The Selfish Giant, Clio Barnard 2013
By Ali Tenenbaum
The Selfish Giant is a small and really wonderful movie based on an Oscar Wilde children’s story. I haven’t read the story, but can tell you this film is a great pick for a rainy night at home.
The movie is tense, a bit violent and keeps you uneasy throughout. But mostly, it’s subtle, emotional and expressive in its sensitive portrayal of two young boys who get into some serious trouble. The friendship between the two young boys in this small, foggy, rainy, cloudy, gritty, bleak and poor northern England town feels painfully real. The film, through to the end, is a gut punch with some devastation on the side. Is it horribly depressing and grim? Yes. But it’s so beautifully directed, well acted (the boys are not professional actors!), powerful and memorable, you must check it out. And it’s unrated to boot - so you can watch with your grandma or your 10 year old. It might take them a few minutes to get used to the accents but it’s well worth the trouble. Or do as my husband sometimes does when he can’t understand the thick British Isles accents, turn on closed captions!
I have not seen The Arbor, Clio Barnard’s 2010 experimental doc that was “critically acclaimed”, but after watching, this gem I am going to find it and watch it asap.
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