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395. The Souvenir; movie review

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Title : 395. The Souvenir; movie review
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Cert 15
120 mins
BBFC advice: Contains  very strong language, strong sex, drug references

Five years ago, I wrote this...
"It's time for a Joanna Hogg movie and that means nearly two hours in the company of people so alien to me that they might as well live on Jupiter.
"Hogg's work is much admired by movie critics but I struggled with Exhibition for exactly the same reasons as her previous works, Unrelated and Archipelago.
"Again, this is a story of 'arty' middle-class people making life difficult for themselves."
Every one of those words could apply to The Souvenir.
Hoggs's latest film sees a film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) fall for a mature businessman (Tom Burke) with the gift of the gab.
Romance blossoms but it becomes all too clear that he is not being honest about all aspects of his life.
Indeed, when she discovers the truth, the fall-out is devastating for both of them.
Apparently, much of The Souvenir is autobiographical and emphasises that, far from being middle-class as I previously thought she is upper-class, bordering on aristocratic.
If The Souvenir is close to the mark it would indicate that she was academically bright but socially naive and with a very outdated sense of fashion.
Byrne was presumably not only able to draw upon Hogg's own advice on how to portray the lead but also her mum because Tilda Swinton was one of Hogg's schoolmates (as was Diana Spencer - the future Princess Of Wales!).
Swinton even appears in The Souvenir as a rather off-the-wall toff.
Anyway, as said, while The Souvenir has been a hit with critics, it was never likely to light the candle of Mrs W or myself.
I recognise the decent acting but we simply haven't had the same life experiences and so were unable to immerse ourself in this type of social commentary.
Indeed, we found the neediness of the characters very irritating in the light of their privilege.

Reasons to watch: You would need to empathise very closely with the story
Reasons to avoid: Ponderous and depressing

Laughs: None
Jumps: One
Vomit: None
Nudity: Yes
Overall rating: 4/10

Did you know? As a teenager, Joanna Hogg attended West Heath Boarding School where she was classmates with Tilda Swinton and a class above Diana Spencer, future Princess of Wales.

Final word. Honor Swinton Byrne: "Doing this film comforted me because I didn’t feel so alone. It reassured me it is OK to feel a little bit lost and not know what is going on, and stick with your truth.” The Guardian

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