Thriller. A mother’s love turns into obsession in this tense nail-biter.
Wheelchair-bound teenager Chloe Sherman (Kiera Allen) is starting to ask uncomfortable questions: why is she being homeschooled, why is there a change-of-name certificate document in the post and why isn’t her name on her medication? And why does the internet disconnect when she googles her mother’s name, Diane Sherman (Sarah Paulson)?
She decides to go on the run . . . in her wheelchair.
This might sound like a random episode on the Crime Channel but newcomer Allen and the magnificent Paulson (American Horror Story) as her maniacal mom elevate it to something special. Its twisted mother-daughter relationship and plot of holding an invalid hostage recall classics such as Mommie Dearest (1981) and Misery (1990).
Director Aneesh Chaganty is also responsible for the critically acclaimed social media thriller Searching (2018). Both movies are worth your time. – PIETER VAN ZYL
2020. 90 MIN. 16VL. AVAILABLE ON GOOGLE PLAY AND APPLE TV+.
Drama. If you avoid movies that seem overhyped, you might’ve steered clear of this Spanish-language gem, which was an awards-season darling.
Nominated for 10 Oscars and winning three for best foreign language film, director and cinematography, Roma is set in the early ’70s in Mexico City and follows the life of a middle-class family’s domestic worker, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio, who was nominated for a best actress Oscar for her debut performance).
She helps her employers, Antonio (Fernando Grediaga) and Sofía (Marina de Tavira, who was also Oscar-nommed), take care of their four children while navigating her own challenges. Complications soon arise when Antonio leaves the family and Cleo discovers she’s pregnant.
Sofía decides to take the kids on a holiday that helps Cleo clear her mind and strengthens the familial unit.
Writer-director Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Az-kaban) has made many award-winning films in various genres, but common themes in his work are nostalgia, privilege and class divisions.
In Roma, filmed in the style of Italian neorealism, he pays homage to his childhood in the Mexican capital by capturing both significant and mundane events with consideration and care.
Accentuating rather than dominating the main characters’ story, the country’s political instability at the time is used to contrast Cleo and Sofía’s parallel stories of abandonment and loss.
Black and white cinematography skilfully creates a sense of nostalgia; shots of the vast urban and rural landscapes juxtapose the intimate moments; slow-paced, silent scenes reveal the characters’ inner lives; and the cast deliver good performances. All these elements merge to tell a compelling personal story. – CAMILLA THOROGOOD
2018. 135 MIN. 16DLNV. AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX.
A: All ages D: Drugs H: Horror L: Language N: Nudity P: Prejudice PG: Parental guidance
S: Sex V: Violence