This is a fantastic film – 20th Century Women with Annette Bening

This a beautiful film. Beautifully shot in the hazy Californian sunshine. 20th Century Women is set in Santa Barbara at the end of the 1970s. Annette Bening is superb as Dorothea Fields, a chain-smoking, 55-year-old single mother living in a shared house with her 15-year-old son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann). Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning andRead more

Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog film

‘Do you want to see a film about Laurie Anderson’s dog?’ One of my friends asked me towards the end of last year. This could go one of two ways I thought with trepidation (dog’s breakfast or dog’s bollocks). Although it wasn’t exactly top of my to-do list; I like Laurie Anderson, I like dogs,Read more

The Age of Loneliness by Sue Bourne

Sue Bourne produces searingly honest films about people. For her latest documentary, the woman behind Fabulous Fashionistas has turned her attention to loneliness ‘the epidemic affecting people of all ages’. The Age of Loneliness (BBC1 at 10.35pm, Thursday 7 January) is a profoundly moving film. It opens with Dorothy an 85-year-old widow from Blackpool, who admits thatRead more

Quote of the week: Lily Tomlin in Grandma

Aren’t end-of-the-year highlights lists useful? These days, I can never remember which films I’ve seen (apart from the most recent), so I like a good round-up. One film I won’t have a problem remembering is Grandma. Lily Tomlin is ace as the 70-something academic and poet in this warm, funny, feisty film. In the processRead more

Seventies inspiration from Grey Gardens and Ladybird Books

With Grey Gardens the musical on at Southwark Playhouse in January, the grown-up reissues of Ladybird books selling faster than cut-price TVs on Black Friday and Gucci, Prada and Marni playing maximalist mash-up, it’s seventies retro inspiration all round. Sheila Hancock  and Jenna Russell play Big Edie and Little Edie in Grey Gardens the musical , adapted from theRead more

Maggie Smith is The Lady in the Van

I can’t think of anyone who could play The Lady in the Van better than Maggie Smith. She’s brilliant and funny as Miss Mary Sheperd the homeless woman who moved her camper van into writer Alan Bennett’s drive for three months, in the 1970s, and ended up staying 15 years. Alex Jennings makes a greatRead more

The Iris Apfel documentary

Everyone loves Iris. And so do I. In the late Albert Maysles film, designers, editors and fashion executives are falling all over themselves to orbit the ‘geriatric starlet’. If you love life and style, you’ll love this heartwarming documentary ( out in the UK, today ; Fri 25 July 2015). Iris was one of the ‘Inspirational Women’ I interviewed forRead more

The True Cost: a fashion documentary to make you think

I was deeply moved by the London premiere of The True Cost, this week. And not just because Colin Firth was on the red carpet. This documentary about fast fashion and the appalling impact it has on both garment factory workers and the environment, is upsetting and, at times, difficult to watch. Directed by AndrewRead more

Two Good Films

  Driving Miss Kylie In the last week I’ve seen two brilliant films. The feelgood movie Pride, (based on a true story about a lesbian and gay support group raising funds during the 1984 miner’s strike), had me sobbing, and longing for those pre-me-me-me-society days. Spoiler alert: the Dominic West dance scene is fantastic butRead more

My film of the summer: Boyhood

  Richard Linklater is fast becoming my favourite director. I love the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy and the idea of following the same actors on-screen over the years, watching their relationship and their faces change, is genius. The other day I switched sitting at my computer for hours on end, to sitting in the cinema forRead more