Mike Newell
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Mike Newell directed Awakening (1981), a horror movie about an Egyptian queen who was resuscitated by an English scientist.

Dance With A Stranger (1984) reenacts the drama of the last death penalty execution in Britan (an entraîneuse, mother of two children, who killed the car driver with whom she had a tormented relationship). The story is a pretext to reconstruct the suffocating moralism of the 1950s.

With his first films, Newell demonstrated a speckless, professional approach to cinema, a keen sense of comedy and of tragedy.

Good Father (1986) is another domestic drama. A man, an ex leftist radical, divorced by his wife, helps a friend fight the wife who fled with a lesbian lover. The man achieves his revenge against liberated women, but also reveals his hypochrisy.

Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987) is a fairy tale in which a child, terrified after visiting a missile base, organizes a baseball strike, so that the president in person has to negotiate with him.

Enchanted April (1991) is one of those terribly boring period pieces, with old-fashioned (i.e., with no imagination) acting and a plot that couldn't be more obnoxious since it is based on obnoxious characters. Competent but uninspired cast, sets, costumes and cinematography are the norm with this kind of films.

Two English neighboring housewives, bored with their husbands, rent a villa in Italy for a vacation. Lotte is married to a businessman, Rose married to an author. In order to afford the price, Lotte and Rose decide to share the villa with two other women she found through an ad: elderly dame Mrs Fisher and wealthy Lady Caroline.
The film revolves around these four women, all unsatisfied and all ready for a change. The Italian villa, the Italian weather and the Italian scenery are like paradise to them and work miracles on their psyche. The sour women soften and blossom. Rose and Lotte find love with their husbands, while Lady Caroline falls for the owner of the villa.

Into the West

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) is a romantic comedy, at times amusing but terribly slow. Each shot lasts at least three times longer than it should.

Best man Charles is late for the wedding of Angus and Laura, and even forgets the ring, that he replaces at the last minute with a toy. Charles is a bachelor who is witnessing all of his friends getting married, and is quite happy to remain a bachelor. He is nice and polite, but a little out of touch: his speech for the newly married is embarassing. At this wedding he meets Carrie, a beautiful American girl. They make love, but then separate
At the next wedding, Charles is late again. This time the priest is a friend of the family who is officiating for the first time and who makes a lot of mistakes. At this wedding reception, too, Charles meets Carrie, but this time she is engaged. Charles is clealy hurt. His old girlfriend Anne is still heartbroken and trying to get back with him. Again, Carrie shows up when he least expects her and they make love.
They meet again in a clothes store, where she is shopping for a wedding dress. This time Charles confesses his love.
Another wedding, and Charles is late again for the religious ceremony. Carrie and Hamish are getting married. Anne has a boyfriend. Charles is in a crisis, and the tragic death of a friend makes it worse. Charles decides to marry Anne, who is still waiting.
So the next wedding is his own. Before the ceremony, he meets Carrie, and learns that her marriage has fallen apart. At the altar Charles' deaf and mute brother interrupts the ceremony and forces Charles to confess that he doesn't love the bride. She knocks him down and the wedding is off.
Charles and Carrie can get married.
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