This animated film is a tribute to her life and to her work. It honours her memory but remembers her as a real person, a young woman and talented artist who should have had a long future in front of her. Not unlike her own graphic style, the film uses bold, colourful images to recount Charlotte’s short life.

A certain film once posited that every time a bell rang, an angel got some wings. I’m of the belief that every time you watch this movie, a Nazi ghost gets a pineapple shoved up his rear. Do your part. Don’t let her memory fade. Marion Cotillard, Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, Sam Claflin, and Jim Broadbent lend their voices to make this film come alive, and if you need further enticement, I hear the pineapple crop’s particularly robust this year.

Charlotte is an official selection of TIFF 2021.

Enola Holmes

Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) has had a strange but delightful childhood, raised and educated by her mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter) in a manner perhaps inappropriate for a fine young lady of her time, but according to Eudoria’s own standards. Eudoria valued intellect and wit of course, but also independence (hence Enola’s name, alone spelled backwards) and a free spirit. They were happy together, not even lonely though Enola’s father had passed and her brothers left home years ago. But waking on her 16th birthday Enola finds that her mother has disappeared and left her no choice but to summon her older brothers.

Brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill) is a bit of a famous detective – maybe you’ve heard of him? And Mycroft (Sam Claflin) is the persnickety one who finds his sister’s lack of social graces to be untenable. He lines up a finishing school to send her away to, so of course she absconds, not unlike her mother has. Enola has gone to London of course, not just to find out where her mother is, but who her mother is, or was. To do it, she’ll have to stay one step ahead of brother Sherl, who is a a bit of a sleuth himself, and not easy to outwit.

The part suits Millie Bobby Brown to perfection – plucky, canny, charming and engaging, she adds a new dimension to the already beloved and fully realized Holmes universe, not only proving her worth but making room for herself and room for change. Sherlock has always lived very much inside himself, apart from and above the rest of the world, of whom he takes little notice unless they’re part of the case. Enola, however, is very much a product of and a force of change in England, which is already in flux when we meet her in 1884. Though she spent her early years in near isolation with her mother, her future is very much her own to make of it what she will.

Love. Wedding. Repeat.

Haley and Roberto are getting married. Their perfect Roman wedding has one important variable: the table full of English friends. Among them sit Haley’s brother Jack (Sam Claflin), Jack’s ex-girlfriend Amanda (Freida Pinto), Amanda’s insecure current boyfriend Chaz (Allan Mustafa), “maid” of honour Bryan (Joel Fry), the world’s most boring man Sydney (Tim Key), Dina (Olivia Munn), the journalist with whom Jack had a brief encounter but enduring infatuation several years ago, Rebecca (Aisling Bea), the saucy guest who’ll keep oversharing, and of course Marc, the very much uninvited guest who could derail it all.

The beautiful bride Haley implores darling brother Jack to do her a solid: save her wedding day by dosing coked up ex-boyfriend Marc with just a little bit of sleeping tonic. Harmless. Except that little bit of sleeping drought is in the bottom of a glass on a table where the seating cards have all been mixed up. There’s a 1 in 8 chance any of the above people is about to take a non-consensual nap.

It’s not quite Groundhog Day, but we do get to see several alternatives depending on who gets dosed. Sometimes things go hilariously wrong and sometimes they go sadly wrong and sometimes just resoundingly wrong.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Sam Claflin but he doesn’t detract much from the movie, so I’ll give him that. I just think if you can get someone with a personality, why hire this cardboard cutout? He’s overpowered by literally every other guest at the wedding and he’s supposed to be our protagonist. Thankfully Key and Bea do a lot of the heavy lifting, lending levity to the film and a much needed spark of life.

Director Dean Craig takes a tired concept (revisited often by Netflix offerings) and has little to contribute. His butt is saved by a couple of stand-out performances in a movie otherwise as bland as the banquet chicken I’m sure they served.

Charlie’s Angels (2019)

Old Bosley (Patrick Stewart) out, new Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) in; turns out, Bosley wasn’t a name, it was a rank.

Sabina (Kristen Stewart) and Elena (Naomi Scott) are fellow Angels and kind of frenemies but not only are they going to need to get along for this next mission, they’ll also be training a newbie on the fly as mild-mannered, law-abiding layperson Jane (Ella Balinska) gets swept up into the fray.

Jane is a systems engineer who blows the whistle on a piece of tech that sounds revolutionary and life-changing but also dangerous and possibly weaponized. So of course the Angels are called upon to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, and believe me, several grubby, evil little hands are doing the “gimme gimme” gesture in its direction. The Angels are willing to risk their lives to save us all, but they more they uncover the more their own agency seems compromised and nobody knows who to trust.

The movie got off to a rocky start for me because it was a little too “girl power!” And obviously I’m all about strong, capable women but let’s just show rather than tell. We don’t always need banners and slogans. But the movie seemed to get that stuff out of the way pretty early on, and then we hurtle through action sequences like it’s against the law to slow down.

The movie isn’t as bad as you likely heard from early reviews, but it never quite manages to be all that you want it to be either. If you’re remaking this particular movie in 2019, maybe make it subversive? Maybe challenge the status quo? Definitely justify its existence by updating some of the more dated concepts and definitely, definitely have fun with it. That’s its biggest problem: a lack of identity. It’s never really sure where on the spectrum of action movies it wants to fall and it never dazzles us with any distinguishing features. When the Angels’ closets are revealed, containing a to-die-for wardrobe, heavy weaponry, and a plethora of beautiful bobbles and accessories all hiding James Bond-type gadgets, there’s no zeal. I wanted pageantry. I wanted at least as much fun as the boys in the Kingsman movies, combined with the snappy chemistry between Melissa McCarthy and Miranda Hart in Spy.

Kirsten Stewart appears to enjoy showing off but otherwise there’s little fizz on the screen. It feels like work for them, and indeed I admit that I don’t appear to be having fun at my job either, and it would also make for a rather boring movie. But if you’re bothering to make this a movie, then I want glamour and I want fun. I want you to either embrace the silliness and really go for it, or I want you to skewer the concept and serve it on a silver platter with so much garnish I don’t know what to do with it. I do not want you to take the well-traveled, extremely trampled middle path of been there, done that.


Tami (Shailene Woodley) is a grass-smoking, pukka-shell-wearing rootless wanderer, working odd jobs from one port to the next just to avoid going home. In some marina she meets Richard (Sam Claflin), and he cooks her a vegetarian “version” of fish, which turns out to be salad, fyi.

I don’t care for Sam Claflin, and he’s not gaining any ground with his lackluster performance here. I felt rather neutrally about Shailene Woodley before today, and I can MV5BYWI2NzA3YTgtZjZjMS00MmM3LThkY2QtYmQ3Nzg2YmIwZmY0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDE5MTU2MDE@._V1_tell you with certainty she’s dipped into the negatives with this film, in which she over-relies on a screechy giggle she mistakes for endearing, even while narrating a letter she’s handwriting to her mother, which apparently was peppered with LOLs even though the movie takes place in 1983, and I doubt LOLs existed then. They just had to let mothers find something funny, or not, on their own back then. It was the dark ages.

I’m biased. I hate making heroes out of stupid white people who take needless risks and do dumb shit and then expect us to drop everything to rescue them when they inevitably get into trouble. We cannot manage to feed and house all the children in our society, but we’ll spend a million dollars to rescue a couple of people nature was trying to survival-of-the-fittest on the top of a mountain, or in this case, out to sea. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for these two, and was frequently and quickly so bored-slash-agitated with this movie, I wished them dead.

I don’t know if this movie is based on a true story, and if it is, I suppose I don’t actually wish them dead. Probably. I mean, on the one hand, it must be a true story, because how else did they name her Tami? I mean, Tammy is bad enough, but Tami? But on the other hand, who would pay for such a generic story? I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to be like, lost at sea bad, not enough food, etc. It does, however, take a special brand of moron to be starving but still refuse to hurt innocent fish by killing them for food.  I mean, after a few hungry days, some people will eat their own mothers, but she clings to her vegetarianism like she hopes to die a self-righteous twat. Meanwhile, Richard loafs about with a gruesome injury, doing an annoying self-pitying routine that gets so annoying you’ll want to throw him overboard yourself.


My Cousin Rachel

Philip (Sam Claflin), receives distressing news from his cousin and guardian, who adopted him as an orphaned baby. While recovering from an illness in Italy, he met and married a woman and now has regrets. If his strange and hasty missives are to believed, this woman, Rachel (Rachel Weisz), is trying to kill him. Philip rushes off to intervene but his guardian is dead before he arrives. He swears vengeance on the widow but she has conveniently disappeared.

Philip returns home, to the estate he will now inherit once he comes of age – and luckily, MV5BMDYxOTU1ZDItYjJkMC00ZTVmLWFhZDktNDFiODRlODI1MzQ4L2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDcxNzU3MTE@._V1_his required 25th birthday is right around the corner. But before it can be celebrated, the ballsy widow shows up for a social call. Draped in black, she looks like a grieving widow, but passionate kiss shared between the two perhaps belie other motives. Of course, this particular widow does not look like the wicked witch of Philip’s dreams, but seeing how she’s played by the enchanting Rachel Weisz, probably looks more like the woman in a different kind of dream altogether.

So the film’s central mystery unfolds: is Rachel trying to seduce young Philip into sharing his inheritance (the will was never changed to reflect her at all), or are there genuine feelings here? Whichever way you lean, this is a dark romance at best. A bad romance (roma, ro-a-a?). Which of course is intoxicating to stupid virginal Philip who will follow his cock just about anywhere it seems.

Gothic and moody, Rachel Weisz is a commanding and alluring black widow. Unfortunately, director Roger Michell has less of a firm grip on this Du Maurier mystery. Did she or didn’t she?  Either he doesn’t know, or doesn’t care. So it’s less satisfying than it should be. But ambiguity would have been just fine by me; it’s what allows us to contemplate Rachel’s precarious position and explore the feminist slant – is a woman left penniless and powerless acting in her own self-interest really all that shocking or evil? In any case, Weisz is the reason to watch. Her every moment on screen is magnetic.

TIFF: Their Finest

London, 1940: most have gone to war but a few are left behind to entertain the people in this bleak time. The department of war is demanding that happy-ending war movies be churned out for morale.

At any rate, Lone Scherfig’s Their Finest was indeed a boost to my morale. Of course I love Bill Nighy, and he’s at his Nighest, with his signature gestures and snorts. He plays a very vain actor who can’t quite believe he’s perhaps aged past leading-man status. Luckily a diplomatic new writer, theirfinestCatrin (Gemma Arterton) hired to write “slop” (ie, the female dialogue) appeases him by enlarging the role of the drunk uncle just for him. Convincing her boss Tom (Sam Claflin) to let her do this is as infuriating and degrading as you’d imagine – until he starts to fall in love with her, of course.

Keep in mind that though they’re writing about the Miracle of Dunkirk, the war is still raging, and Catrin must decide whether to risk losing the thread of her story every time the air raid sirens go off. The cramped office remains nearly a sanctuary but outside the city is badly bruised.

The war was a time when, with young men absent, older gentlemen and women stepped up to get the work done. Catrin is constantly reminded, however, that her employment status won’t hold up when the boys return. untitledShe mustn’t get too attached to feeling useful or creative. The war makes everything tenuous.

But despite this sounding rather dire, it is very much a comedy, and a bit of a love letter to film making. The laughs are plentiful, robust. The stars are endlessly charming. I haven’t much cared for Sam Claflin and don’t have much of an opinion on Gemma Arterton, but both are excellent here. Nighy of course, is a prize scene-stealer, and he deftly makes away with every one he’s in. Sometimes the war is seen through rose-tinted glasses (a nostalgic effect?) but when the war does assert itself, it leaves a crater. This one’s not to be missed.

Me Before You(thanasia)

We saw this movie against our wills. It was part of a double bill we had no interest in seeing but it was at the drive-in on the warmest, most starry, most perfect drive-in night of the year, and it couldn’t be helped.

The premise: a young woman named Lou (Emilia Clarke) goes to work at a castle, caring for a recently quadriplegic man, Will (Sam Claflin). Cut down in the prime of his life and 635906306787211507-XXX-ME-BEFORE-YOUunable to accept his new limitations and circumstances, Will is surly and depressed. It makes for an unpleasant work environment for Lou but her financial desperation keep her hanging on, just barely, and that’s BEFORE she finds out he’s wickedly suicidal. Will’s in favour of going to Switzerland for end of life treatment now that life’s rather small and joyless, but he’s promised his parents six months, so he’s gritting his teeth as he suffers through them. Lou’s going to save him of course, with her quirk and her chattiness and her colourful penchant for terrible shoes, even if she has to make him fall in love with her to do it.

First of all, this felt very much like a poor man’s rip off of The Intouchables, in which another unlikely friendship blossoms between quadriplegic and caregiver, also marked by a disparity between social class. But I’d heard that Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart were set for that particular  (unnecessary) remake (read: lazy Americans hate subtitles!). I guess this one justifies itself by having a predictable and pedestrian romantic twist that even the dude’s mother (Janet McTeer!) sees coming from a mile away, even without help from her turret. Because again: they live in a freaking castle. It’s a good thing that disabled people Emilia-Clarke-and-Sam-Claflin-in-Me-Before-Youare always so ridiculously wealthy. Life might actually look a little bleak without the tricked out vans, front row orchestra seats, fully accommodated living spaces, round the clock care, and even accessible tropical travel destinations. It kind of makes you wonder whether these poverty-stricken caregivers are falling in love with their patient, or with their patient’s lifestyle. And in this movie at least, Will truly does not have anything to give but his money. He’s just an angry guy in a chair.

And his tissue-thin character isn’t even the worst. Lou is played over-exuberantly by Emilia Clarke in such a way that I just wanted to hold her down, knee on neck, and wax those damn eyebrows off. I usually love a big juicy eyebrow but watching hers jump all over her face like not one but two hungry caterpillars were performing a pixi-stix-fuelled ballet made me want to lob a bug bomb at the screen and call it a night. Her tone was completely wrong for the film and as much as Will was a grump unworthy of love, I think she’d be even less of an attractive mate, particularly to someone who can’t get away. Luckily, if you begin to feel queasy about the whole Cinderella\sugar daddy in a wheel chair “plot”, you can distract yourself with the many swelling ballads obnoxiously shoved into the movie willy-nilly. Worst movie music ever? You decide, but I will say this: this is a two-Ed-Sheeran-songs kind of movie. That’s probably enough said.

So now we can get to the meat: the disabled community HATES this movie. Will wants to die because life as he knew it is over, and they feel like that’s a pretty horrible attitude to me_before_you_lowresproject onto the world, and they’re not wrong. Is this a disability snuff film? Disabled lives are worth living, and many are living well. However, living with a disability and living with pain are not the same. I live with both, and am extremely glad that I live in a place where I have the “right” to die. It’s not in my immediate plans, but some days just knowing I have that option is all that gets me out of bed. When the pain is bad, I know that I can end my suffering when I choose, and that gives me strength. If you think love conquers all, then you’ve never walked a mile in my shoes. Pain conquers all. Pain is bigger than the whole world.

Disabled people are people: they should be respected and portrayed fairly in TV and film as part of our diverse world. And it’s a really sad commentary when the only time they’re included in the conversation is when they’re being presented like this, the object of an impossible romance and too big a burden to live. But the right to die is about dignity. Whether Will (or anyone) decides euthanasia is the right thing for them or not, it’s a deeply personal decision, and maybe it’s time the rest of us stop judging.

Love, Rosie

Hell’s bells this movie is obnoxious. It’s the worst kind of “chick flick” that makes my womb want to shrivel up and die of embarrassment. It’s an unforgivable piece of romantic trash that simply worships the boy meets girl, boy and girl fail to see they’re perfect for each other, boy and girl keep missing each other, but inevitably finally do get together and live happily ever after trope. Haven’t we done this one to death?

Screenshot-44-132The boy (Sam Claflin) and the girl (Lily Collins) are best friends, so of course they can’t bone, they just don’t think of each other that way. Until they do. But only one at a time. Inconvenient! (To true love. Very convenient as a lazy plot device.)

The verdict: not a movie for anyone who wants to wake up with self-respect in the morning. However, if you’re single again and it’s still a little raw, and you find yourself buying oversized bottles of wine, and you’re in your jammies by 7pm – the kind where you’ve got your pants tucked into your sweat socks, and even your cat thinks you’re lousy company, and all date night means to you these days is a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and a certain genre of movie you refer to as “the weepies”, then what have you got to lose?