Film Friday #273

Testament of Youth (2014)

This cinematic interpretation of Vera Brittain’s (Alicia Vikander) memoir spanning WWI looks at coming of age in one of the most turbulent times in modern history and what it meant for a generation of young British people. Vera comes from a privileged family where her parents’ greatest wish is for her to marry well. She on the other hand dreams of attending Oxford University but the outbreak of war leads her to follow what she feels is her duty and become a nurse. At the same time she watches (and even encourages) her brother (Taron Egerton), best friend (Colin Morgan) and fiancé (Kit Harington) to go to ”fight the Hun” but it is not long before all romantic notions of warfare fade under the its brutal realities . As war films go Testament of Youth talks a good game but is still highly sanitised and never truly explores the horrors of war. That said Vikander is excellent and Vera is a complex and relatable heroine. Unfortunately Kit Harington is better suited to roles that require him to have a beard, say very little and wave a sword around, which means she acts him under the table. Average. 3/5


Look, you just have to face that no one fancies you without the beard

Dear White People (2014)

On the eve of a “black-themed” party at fictional Ivy League College, Winchester University four African-American students contemplate who they are, their place in the world and what the future will hold all in the context of race. Sam White (Tessa Thompson) is the voice of a radio show that attempts to make white people think about their behaviour in the context of race by dropping little bon mots that start with “Dear White People”. Colandrea ‘Coco’ Conners (Teyonah Parris) is focused on social mobility and making it in reality TV and doesn’t think her race should be relevant… except it seems everywhere she goes it is. Troy (Brandon P Bell) is trying to change the system from the inside but is afraid of being too radical. And Lionel (Tyler James Williams) feels like his sexuality alienates him from his fellow black students. A lot of the dialogue in Dear White People is very well written and exactly the kind of thing that provides food for thought around white privilege and racial politics and most of the characters are able to represent groups without being too stereotypical. On the other hand it feels like by trying to keep everyone on side director, Justin Simien loses the impact of his ultimate message and I feel like I can’t actually tell you what it was apart from maybe examine yourself and your own prejudices. Wasted potential. 2.5/5


The group was finding it hard not to react to Kit Harington’s lack of beard

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982)

Disaffected teen, Corinne Burns (Diane Lane) has been struggling to cope since the death of her mother. She doesn’t see much point in getting a job, falling in love or engaging with society. What she does want to do is start her own punk band with her sister (Marin Kanter) and cousin (Laura Dern). Unfortunately none of them can play their instruments or have any talent. Fortunately that’s never really been a barrier to rock stardom and after Corrinne is interviewed on TV she unintentionally becomes an icon for other angry teenage girls. It’s just a pity that her manifesto is something she randomly made up on the spot. If that wasn’t enough The Fabulous Stains find themselves on tour with a British punk band and despite her convictions Corinne can’t help but be drawn to their lead singer (Ray Winstone). With themes around female empowerment, sexuality, exploitation and the fickleness of the media, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains is surprisingly relevant despite being 34 years old. Lane stands out as an up and coming star. Unfortunately none of the other characters get much development and the story is a little bit undercooked but it’s a fun watch nonetheless. 3/5


My message to the world is, “Kit Harington needs to grow back his fucking beard! Thank you and good night!”

Ride Along (2014)

Pint-sized security guard, Ben (Kevin Hart) wants nothing more than to marry his girlfriend, Angela (Tika Sumpter) but before he can do that he’ll have to get her cop brother, James’ (Ice Cube) approval. James thinks Ben is a bit of a waste of space, especially after he accidentally set him on fire at a bbq so Ben decides his best course of action is to sign up for the Police Academy. In an attempt to dissuade and hopefully get rid of Ben for good James agrees to take him on a ride along and sets up a day full of crazy cases and tasks set out to break Ben’s spirit. It appears to be going well as Ben’s enthusiasm, bravado under-pinned with cowardice and big mouth gets him into more and more trouble but when he inadvertently stumbles across some clues that might help James nab his nemesis, the mysterious Omar, he might be forced to rely on him. How much you like this will depend on how funny you think Kevin Hart is and how believable you expect your comedies to be. I don’t think Kevin Hart is particularly funny and I expect my comedies to be either completely surreal or well within the limits of plausibility, so I don’t think Ride Along was for me. However if your feelings about Kevin Hart are different then you are likely to enjoy it a lot more than I did. 2/5


I’m sorry but if Kit Harington doesn’t grow back his beard I will be forced to shoot him


  1. xD The lack of beard on Kit Harington is truly not sitting well with you! Goodness, provided me with a good laugh!

    1. No… he looks weird. I want Jon Snow!

  2. theipc

    Is his face “bald as a beaver”?

    1. As bald as Rosario Dawson’s beaver in Trance.

  3. Yay! You watched The Fabulous Stains!! 🙂 I was afraid you wouldn’t like it but that’s a fair score. I also really liked the movie’s themes. I don’t understand why it’s so obscure? And I so want to be Diane Lane’s character… I wouldn’t watch the others. The first one mainly because Alicia Vikander is so pretty that it kind of gives me a headache.

    1. I suppose at the time the themes were really controversial and that might have gotten it buried. Diane Lane’s character was fantastic though.

      Alicia Vikander is disgustingly beautiful. Like Emily Blunt.

      1. Emily Blunt is gorgeous too. And Charlize Theron, as she apparently pointed out recently?? How it’s hard for pretty actresses like her because they get passed over for good roles. Or something. Wah. lol.

  4. Even as a fan of Kevin Hart I wasn’t sold on Ride Along tbh

    1. It was pretty predictable, which didn’t help.

  5. not a great week for u i guess, No Jon Snow beard and 4 mediocre movies 😦

    better luck next week.

    Ive only see ride along and I dont remember it much..guess it wasnt so memorable 🙂

    1. I am really starting to think all of Jon Snow’s appeal is in the beard. Ride Along is not very memorable. The story is so predictable. It’s just kind of like 10 other movies you’ve already seen before.

  6. MIB

    Am I the only one who doesn’t know who Kit Harington is? 😦

    1. If you don’t watch Game of Thrones I can’t see why you would.

    2. MIB

      Ah…that might explain it… :\

  7. Only seen the first half of the last film of the four and totally agree.

    1. I think you could very easily predict what was going to happen in the second half without actually having to watch it.

  8. I’m most interested in seeing ‘Testament of Youth’ because the premise intrigued me and I love Vikander. Weird seeing that Jon Snow dude without his beard, I have yet to see him in anything as I don’t watch GOT, we’ll see how I feel about him after I watch this one.

    1. I doubt he will blow you away. He’s very wooden.

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