The Law Society Journal and Palace Films have 10 double passes to give for the new French comedy TWO TICKETS TO GREECE.
Three fabulous femmes – Laure Calamy, Olivia Côte and Kristin Scott Thomas – star in the wildly entertaining new comedy about estranged childhood friends who tentatively reunite for a trip to the Greek Islands. Infused with laughter, emotion, and gorgeous scenery, TWO TICKETS TO GREECE is the perfect big-screen cinematic escape for this holiday season. It’s time to get away from it all! In cinemas this Boxing Day. Watch the trailer here.
For a chance to win one of the passes, email your LawID and address to [email protected] with the subject line TWO TICKETS TO GREECE before 5pm on Tuesday 19 December.
It’s easy to dismiss this origin story as only a cynical studio cash grab to capitalise on a recognisable IP, using the famous songs from the beloved 1971 film as a frame of recognition (because everyone should forget that atrocious Burton film). Wonka is definitely all that, but as my grandfather would say, “always take the chance to subvert the status quo with a gentle anti-capitalist message”, and director Paul King, thankfully, is not one to shy away from a good opportunity.
Wonka follows the Willy of the title (Timothée Chalamet), arriving in town with a pocket full of coins and big dreams of opening his own chocolate shop. But city life is not as easy for the young idealist Wonka; he quickly runs out of money, the other chocolate shop owners stop him from selling in the street, and his trust for the goodwill of two crooked hotel owners (played by Olivia Coleman and Tom Davis) see him contract-bound to work for them for the next two decades. Nothing detracts him and with the help of some friends, especially a young orphan called Noodles (Calah Lane), he perserveres in his dream to stand up against the evil businessmen (Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton) and their cartel that controls both the police and the religious establishment. It’s a revolution of chocolate-covered marshmallows.
All this is punctuated by an almost impossible amount of charm. King, whose previous films were those lovely Paddington live-action films, has mastered the art of optimistic filmmaking. He builds colourful worlds that need the act of a group of people to fight for community spirit. Nothing is rushed or convoluted, like a remnant of a bygone era. There is something classic in his style that can face the test of time.
See the film’s beginning: King lets each shot breathe, cuts only when necessary, and moves on only when his point has been made. He paces a scene with respect for his audience, not as if everyone has a short attention span.
It also helps that the songs match the quality. Classics from the original film return, like the Oompa Loompa song (here terrifically played by Hugh Grant) and “Pure Imagination”, but the new ones fit that style of atemporal children’s musical. Written and composed by Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon, it feels fresh but recognisable and heightens a feeling of warmth and coziness.
Chalamet nails the brief of Wonka. This is an origin story, so some of the cynical darkening from the Wilder version is not yet there. Like an idealist revolutionary, Wonka believed he could change the world no matter how often the world brought him down. In that sense, Chalamet jumps around with an infectiously silly smile and a playful demeanour. I like his presence, though, that it’s never too overwhelming and selfish. He has that kind of star quality of Jimmy Stewart and Paul Newman.
That said, Wonka works as long as the delight does, which means that, for the most part, the job is done. The third act feels more convoluted into trying to call back every element and joke introduced before (there’s a whole scene with a giraffe at the end that required a lot of suspension of disbelief), and I feel like the final climax did not have the emotional power the film deserved. There’s also a series of out-of-tune fat jokes, though they target the police chief (Keegan-Michael Key), so I let it slide.
None of that takes away from the pleasure of Wonka, and it feels weird to be nitpicking a film like this. The film does not question itself, striding confidently through its setting where magic is new and expected, so why should I?
Verdict: 3 and a half out of 5
The epitome of a “family-friendly film”. It’s charming and warm. One has to be very cynical not to be enchanted.