7:00 PM, 19th May, 2018
This is Wes Anderson's second foray into stop-motion animation, after Fantastic Mr. Fox. The setting of that film was not as colourful or beguiling as the film Anderson is probably best known for, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and this film's setting isn't either: 20 years in the future, the Japanese government responds to a health scare by exiling all of the country's dogs to an island of garbage.
Just as Anderson reserves his brightest colours for films set in hotels, he reserves his most muted and depressing landscapes for animation – which makes sense, since they’re easier to bear that way.
The film’s hero is a young boy named Atari (Anderson can’t resist his in-jokes) who steals a plane and flies to the island to rescue his beloved pet when he is banished there. Atari forms an alliance with a pack of charmingly phlegmatic dogs – all voiced by a cavalcade of Anderson regulars – to carry out his mission, setting in motion a chain of events that sends shockwaves back to the mainland.
Unlike the setting, the story is not muted or depressed; Anderson doesn’t work that way, and nor do his characters who have a refreshing tendency to accept the way things are and move on.
8:51 PM, 19th May, 2018
Love, Simon is a comedy-drama based on the young adult novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli. It tells the story of a 17-year-old high school student who is yet to bite the bullet and tell his friends and family that he is gay, for fear they won’t like the person he really is. So, instead, he tries to balance his own views of himself with those of his nearest and dearest, while simultaneously falling in love with an email penpal and fending off the boy threatening to reveal his true sexuality to the whole school.
While diversity and inclusion are current buzzwords in many schools and workplaces, it still comes down to an individual taking a leap of faith that they will be accepted for their differences – regardless of what those differences are. The anxiety associated with coming out is a serious topic, but the light-hearted approach taken by this film really works well. I cringed, I laughed and I felt a little awkward and anxious, and because of this, I would definitely recommend you come and check it out.