THE FAVOURITE
2018, Fox Searchlight, 119 min, Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos

Early 18th-century England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time-consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.


PHILOMENA
2013, The Weinstein Company, 98 min, UK, Dir: Stephen Frears

Decades after giving up a child to nuns for adoption, Philomena Lee (Judi Dench in a tour de force performance) travels to America to try to find her son. Journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan, who also co-wrote the screenplay), sensing a great human interest story, travels with her, and both make surprising discoveries along the way. PHILOMENA gives a dark chapter of recent Irish history a human dimension thanks to director Stephen Frears’ deft blend of drama and humor.


THE ANGELS’ SHARE
2012, Sundance Selects, 101 min, UK, Dir: Ken Loach

Winner of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize, THE ANGELS’ SHARE is a comic fable about wasted talent and what happens when we are given a chance in life. It would be hard to see Robbie as a man worthy of redemption. He’s constantly watching out for a gang of thugs looking to settle a family grudge, his girlfriend is giving birth to a baby while her father offers him money to leave Glasgow, and he’s serving 300 hours of community service. But when Robbie meets Harry, the gruff but benevolent man in charge of his sentence, he finds a hidden talent for Scotch whiskey – and a new chance at life. For distillers the angels’ share is the whiskey lost to evaporation each year, and that little fact makes a rare cask of whiskey the perfect target for a heist. A hilarious story about second chances, THE ANGELS’ SHARE is tender crowd-pleaser from legendary filmmaker Ken Loach (THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, KES) and screenwriter Paul Laverty.


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