TIFF 2018 Review: TELL IT TO THE BEES (UK 2018) ***1/2

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Tell It to the Bees Poster
A single mother Lydia (Holliday Grainger) who is abandoned by her husband, meets the small village’s Doctor Jean Markham (Anna Paquin) who has recently returned to her hometown when Lydia’s…See full summary »


Annabel Jankel


Henrietta Ashworth (adaptation), Jessica Ashworth(adaptation) | 1 more credit »

Based on the novel by Fiona Shaw with a post World War II setting, TELL IT TO THE BEES comes from the very little heard proverb about keeping secrets from neighbours but telling it to the bees.  This is a lesbian love story taking place in a Scottish small town, so it be best that this be kept a secret. 

 A brilliant female doctor (Anna Paquin) has just moved to the village.  She befriends a young boy.  When the boy’s mother and him is evicted rom their home after the father has left them, the doctor takes them in, only to start a love affair and relationship with the mother.  This is an emotional gut wrenching tale but with a fairy tale twist that takes away some of the story’s credibility.  But who can turn away a good fairly tale these days?  

Director Jankel loves the Scottish countryside and her film shows this – with lots of beautiful Scottish landscape scenery.

Trailer: (clip) http://www.thehollywoodnews.com/2018/09/07/tiff-2018-new-clip-for-tell-it-to-the-bees-with-anna-paquin-holliday-grainger/

Movie Review: THE FINEST HOURS (2016)

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the_finest_hoursTHE FINEST HOURS (USA 2016) **
Directed by Craig Gillespie

Starring: Chris Pine, Holliday Grainger, Casey Affleck

Review by Gilbert Seah

Following hot on the heels (or rather on the keel) of Ron Howard’s recently released sea adventure, the critically and box-office flop IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, THE FINEST HOURS follows a crew of men fighting the elements, which is just as intense though without a Moby Dick-type monster. The plus of the two films is the authentic claustrophobic atmosphere in the vessel when the men are sailing, something that will surely discourage those intending to take a cruise some time soon.
The title ‘based on a true story’ immediately flashes on the screen at the film’s start and the film is clear to remind its audience of this fact throughout the film.

The film is a Hollywood account of the daring 1950s rescue mission by the American Coast Guard. An oil tanker, the Pendleton is split in half by a perfect storm. The surviving sailors are left adrift with no means of communication exempt to blast the horn. A member of the nearby community hears the call and a coast guard boat led by the hero, Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) with his crew then risk their lives to find and rescue the sailors. On the tanker’s side, the hero is the chief engineer, Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck).

Director Gillespie spends too much screen time at the start with the romance between Webber and Miriam (Holliday Grainger). All this is to emphasize the heroism and sacrifice of both the men and the women by their side. Gillespie directed LARS AND THE REAL GIRL and therefore uses his past experience in putting in relationships into this film. As in most Disney films, the money making formula is kept to a ’t’.
Romance, action, a happy ending with good heroic dialogue like: “We are all going home.” The problem resulting is a too predictable film.

There is one segment in which all power is lost in the town as a result of the storm and the rescue boat, without a compass needs to find land. I could predict all the cars turning on the headlamps to signal the boat way before that scene occurred.

Once the storm occurs, Gillespie crosscuts between the action in the oil tanker and the action in the Coast Guard boat. It is a 50-50 division. What occurs inn the tanker turns out the more interesting, aided by the fact that the script emphasizes problems between Ray and a disagreeable mate (Michael Raymond McTavish) who has his own ideas on survival. The introduction of a singing cook (Abraham Benrubi) lifts the spirit of an otherwise too serious film.

But one can only endure special effects (not bad ones though) for only so long.

Disney’s THE FINEST HOURS ends up one of the most boring tales of an incredible true mission despite all the enormous effort put in. THE FINEST HOURS is a tad better than IN THE HEART OF THE SEA but that is not saying much.


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