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by Mary Nyiri

Joanna Hogg, UK/USA

Director Joanna Hogg presents an autobiographical film about her college days featuring a rather tumultuous love affair. Julie (aka Joanna portrayed by Honor Swinton-Byrne) lives in a posh apartment where she has roommates, parties and takes a lot of photographs. Julie meets Anthony (Tom Burke) at one of her parties. He is very mysterious, or perhaps just strange. They begin to play with each other until finally falling into bed, first just to sleep but later for sex. Scenes of their conversations, fights and separations begin and end rather abruptly.

Walking into a film having read only a few sentences about the plot and actors is my preferred option. For this film, I knew I liked many films with Tilda Swinton. In this case, however, it is her daughter Honor who really steals the show. Tilda plays Honor’s mother, a minor but significant role, well done. Well done, too, Tilda, as her real mother who raised a daughter who wants to study neuroscience. At the press conference I learned that the reason the film felt completely improvised, is because it was. The script was not written down for the actors. Instead, they read diaries and notes from Joanna and just got a feel for what might have happened, and then played out the scene. Tom Burke is convincingly drug dependent. But for me, there was just no chemistry between Julie and Anthony. It was more of a chemistry experiment that went awry. The sequel is already in the works but since I already know the ending, I’ll give it a miss.