January Film Review: 1917, Little Women, and The Personal History of David Copperfield

After finishing my mock exams to varying degrees of success a month ago, I decided to get a membership to my local cinema and actually go and see the films that I’d been meaning to see for a long time. It was the perfect time for it as well, as the cinemas are currently brimming with good films! Here’s a run-down of what I saw, and what I thought! I know that this is a bit late, but even though January ended seventeen days ago, I thought that these films were really worth discussing. This is my first film review, so I’m learning as I go!

1. Little Women

Prior to seeing this film, I heard many positive things about it; both through word-of-mouth and reading reviews of it online, so I thought that it was definitely worth a trip to the cinema. I got very confused because the movie did not move in chronological order, instead, it flits between the past and the present, indicating this to the audience through changes in lighting. I did get a bit distracted though, because I made the rookie mistake of buying Maltesers beforehand, and when in the cinema I was trying my best to eat them without being too noisy. Never again.

When I talk to people about my confusion surrounding the film, they say “But have you read the book?” which is a fair point, but I think that shouldn’t be a prerequisite for understanding the storyline of a film. That aside, Little Women was really well made, with everyone’s favourites Meryl Streep and Timothée Chalamet starring, as well as some great costumes and set.

2. The Personal History of David Copperfield

I really enjoyed this light-hearted, fun film; the story flowed really well, and a stellar cast really brought the characters to life. Dev Patel was a perfect David Copperfield, and the story had a great pace and flowed well. The film has been widely praised for its diverse casting, providing an example for the rest of the industry of how it should be done. There were many stand-out performances in the film, and many comedic moments were delivered really well.

3. 1917

After wins at the Golden Globes and Baftas, 1917 seemed set to win big at the Oscars this month. I’ve seen 1917 twice, and I cried and jumped at the jumpscares both times, even though I knew exactly what was coming. The one-take idea is incredibly effective, and provides for a very immersive viewing experience. It means that we learn about the characters through their discussions with the people they meet on the way and through how they react to different situations, and this significantly adds to the tension. When I initially saw the publicity campaigns for the film and heard about it through word of mouth, the fact that the film starred actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth and Andrew Scott seemed to take up alot of the discussion, but in reality, it is the less well-known actors, George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman, who are the standout performances in their leading roles.

As someone who is really into history, I really appreciated how the film develops an awareness of the scale of the war, as the personal struggles of the two protagonists could be multiplied to apply to the millions of soldiers that were in the same position during the First World War. If you don’t usually like war films, you may like this one – while there are certainly some gory moments, at its core it is a film about human nature and how we act when we are pushed to our limits.

I’d love to know what you thought about these films, so please leave a comment below!

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