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The Souvenir: Part II

I’m blown away. This is exactly what every sequel or part two should strive to be as good as. It retroactively makes the first film better with some excellent pay offs, brilliant new depths for each character and just generally more of the stuff that made the first enjoyable. It deserves to be seen in a cinema so if you get the chance to, please go and see it. 

If you’ve not seen the first yet, go and watch that and then come back to the rest of this review. 

The thing I loved about the first was how it tackled the idea of a struggling artist from a perspective that doesn’t seem to get much attention. This carries on with that, but where there was a love plot underneath it all last time, now it’s all about loss and grief. Similarly to before, it’s a perspective of grief that just doesn’t get much airtime. It’s something that can be really awkward, because as well as dealing with a personal void where something used to be, there’s also an element of living up to the expectations of what a person should be feeling and acting like after losing someone. Combine that with the theme of an artist who isn’t sure whether she should be the one telling story she wants to tell and it makes for a really touching film. 

I’m don’t think it’s possible to have made a better part two from the first film, and I actually wish it was all just a single four hour long film. Having looked at Joanna Hogg’s filmography, she’s clearly not new to filmmaking, but I kept thinking “wow, you can really see how she’s improved as a storyteller since the first part of this”. I’m not sure it is that she’d improved as a storyteller, I think it’s perhaps that she’s always been good enough to create that feeling as part of this narrative. I hope this is remembered as a masterpiece.

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