Movie Diary 12/11/2022

The Eternal Daughter (Joanna Hogg, 2022). Tilda Swinton in two roles as mother and daughter visiting a remote hotel that might have something ghostly about it. The concept of the movie is carefully worked out, and it functions rather beautifully as a miniature. It has the soft look of a fondly-remembered BBC ghost story – or maybe that’s just the way I’m remembering it?

Empire of Light (Sam Mendes, 2022). Despite the evocation of a British seaside resort circa 1980 and the lovely depiction of an eccentric workplace crew, this Mendes original story feels overextended. The setting – a grand old cinema where Olivia Colman’s character tries to recover from a breakdown – is available for occasional Magic of Movies notes, yet the film is too interested in big issues to really appreciate that.

Armageddon Time (James Gray, 2022). Also set in 1980. A sixth-grader navigates the transition from public school to private (the latter a place with Trumpian connections, no less), while being a disappointment to his family (Jeremy Strong and Anne Hathaway very convincing as his parents). I long ago conceded that there’s something about this filmmaker’s work that I just don’t respond to, and this one is no exception, as the majority of it seems as unconvincing as the idea that Anthony Hopkins somehow fits into the timeline of being the kid’s grandfather.