Reviews of my last two films: “Sherlock Gnomes” & “Let The Sunshine In”

The last two films that I’ve seen – on consecutive days last weekend – could not have been more different.


“Sherlock Gnomes”

Like the Smurfs, garden gnomes make cute characters for a children’s animated movie. I missed the first outing, the Shakespeare-themed “Gnomeo & Juliet”, because it was issued in the year of my first grandchild’s birth.

Seven years later though, my granddaughter was delighted to be taken to see this return of the little people, this time playing with Arthur Conan Doyle’s character and, like the original “Paddington” film, featuring evil-doing at London’s Natural History Museum and other London locations.

The cast of voices is wide, including James McAvoy and Emily Blun, back as Gnomeo and Juliet, and Johnny Depp and Chiwetel Ejiofor, as Sherlock and Dr Watson. There are jokey lines for children and adults and music from Elton John but, as is so often the case with children’s films, minimal plot.


“Let The Sunshine In”

Despite the title of this French-language film and the British marketing of it, this is not a cheerful rom-com, but a rather sad and dispiriting tale of an emotionally vulnerable woman in her 50s looking for love and finding only callousness and abuse.

The work has a female director (Claire Denis) and female writers (Christine Angot & Claire Denis – although the screenplay is based on a book by a male author), and it is a starring vehicle for the wonderfully-talented Juliette Binoche (who still looks enchanting 30 years after I first saw her in “The Unbearbale Lightness Of Being”) as the divorced mother and artist Isabelle.

The whole thing is classically French: lots of talking, some love-making, plenty of jazz, and frustratingly opaque (we understand nothing of Isabelle’s background and very little of her motivation). But, heh, I could watch Binoche reading a telephone directory.


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