All the class had seen Belfast. It was based on the troubles in Belfast at the end of 1969. Filmed predominantly in B&W, it fitted the era well. It did show some of the violence, but this was not in your face and was necessary to bring our what was happening at the time. Performances were excellent. Themes brought out were the living conditions, the importance of family, difficulties around migration and that religious differences did not matter if the people were caring and good.
Everyone found it a film worth seeing, rating mainly around 4/5 to - 4.5/5, although there was one 5/5.
A few people had seen King Richard. It is the story of how Richard Williams coached Serena and Venus to bring them to top ranked tennis players. We were given a new picture of Richard Williams. Media have over the years made him out to be an ogre when it came to their training (he might not have always been a very pleasant person outside the era covered). The film showed a different side. He was certainly single minded about their coaching, but also wanted the girls to have a childhood and education. As a result he did not allow them to join the junior tennis circuit as young as some other tennis players. For example he saw how Jennifer Capriati who struggled after her initial entry into professional tennis and he did not want this for his daughters. Performances were good.
Generally it was well received, with a rating of 3/5.
We also briefly discussed Spencer. It covered just three days at Sandringham as the marriage between Prince Charles and Diana finally broke. It was not sympathetic towards Diana, focussing more on her mental and physical problems. The character of Diana seemed to be overplayed, with some of her mannerisms too repetitive. The only redeeming feature was the comparison between Diana and Anne Boleyn when her marriage with Henry VIII came to an end.
We are again looking at two films for our April class. These are Marry Me, a light romantic comedy, and Death on the Nile, a new version of the Agatha Christie book starring Kenneth Branagh as Poirot. Class members can watch either of both the films for discussion on 13 April.