May’s film calendar was all about Cannes where many films we can see throughout the year have their premieres. So it is worth mentioning that the only two British representatives for the coveted Palme d’Or were septuagenarians.
Mike Leigh’s (age 71) Mr Turner, a biopic about the last 25 years of England’s celebrated painter JMW Turner, competes against 77-year-old Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall, another, albeit, loosely based, biopic about Jimmy Gralton, an Irishman exiled after setting up a music hall in the 1930s.
These British stalwarts are not the most senior directors in competition. Goodbye to Language, 83-year-old Jean-Luc Godard’s latest (if not last?) film has also been selected for competition.
Not at Cannes, but released on June 20th, is 84-year-old Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys, an adaptation of the Tony-Award winning Broadway musical about the rise and fall of the legendary quartet, the Four Seasons.
Eastwood, too, is no stranger to biopics, but a musical adaptation is an unusual one, even for the versatile Eastwood.
His love of music, already evident from films such as Honkytonk Man (Country and Western) and Bird (Jazz) will be updated with this ambitious tribute to 1960s rock ‘n’ roll.
Fresh from Cannes, Jimmy’s Hall is now playing as is 81-year-old Roman Polanski’s intense, two-hander, Venus in Fur, which pairs his stunning wife, Emmanuelle Seigner with the brilliant Mathieu Amalric, and Grace of Monaco, which opened the Cannes Festival.
Real princesses have not fared as well as animated princesses in movies, with Diana being mauled by the critics while Frozen, about an Ice Princess, received this year’s animation Oscar.
Grace of Monaco, too, received negative reviews from Cannes, but Grace of Monaco is not without interest. Rare in the annals of Hollywood, 46-year-old Nicole Kidman is playing both a 26- and a 32-year-old Grace Kelly, an astonishing feat that Ms Kidman pulls off, with the help of a stunning 1950s and 1960s wardrobe that is worth the price of admission.
Director Olivier Dahan sets the main action in 1962 when, in a surreal contrast Hitchcock is enticing Grace back to Hollywood with the script for Marnie while Prince Rainier is under siege by Charles de Gaulle and facing the loss of the GrimaldiKingdom.
There is so much potential in this story that it’s a shame the often daft script distracts with numerous misjudged scenes.
The big climax is supposed to be Grace’s big ‘I am Monaco, I am love’ speech that (quite inaccurately) melts De Gaulle at a charity ball she organises to diffuse the crisis.
That Kidman could contain laughter and produce tears is about the only sign of her acting skills that is on show here.
by Joyce Glasser, Mature Times film reviewer