3/10 Upon watching 2019’s “The Souvenir” before checking out this unnecessary sequel, I found myself enjoying the film. It was flawed but personal and extremely well acted. Tilda Swinton and her daughter, Honor Swinton Byrne, star in both of these pictures and Byrne, having essentially only done these two pictures (and a cameo in “I Am Love”) has definitely inherited talent from her mother Tilda. I hope she continues to act because she really is a revelation in both the first film and second movie. Since the first film was a pleasant surprise and this movie has been getting great critical praise, I decided to check out Part II. Unfortunately, this self-indulgent, pretentious bore loses what made the first film great and replaces writer/director Joanna Hogg’s story from the first film with a movie that feels like it was only made for Hogg herself as an exercise in reflection. The first film was a semi-autobiographical story of a young girl in film school falling in love with an older man who is a heroin addict and struggling to balance her school life with her roller coaster of a relationship. Her loving parents are rightfully concerned for her and it was nice seeing a real life mother and daughter playing a mother and daughter in the film. The second part picks off right after the first so if you haven’t seen the first part there is absolutely no reason to check this out. While the first film covered many aspects in a layered, balanced way, this sequel that no one asked for just focuses on Julie (Byrne) finishing film school. She decides to make her final student film based off of her experience with her ex-boyfriend and their trials and tribulations. While still reeling from grief, the movie is less concerned with that and more concerned with the film school aspects themselves. As someone who went to and graduated film school myself, I appreciated how relatable elements were like egotistical directors, inexperienced leaders, infighting on set and working against the clock on a shoot. Yet while watching I continued to wonder who this movie was for. Your average person watching students make a film would probably grow bored. Despite being 20 minutes shorter than the first film, this experience felt longer because there was less interesting dynamics going on. Julie is playing a version of Hogg herself so having Julie make a film about what she went through (which is what Hogg went through in real life) is basically “The Souvenir: Inception”. Making a film about your own life experience and drawing from what you know if all fine and dandy and even recommended to film makers. But this sequel takes it a step too far in just filming what we saw happen in the first film. The drama isn’t nearly as exciting and we get a fantasy sequence of sorts near the end that served no purpose except to pad the running time and bore us further. The acting, realism, cinematography and soundtrack still impress like they did in the first film but this snooze fest just feels like Hogg patting herself on the back and making a movie that no one outside of her will care about. Byrne’s mesmerizing performance is wasted but I hope she starts to get work elsewhere with talented directors. Let’s hope that we don’t get a Part III since Part II was already a self-indulgent waste of time that we didn’t need or want.

#ColdSchool / #TheSouvedrear / #WeNeedToTalkAboutAnthony / #IsleOfHoggs / #TheFilmWatch / #TheshITCrowd

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