Tag Archives: gone girl

What We Did on Our Holiday

whatwedidThere are several things that I really liked about What We Did on Our Holiday. It is a Scottish comedy, and it takes place in the Scottish Highlands. The subtle jokes are funny, but you have to be a Scot or familiar with the culture to really understand them. The movie follows three children of estranged parents.  All played wonderfully by Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge, and Harriet Turnbull.

The movie has two directors, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin. After their notable success of their BBC series Outnumbered, they weave an unsteady story about a family visiting their children’s grandfather, played truthfully by Billy Connolly. He is dying of cancer, so his whole family is celebrating his 75th birthday with a huge weekend bash as a final good-bye.

The parents of the three children, Doug, played by Harry Potter’s (David Tennant), his wife Abi, played by Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike, are divorcing and hope to keep it a secret from the rest of their family. They tell their children not to let anyone know about their pending divorce while visiting them over weekend. Keeping a secret or lying about one’s parents has an effect on the children, and they end up telling their grandfather the truth.

The parents are constantly battling over issues such as telling the truth even if the truth is sad or shocking.  It is not just Doug and Abi who are having a rough time.  The children’s aunt and uncle (Doug’s brother and sister-in-law) are going through some rough times in their marriage as well.

The story really gets interesting when the children go to the beach with their grandfather and he passes away on the beach. Before he passes away, he tells them he is a descendent of the Vikings, and he wants to be burned out at sea like his Viking ancestors did long, long time ago.

So, the oldest daughter goes back to the house to tell the parents that grandfather passed away. But, their parents are arguing as the rest of the family is too. They are so busy arguing that they don’t even know the daughter is there and needs their attention. She decides to go back and handle the remains of grandfather instead. The children honor his wishes and burn him at sea like a Viking, which has repercussions in the 21st Century Scotland.

Other theatrics involving the repercussions of the Viking funeral and other family problems are quite funny. The fast-paced editing keeps the story moving and ties together nicely like the ending of a Scottish tale.

Dark Places

darkplacesFrench director Gilles Paquet-Brenner helmed Dark Places as a drama-mystery about an impoverished Kansas City farming family. All but two members of the family were murdered three decades ago. The story is told through Libby Day, played by , while she flashbacks to younger Libby Day, played by Sterling Jerins. Libby and her brother, Ben, played by Corey Stoll, are the two remaining family members from the night of the murders. Ben is serving a life sentence for the murders. The younger Ben is seen in flashbacks played by Tye Sheridan. There are also present circumstances that keep the story interesting. A true crime club that solves crimes and proves those who are wrongly accused innocent. The club is headed by Lyle, played by Nicholas Hoult. The club holds strong evidence that Ben is innocent. It was younger Libby’s testimony that sent younger Ben to prison. Lyle leans heavy on Libby to prove her brother’s innocence. As the movie unfolds, past and present meet and the truth about the night of the murders is unraveled.

Dark Places is based on the book by Gillian Flynn who wrote the bestseller Gone Girl and the screenplay for the same-titled movie. Gone Girl did well at the box office and nabbed some award nominations. Even though Dark Places had a limited release, I thought it played better than Gone Girl because the story seems more real in circumstances and characters. Both stories are intricately folded and twisted, but Dark Places wraps up nicely while Gone Girl leaves a few points and characters entangled.

Theron makes the story believable because she is an outstanding actress.  Like Gone Girl there are minor storylines that drew me in to the film. Paquet-Brenner led the cast with honest acting in a very well paced movie. I am kind of surprised it didn’t have a wide release because it is so good. So, if you see the movie streaming or on the DVD shelf, I suggest you grab it and watch it. You will be entertained.