Posts Tagged Keira Knightley


I’ll choose indie, quirky and dark over anything else anytime. Also quite clear that I support women screenwriters and directors and women in film. I also immensely like Kristen Wiig, Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss. THREE films from Knightley make the list. Themes running through my list: depression; finding oneself; feeling wayward; and musicians.

For two years while I worked at Harvard Business School I was a film critic for the newspaper The Harbus. I wrote reviews for several other publications but I’ve always been primarily a music critic. I’ve also become a book critic. I appreciate great films but don’t write about them.


1. Whiplash

incredible film about the power of music, redemption and perseverance.

starring: Miles Teller, JK Simmons
written and directed by: Damien Chazelle


2. Begin Again

promising singer-songwriter gets her shot at recording an album.

starring: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keenar, Adam Levine
written and directed by: John Carney


3. Under the Skin

a weird mesmerizing film. stunning cinematography.

starring: Scarlett Johansson
written by: Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer
directed by: Jonathan Glazer

Gugu Mbatha-Raw Sarah Gadon

4. Belle

In 19th century England, a young black woman gets brought up alongside her white cousin. She learns that she’ll never be treated equally despite their similarities. Belle [Gugu Mbathal-Raw] battles racism and joins the fight for equality under the law.

starring: Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Gugu Mbathal-Raw
written by: Misan Sagay
directed by: Amma Asante


5. The Skeleton Twins

touching film about estranged twins with depression and stagnant lives. perfectly played by Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader.

starring: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader
written by: Mark Heyman and Craig Johnson
directed by: Craig Johnson


6. Nightcrawler

didn’t expect to like this film as much as I did and I was blown away. it’s riveting and disturbing. Gyllenhaal outstanding in every scene.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
Written and directed by:Dan Gilroy

laggies film

7. Laggies

loved this film about not being quite an adult and no longer being a teenager either. That point where you just don’t know what to do with yourself anymore but know that you can’t remain in a stagnant life.

starring: Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Chloe Grace Moretz
written by: Andrea Seigel
directed by: Lynn Shelton


8. Frank

sometimes the best (or most memorable) artists are eccentric, sad or both. Frank is about such a musician leading an indie group who makes it to perform at SXSW.

starring: Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domhnall Gleeson, Scoot McNairy
written by:Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan
directed by: Lenny Abrahamson

homesman 1

9. The Homesman

Not generally a fan of westerns this one got me. a feminist Western with a strong, uncompromising woman [Hilary Swank] at its core.

starring: Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto
written by: Tommy Lee Jones and Kieran Fitzgerald
directed by: Tommy Lee Jones


10. The Imitation Game

amazing story about the small group of mathematicians led by Alan Turing [Benedict Cumberbatch] who broke the Nazi’s Enigma Code during WWII. what happens to Turing in the 50s– getting prosecuted for being gay– is horrific. The film is wonderful. Keira Knightley excellent as the lone female in the group.

starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Good, Allen Leech, Mark Strong, Charles Dance
directed by: Morten Tyldum
written by: Graham Moore


11. Selma

An important film about civil rights. So moving. I cried. Martin Luther King Jr. works to secure equal voting rights during the 1960s with a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

starring: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Lorraine Toussant, Tom Wilkinson
written by: Paul Webb
directed by: Ava DuVernay

Listen Up Philip (2014) Jonathan Pryce and Jason Schwartzman

12. Listen Up Philip

starring: Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter
written and directed by: Alex Ross Perry

Acerbic wit. Arrogant self-centered writer (aren’t most writers?). Highly quotable and darkly amusing film.

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Entertainment News: books to film

James Franco plans to adapt another William Faulkner novel, The Sound and the Fury


Franco recently premiered his version of As I Lay Dying at the Cannes Film Festival. The Sound and the Fury is a collaborative effort between Franco and his Yale classmate Matt Rager. Franco will direct and star in the movie. He would like to cast Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm in the role of Mr Compson, the head of a family of southern aristocrats fallen on hard times in early 20th century Mississippi.

As I Lay Dying trailer:

Keira Knightley will produce and star in The Other Typist


The Other Typist, the debut novel from Suzanne Rindell, focuses on Rose, a typist in a police department typist during the 1920s.

other typist

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CELEB news: Keira Knightley in March 2013 Marie Claire


Marie Claire feature

“I’m not sure I can define success. I think if I get to the end of my life having hurt as few people as possible, I will be happy, making sure that the people who mean the most to me know they’ve been loved. Success in work, whatever work, will come and go.”

“I like the fantasy of fashion. Creating a different person and dressing up like her. Putting on a flowery dress when it’s raining brightens up the world.”


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Entertainment Realm’s Picks for 15 Best Films of 2012

silver_linings_playbook poster

Silver Linings Playbook
–brilliant film about mental illness. darkly engrossing and stirring.
Directed by: David O. Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro
Screenplay by: Chris Terrio


Moonrise Kingdom
–young love/ first love. so sweet. this film is absolutely charming.
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman
Screenplay by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

anna karenina

Anna Karenina
–gorgeous adaptation of Anna Karenina.
Directed by: Joe Wright
Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald,
Screenplay by: Tom Stoppard

deep blue sea

The Deep Blue Sea
–how could I not like a film about unrequited love and depression and suicide? intense and lovely.
Directed by: Terence Davies
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, Simon Russell Beale
Screenplay by: Terence Davies

beasts of the southern wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild
— poignant and magical film.
Directed by: Benh Zeitlin
Starring: Quevenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Gina Montana
Screenplay by: Benh Zeitlin & Lucy Alibar


Take this Waltz
–beautiful film about love and the choices we make.
Directed by: Sarah Polley
Starring: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Luke Kirby
Screenplay by: Sarah Polley


–intense. based on outrageous true-story.
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
Screenplay by: Chris Terrio

damsels in distress

Damsels in Distress
–witty, brutal, intelligent, dark and amusing.
Directed by: Whit Stillman
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, Carrie MacLemore, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Analeigh Tipton
Screenplay by: Whit Stillman

friends with kids

Friends with Kids
–sharply observant and funny.
Directed by: Jennifer Westfeldt
Starring: Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig
Screenplay by: Jennifer Westfeldt

perks of being a wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
–fantastic film about fitting in and coming to terms with ones quirkiness.
Directed by: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Logan Lerman, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh
Screenplay by: Stephen Chbosky

your sisters sister poster

Your Sister’s Sister
–thoughtful and perceptive.
Directed by: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark Duplass
Screenplay by: Lynn Shelton

ruby sparks

Ruby Sparks
–clever and whimsical.
Directed by: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Starring: Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Annette Bening
Screenplay by: Zoe Kazan


The Intouchables
–heart-warming true story. amusing and extremely inspiring.
Directed by: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Starring: François Cluzet, Omar Sy
Screenplay by: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano


Lola Versus
–one of the best films EVER about being a single woman. honest, strong and poignant.
Directed by: Daryl Wein
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Zoe Lister Jones, Hamish Linklater
Written by: Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister Jones

salmon fishing in the yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
–something charming and sweet. and Yemen without terrorism–refreshing.
Directed by: Lasse Hallström
Starring: Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, Kristin Scott Thomas, Amr Waked
Screenplay by: Simon Beaufoy

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Anna Karenina: THE ultimate fall film to see


Keira Knightley
Jude Law
Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Matthew Macfadyen
Kelly Macdonald
Michelle Dockery
Emily Watson
Olivia Williams

director: Joe Wright

opens in theatres November 16



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some favorite films about love [not always happy] for Valentine’s Day

Though I rarely have a valentine on Valentine’s Day and am not a particular fan of the holiday, I’m hopeful to find LOVE someday. Here are some of my favorite love stories on film.

Brokeback Mountain
“I can’t quit you.” That just says it all. Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger show what unconditional love is all about.

Love & Sex
Kate [Famke Janssen] is a magazine writer given the assignment to write about love and sex: a guide for single women. She hasn’t dated since she broke up with Adam [Jon Favreau]. In writing the article she recalls past romances and Adam keeps coming back. It’s hysterical and Janssen and Favreau are great together.

Romeo & Juliet
Shakepeare’s classic story of star-crossed lovers gets the updated treatment with Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
When a romance goes awry, would you want to erase all memories of it and that person you loved? That is the unique concept behind writer Charlie Kaufman’s script. Under the astute direction of Michel Gondry, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starring Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey, ranks as one of my favorite films. It is a fabulous and romantic film. It’s amazing and thoughtful and the performances are brilliant all around [Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood].

The Apartment
Love Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon together here. Such a romantic classic and it won Best Picture in 1960. Fran [MacLaine] is an elevator operator in CC. “Bud” [Lemmon] Baxter’s office building. She keeps having affairs with married men. Bud falls for Fran and wants to protect her at all costs.
“That’s the way it crumbles . . . cookie-wise.”

Roman Holiday
Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn together. I need not say much more. Audrey won an Oscar for her performance as a rebellious princess who sets off to explore Rome on her own. She meets an American newspaper reporter who wants a real scoop. He pretends he doesn’t know who she is to get the story but then they fall in love. Oh so romantic!

Love and Basketball
Friends since they were children, both Monica [Sanaa Lathan] and Quincy [Omar Epps] are ace basketball players. Both make very different decisions about their relationship, the sport and their academic careers. It’s a fantastic sports film and feminist love story [written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood].

Kate & Leopold
Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman make time travel so appealing. Do you ever wonder if you were born at the wrong time or in the wrong place? I’ve thought about it. This is a fun and sweet film.

Pride & Prejudice
Keira Knightley stars as Lizzie Bennet in this Jane Austen classic. This is probably my favorite adaptation [excluding the miniseries with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth].

Two literary scholars are studying Victorian poets who had an affair. This brings together Maud [Gwyneth Paltrow] and Roland [Aaron Eckhart] as they attempt to uncover the mystery of the Victorian affair. Based on the wonderful novel by A.S. Byatt.

The Whole Wide World
Writer Robert Howard [Vincent D’Onofrio] created the Conan the Barbarian series. This is the true story of his love affair with a small town school teacher Novalyne Price [Renee Zellweger].

Before Sunrise/ Before Sunset
It’s imperative that you do a double feature of these Richard Linklater romantic films starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

A brokenhearted street musician [Glen Hansard] meets a keyboardist [Marketa Irglova] and for a week they make music together and fall in love. The soundtrack is spectacular too.

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DVD review: The Duchess

Loved this film with its lush, elaborate, bold, scrumptious plot and script and divine costuming. Keira Knightley [Atonement, Pride and Prejudice] does a stellar job as 18th century Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana [a distant relative to Princess Diana]. At a mere 16-years-old, her parents married her off to the much older Duke of Devonshire, but she was far more interested in politics and sporting events. She liked neither the rules expected of her title nor her boorish husband [the talented Ralph Fiennes [The Reader, The English Patient], quite stuffy in this role]. Not only did her husband ignore her most of the time and make little of her ideas and opinions [she spoke out quite often in mixed company], make demands on her for male heirs [the norm at the time] but he blatantly cheated on her time and again, going so far as having his mistress live in the home with he and the Duchess.

After putting up with his affairs for years and “disappointing” him by giving birth to two daughters, she had an affair of her own with an aspiring politician [Dominic Cooper of Mamma Mia!] who later became Prime Minister. The Duke gave her an impossible choice: give up the guy or her children. Despite the strong-willed, independent nature of the Duchess, she remained devoted to her children.

The Duchess is a delight– an artful piece of film.



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film review: Atonement

I read Ian McEwan’s lovely, wistful and contemplative novel Atonement a few months ago, mainly in preparation for this film [I did the same with The Other Boleyn Sister—though I may have found the books in another manner]. Going into this film, I anticipated waves of beauty and grace and longing. I wanted to leave the theatre with tears in my eyes. Director Joe Wright did such a brilliant job with Keira Knightley on Pride and Prejudice, so another period piece with the duo should be a serious hit [and the Golden Globes agree with seven nominations]. On reflection, this last year has been fairly weak film-wise.

So I brought my mom to the film [we see something together once a month and I feel if I don’t pick well, I am a bad entertainment critic]. She had seen the preview when we saw The Jane Austen Book Club and said, “I’d like to see that,” so I felt a bit off the hook. It turns out that Atonement is a very, very good, solid film but not outstanding. The Notebook has more romantic and memorable scenes, as we girls who recognize these sorts of things already know.

Atonement is the story of a young girl, Briony, who has a crush on an older guy, her family’s housekeeper’s son [rakishly, boyishly handsome James McAvoy]. Briony also has a vivid imagination. She pens plays for her cousins to act out and she writes fantasies about love conquering all. As it goes for any 13-year-old privileged British lass, her accomplished, Cambridge-educated sister has taken a fancy to said crush. Cecilia [Knightley] has done a remarkable job in hemming in her feelings for Robbie [McAvoy]. He also attended Cambridge and she all but ignored him as they ran in different circles, or something of the sort. The family loves Robbie and the father is paying for his education, including medical school which he plans to attend in the fall. One evening, Robbie is invited to dinner at the main house. Earlier, Briony witnesses what she believes is some sort of argument between her sister and Robbie. Later, she misinterprets something that occurs between Robbie] and older sister Cecilia [Knightley]. She accuses Robbie of a despicable crime. A destructive, irreversible aftermath follows. No one, including Briony, will ever be the same.

Fast-forward to WWII. Robbie is in service and Cecilia is a nurse. They have a few isolated moments together. Many occur only in Briony’s imagination. She too has become a nurse, but she is also a novelist [later in life to great acclaim]. Her most special and final work is a thinly veiled, autobiographical in nature, about the worst thing she has ever done: betray her sister and destroy her beloved sister’s chance for romance and happiness with a devoted, honest man. The war scenes drag and detract from film’s true potential to be an epic love story. Star-crossed lovers. Rich girl and the help. In the novel, McEwan pieces together every scene with intricate details that you find it difficult to extricate yourself from the setting. The film version needs more bridges to close the gaps. It jumps a bit too much. What works really well? The film shows crucial scenes from Briony’s and Cecilia’s viewpoints: effective, stirring visual interpretations. Atonement‘s a banquet for the eyes: rich colors, lush landscapes, long lenses to capture the important moments, meaningful glances and Knightley’s lithe bare back revealed by a glam green dress.

The final scene falls flat. I know that often great books do not translate well on the screen and Atonement needs a bit of tweaking here and there. In the end, I enjoyed Atonement, I did. I’m just a bit disappointed because I had such high expectations with the collaboration, the story, the cast. Atonement lacks true substance and character, but it’s quite lovely to gaze at like a pretty painting.I just wanted it to be dripping with regret, loss and forgiveness. Isn’t that what holiday and potential award-winning films are all about?



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