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THE LONDON FILM FESTIVAL

The London Film Festival takes over the capital for two weeks, showing a variety of arty films, psychological thrillers, sci-fi movies, romances and emotional dramas. There really is something for all tastes at the cinema this autumn, which makes a refreshing change from socializing in bars and restaurants all the time. It’s easy to lose yourself in a film and it won’t give you a hangover!

After a fortnight of premieres, the film critics have made their decisions and rated some films better than others. These are the five that are getting the best reactions from early screenings and test audiences:

  • Lion

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This film by the Weinstein company is already being tipped for Oscars in 2017. It stars Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel, with the majority of the movie resting on Dev’s shoulders. The Slumdog Millionaire actor plays an Indian man, who was separated from his family in India when he was younger and adopted by Australian Nicole Kidman. In the film, he uses Google Earth to track his childhood home.

It’s emotional, it’s gripping and it’s full of surprises and you can see the emotions on the faces of both Dev and Nicole. Take tissues!

  • Arrival

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If you’re a bit of a geek and you like movies that make you think, you’ll love the sci fi flick Arrival. A strange spaceship arrives on earth and language expert Amy Adams has to communicate with the aliens. Meanwhile Jeremy Renner’s character is a military scientist who doesn’t believe we can communicate with aliens. Despite their opposing stances, they are attracted to each other and learn from each other while they seek to understand the aliens. There’s romance and there’s space travel – what more do you want? Oh and both stars are gorgeous, with Amy looking incredible at the premiere in a white maxi dress.

  • La La Land

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This is like Dirty Dancing for the modern age and is a must-see if you love girly, romantic films and if you love Ryan Gosling. It’s directed by Oscar winning director Damien Chazelle and it mixes old school Hollywood glamour with modern LA life, actors struggling to make it in the movies and an out of work musician. The film has lots of musical elements in it but it’s not a musical as such, more a charming film that shows that romance can thrive in even the most mundane situations. Ryan Gosling’s character and Emma Stone’s character don’t get on at first, but when they realise they keep meeting in a series of situations, they realise that destiny is drawing them together. The film has lots of musical elements in it but its not a musical as such, more a charming film that shows that romance can thrive in even the most mundane situations. Ryan Gosling’s character and Emma Stone’s character don’t get on at first, but when they realise they keep meeting in a series of situations, they realise that destiny is drawing them together. This film is adorable!

  • A United Kingdom

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This is a heart-warming tale about star-crossed lovers in the post war (and apartheid) age. Rosamund Pike and David Oyeluwo give us a beguiling performance of a white woman and black man who fall in love. When they attended the premiere together with Rosamund wearing a white dress and black trousers, little could have prepared the audience for their on-screen chemistry.

Oyeluwo’s character comes from Botswana where he’s a member of the ruling family, and visits London to study law. While there, he falls for Rosamund Pike’s character and marries her.

However, the people of Botswana don’t take well to the ruler having a white wife and it has an effect on neighbouring countries, including South Africa who threaten to leave the commonwealth and take their gold and mineral reserves with them. Therefore both the British government and the Botswana people want to destroy the marriage. Can the relationship survive? This film will leave you in turmoil at the lovebirds’ never ending struggle in the face of adversity.

  • A Monster Calls

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This one tackles issues like childhood bereavement in a mature but magical way. Child actor Lewis MacDougall plays Conor a young boy failing to cope with the fact that his mother (actress Felicity Jones) is dying of terminal cancer. Bullied at school, likely because of his small stature and understandably gloomy disposition, Connor relies on his imagination to get through each day, sketching in his notepad, and conjuring a tree-shaped monster (voiced gravely by Liam Neeson) to confess his innermost fears to.

The tree really comes to life and offers Conor three stories to help him cope. Gradually life gets better and the idea of death becomes easier to deal with. This film can benefit adults as well as kids, but it is emotional at times.

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