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The Souvenir A Mixed Bag?!? What a Lovely Souvenir, Thanks Honey Grade: B-



The Souvenir is about a young film maker Julie (Honor Swinton Bryce) trying to make a feature length film about a son and a mother. The film also deals with Julie having a complicated relationship with a bright young man Anthony (Tom Burke). The strongest trait of The Souvenir without a doubt is the Cinematography, it’s fantastic. I mean if you put this film on as a background for your home, it’ll honestly make your home look great, a beautiful looking film and I would be completely stunned if it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar... It’s that great. Truly looked like an 80’s film, so many shots worth praising I could go on and on about it. The Score is barely present, but when it is, it does it’s job fine. The performances in this film were pretty damn good. Honor Swinton Bryce and Tom Burke were both great in this film, had wonderful performances as both were solid characters for the most part. Tilda Swinton is in this film for a few scenes, I thought she was great as Julie’s mother. So The Souvenir has been divided for the most part, critics loved it, audiences really don’t like this film. I can actually see from both sides to be honest, I felt this was kind of a mixed bag for me. I believe the most interesting part of this story, is whenever it’s focused on Julie working on her film. Whether it be introducing her story to others, discussing about details of her story, working on sets, working on costume designs, Anthony giving Julie pointers about how she should make her film and present her self to those wanting to invest on working with her... I thought all that was intriguing, while also poetry to film makers and those that truly love the art of film. When the film is away from that side of the story: In my opinion it was pretty dull at times. Julie and Anthony relationship shown whenever not talking about film, honestly bored me, I yawn maybe a good six times, there’s not much interest at all for me to be invested in them. There are moments when scenes dragged on far too long, as well as there are some random moments where I’m just like I don’t get why that happened. I mean the trip to Venice was a completely pointless scene, even the events leading up to it and the aftermath... Just random. Julie maybe an interesting character, when focused on film making, you take that away and she becomes an unlikable character. She stays in this unhealthy relationship with Anthony, whom is a jerk off, leaches off her money time and time again, as well as he has some serious issues. I just wanted her to dump him immediately because I couldn’t stand watching this unhealthy relationship, it annoyed me as well as it bored me. I will say the relationship element of this film gotten slightly better around end of second half, to third act. We see actual conflict arise, as we discover some unfortunate occurrences happening to Anthony. What makes it redeemable to the point where the relationship element isn’t completely dull and pointless, is that it’s a metaphor to drugs. Anthony has a drug problem, Julie’s love for Anthony is a problem relatable to a drug problem. She finds ways to get money off from her mother, so she can help Anthony out, as she can remain to have a relationship with Anthony... It’s kind of clever if you ask me. You can understand in a way why Julie stays, she felt obligated to stay because Anthony has problems, as she feared without her he would eventually kill himself. I feel the story is there, the dialogue at times is great, I feel as this film needed more energy and life out of it. It’s hard for me to recommend this film to my friends/family, without fearing they’re going to be bored to death, because even I was bored for a good quarter. Just needed to be as interesting as the Julie’s film making element, could’ve been a lot better, unfortunately it’s more of a mixed bag for me. Overall, The Souvenir is a fairly decent film, could be bumped up to three stars in the future but I highly doubt it. I recommend this film, more towards aspiring film makers and film buffs, it’s hard for me to recommend towards a regular audience. After the film, had a couple ladies come up to me, wanting to discuss the film as we shared the same thoughts, always nice discussing a film you’re just honestly mixed on, as you would love to share your thoughts in person. -Mitch Smietana