Movie reviews from some of summer 2022’s biggest films
Aug 16, 2022, 9:30 PM
Mrs. Harris wants to add a bit of couture to her closet, Marcel is the sweetest squatter you’ll ever meet and a murder mystery in the marshes. All from Gayle Bass on films released in July.
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris: Even trash piled high on the streets courtesy of a workers strike doesn’t diminish the loveliness of the City of Light, or Lesley Manville as the titular character. Mrs. Harris is a working-class cleaning woman and war widow who dreams of a simple thing – a lovely dress by Christian Dior – to wear to a dance. How could she resist, after cleaning homes for the wealthy and titled and savoring the beauty and craftmanship of couture gown? Set in the 1950s, the film is a delight, with Manville’s working-class charm winning enough to win over the French, at least most of them. But Mrs. Harris is more than just a simple cleaning woman; she represents many women of her age who know that just because their 20s and 30s are in the past, their desirability and depth don’t simply disappear.
Where The Crawdads Sing: Another book-turned-movie will delight fans, in that it sticks very closely the bestseller by Delia Owens. Part-mystery, part Southern romance (executive produced by Southern Reese Witherspoon) the film follows the story of Kya, known to locals as the “Marsh Girl.” Abandoned by parents and siblings, Kya lives in the family home in a North Carolina marsh, surviving on her smarts. But she isn’t completely without help: a kindly African-American couple help her navigate the world, along with a male friend of her absent older brother. Heartbreak and a judgmental town make her the prime suspect in the death of one of her few paramours. The film is a study in utility – it has beauty and some charm, but it doesn’t quite capture the enchantment of the book. But it was still enjoyable and worth the price of a matinee ticket.
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: Adorable google-eyed Marcel opines “an audience is not a community” when observing that he has become an internet sensation. This and other observations clue you into how delightful and relatable Marcel is. A documentarian finds Marcel and his grandmother Connie living quietly and nearly invisibly in an AirBnB. They farm, watch what they lovingly call “the Show,” what we mere humans call “60 Minutes” and love Leslie Stahl as a revered muse. While sharing Marcel’s story online, the filmmaker discovers the shell’s family is missing. What’s missing for Marcel is that connection, even with millions of online followers. Marcel is about so many things: longing, lack of connection in a digitally connected world, elder care and friendship. So here come the shell puns: I’m not going to conch you over the head, but I’m urchin you to see this because it’s a shell of a good time. It’s one of the best films of the year so far.