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Two films on four

The Devil Wears Prada (2005)

I missed out on this movie when it came out and never got the DVD. It’s the ultimate fashion film, dare I say it written by women for women to be watched by women. Nothing wrong in that, for years women have had to endure testosterone-laden war and cowboy films.

Nonetheless I am not a woman and the glitzy world of high fashion leaves me cold. So does the actress Meryl Streep.

For me you are watching a highly-talented actress going through the motions of performance with froideur so I cannot put her up there with Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis.

My personal favourites are Kristin Scott Thomas and Cate Blanchett.

I found the film more interesting from the point of view of the boss/PA relationship.

Young and intelligent Andy (Anna Hathaway) scurries away to the every whim and caprice of  Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), modeled on the legendary editor of Vogue, Anne “Nuclear” Wintour. There was enough about it to keep me engaged.


Mr Turner (2014)

Again I missed out on Mike Leigh’s film about J.W.M. Turner. It’s not really a biopic as it only covers his last 25 years – whilst he was a prodigy entering the Royal Academy aged 14. There he was nicknamed “Pass the mustard” Turner as so many of his seascapes are bathed in a yellow hue.

Although arguably the finest marine painter of all time, the film concentrated more on his colourful personal life, divided between his housekeeper Hannah Danny (Dorothy Atkinson), who bore him two children, and a widow named Sophia Booth (Marion Bailey) he met whilst boarding in Margate.

Timothy Spall gave a fine performance as Turner even learning to paint for the role.

He caught his cockney accent (Turner’s father was a Covent Garden barber) perfectly and the coarseness of his manner contrasted with the stuffiness of his fellow Academicians.

I would have preferred a more rounded picture of the painter but it was rather a beautiful film on a complex genius, but aren’t all geniuses complex?

Film on Four is reliable source of post-war movies but I do find the lengthy ad breaks highly disruptive.


About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts