Only great things can come from the director of True Detectives, and with Beasts of No Nation Cary Fukunaga doesn’t disappoint. A compelling war drama film starring Idris Elba and shot in Ghana, it follows a young boy called Agu who lives in a small village, and who is forced to become a child soldier as his country is ripped apart by a brutal civil war. This is a poignant depiction of the devastation that war can bring to a family.
TriStar PicturesThis is without doubt one of the best children’s films of the 1990s. Don’t agree? Stop reading. Matilda is a dark, witty and touching adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book of the same name. Danny DeVito is at his ludicrous, comic best, while Mara Wilson is a perfect fit for the understated but mischievous lead role. If you watched this film as a kid, it’s a great trip down memory lane. And even if you’re a bit too old for that, it’s still a great family film today.
Carlos Somonte / NetflixRoma, Alfonso Cuaron’s newest release since Gravityin 2013, is very different from any film he’s made before. Set against the backdrop of unrest in Mexico City in the early 1970’s, the film follows Cleo (Yalitizio Aparicia), who works as a housekeeper for a young, well-off family. The specificity of the film arises from Cuaron’s direction, as the film is based on the life of the nanny who raised him, Libo, and much of the mis-en-scene in the film is actually from his childhood. While the film is in black and white, and entirely in Chilango Spanish, it’s incredibly moving and absorbing, especially given how gorgeous the cinematography and direction is. Fans of Cuaron who have watched Gravity or Children of Men might be surprised, but this side of Cuaron is worth watching, and Roma is already generating Oscars buzz.