Tag Archives: Rebecca Hall

The Town

22 Jan

I have always had a little crush on Ben Affleck, before he betrayed me by forming not one, but two Bennifer couples. *sigh* There is nothing better than a talented man, who also happens to be 6ft2″, and Affleck really does show off his talent by acting in and directing The Town. And let’s not forget the Boston accent.

The opening subtitle of The Town claims that Charlestown, a suburb of Boston, has produced the most bank thieves and armed robbers in the United States. The film then zooms in on a particular group of bank robbers and their slickly planned hits. From the beginning it is clear that Ben Affleck is the brains behind the operation while John Hamm (The Hurt Locker) is the unstable, violent element of the gang.

The opening robbery goes somewhat awry, with someone grabbing Rebecca Hall as a hostage. The poor woman is left unharmed, but traumatised on a Boston beach. She is immediately swooped upon by the Feds, hoping that she will provide the key to catching the gang.

The film follows Ben Affleck dealing with Rebecca Hall as a live witness, the Feds closing in and the gang becoming more desperate to remain free, especially Hamm, facing his third conviction and life in prison.

Affleck has directed a gripping film (as much as I disdain that phrase!), which made me feel more like I was watching a particularly good episode of The Wire rather than a 125 min film. And believe me, this is a good thing. The film is fast paced, yet manages to keep a focus on the relationships and history between the characters.

Ben Affleck and John Hamm in The Town

Rebecca Hall pulls off a good traumatised victim, desperate to find some normality in her life. I found her performance quite convincing and her actions towards the end of The Town left me with admiration for her character and her acting skills. She plays a good foil to Ben Affleck’s character, all softness versus his rough edges. But it is John Hamm’s aggression and desperation that steal the scenes he is in. He by no means rules the film, but he has a great presence.

I have grown in respect for Ben Affleck, and thankfully I can forget his forays into dud (well, to my mind) films like Daredevil. Of course none of these affected my crush on him, but respect is another thing all together.

The Town is still showing at selected cinemas – see it before it goes to DVD.

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Please Give

7 Sep

Buying furniture from dead people’s estates sounds wrong. Buying furniture from dead people’s estates for as little as possible and selling it on at a profit seems somewhat despicable. Yet this is how many people, including Kate (Catherine Keener), make their living. Can she still consider herself a good person?

Quirky comedies are my favourite genre of film (if quirky counts as a genre?). And Please Give fulfils the criteria of quirky very well. As in the vein of Garden State, The Squid and the Whale and 500 Days of SummerPlease Give tells a small, personalised story which deals with universal issues, in this case, what does it mean to be a good person?   

Kate and her husband, Alex (Oliver Platt), own a furniture store which they stock with furniture bought from dead people’s estates. Kate struggles with the morals of her job. She is a deeply compassionate person, but only sees the negative around her. Thus she spends her time being upset those less fortunate and handing $20 bills to beggars in an effort to “save the world”. Her daughter, a teenager struggling to deal with her self-esteem and skin problems, does not see the use of her mother’s compassion.

Next door lives Andra, a cranky 91-year-old who is looked after by her granddaughter Rebecca (Rebecca Hall) and ignored as far as possible by her other granddaughter Mary (Amanda Peet). These two families’ lives meet as Kate and Alex have bought Andra’s flat (at least this purchase was before death!).

Catherine Keener gives a wonderful performance as a woman struggling with her image of herself and her choices in life. Rebecca Hall is the iconic self-sacrificing granddaughter, but she

Rebecca Hall

develops throughout the film. Her softness is so welcoming and adds to the empathy the audience feels for her long-suffering character.

The best performance must surely come from Sarah Steele. She plays Abby, Kate and Alex’s self-conscious daughter. She also played Adam Sandler’s chubby daughter in Spanglish. Her frail self-image and despair at her teenage skin is so real and I felt instant sympathy for this poor girl.

Please Give does not come to a great climactic ending. Not even all the issues are resolved – but isn’t that life? Do not go see Please Give if you are an adrenaline junkie or wanting to be a voyeur of the gritty realities of life. Please Give is calm, at times very funny and poignant film about people trying to be better.