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Now showing at Alban Arena Civic Centre,St Albans,Hertfordshire AL1 3LD 01727 844488

  • In The Blood: Shorts
  • Still Alice
  • Suite Francaise

In The Blood: Shorts 3 stars

Documentary shorts.

  • GenreDocumentary, Shorts
  • DirectorBrian Harrington.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration4 mins
  • Official site

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 3rd June 2015

Still Alice 3 stars

movie title

Celebrated linguistics professor Alice Howland has a handsome husband John and three grown-up children, Anna, Tom and Lydia, who are forging their own paths through life. Out of the blue, Alice begins to forget words and phrases, and medical tests reveal she has early on-set Alzheimer's disease, inherited from her father. Since the condition could be passed down to her children, Alice advises her brood to be tested, which poses a dilemma for Anna, who is pregnant with twins.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Romance
  • CastJulianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Hunter Parrish, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, Shane McRae.
  • DirectorRichard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland.
  • WriterRichard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration101 mins
  • Official sitewww.sonyclassics.com/stillalice/
  • Release06/03/2015 (selected cinemas)

Memories are twinkling stars in a celestial map linking our past, present and future. Some of these glittering orbs dim naturally over time, such as first experiences from childhood, while others are temporarily obscured by the fog of modern life, like when we forget a friend's birthday, what we dreamt last night, to water the plants or the last place we saw a set of keys.

Alzheimer's is an incurable neurodegenerative disease that slowly robs a patient of the ability to see these stars and chart a safe passage back to the people they love. Names and faces of friends and family fade to black. For those left behind, staring into the unblinking eyes of a close relative who no longer recognises you, is an anguish that defies words.

Julianne Moore delivers an Oscar-winning performance as a forty-something mother faced with an early diagnosis of this cruel disease in Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's heartfelt drama. Based on the novel by Lisa Genova, Still Alice simply, yet powerfully, conveys the emotional devastation for the central character and the ripple effect for her family.

Celebrated linguistics professor Alice Howland (Moore) leads a charmed life. She has a husband John (Alex Baldwin) and three grown-up children, Anna (Kate Bosworth), Tom (Hunter Parrish) and Lydia (Kristen Stewart), who are forging divergent paths through life.

During a lecture that she has rigorously prepared, Alice inexplicably loses her train of thought. "I knew I shouldn't have had that champagne," she jokes to appreciative giggles from her audience. Alice begins to forget simple vocabulary and seeks guidance from family medic, Dr Benjamin (Stephen Kunken).

He rules out tumours or a stroke but suspects that Alice is exhibiting the early symptoms of Alzheimer's. "It would be rare for someone as young as yourself, but you do fit the criteria," he tells her soberly. Tests confirm the doctor's fears and since the condition can be passed down, Alice calls together her brood.

She advises her children to be tested, which poses a dilemma for Anna and her husband Charlie (Shane McRae), who are expecting twins.

Anchored by Moore's spellbinding work, Still Alice is a modern family portrait that will strike an unsettling chord. Baldwin tugs our heartstrings and Stewart offers strident support as the youngest member of the clan, who moves back home to reconnect with her mother while there is still time.

"I wish I had cancer," Alice tells John. "I wouldn't feel so ashamed. When people have cancer they wear pink ribbons for you and go on long walks and raise money." Still Alice feels no shame or cloying self-pity.

Writer-directors Glatzer and Westmoreland treat characters with sensitivity, touching lightly on the frustrations and blind terror that will become more frequent for Alice and her inner circle as the disease progresses.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 4th June 2015

Suite Francaise 3 stars

movie title

In June 1940, Madame Angellier ignores the spectre of war to collect rent from cash-strapped tenants, aided by her daughter-in-law Lucile. The Germans arrive and commander Bruno von Falk is billeted with the Angelliers. Lucile shares the handsome officer's love for music and she wrestles with her attraction to him. Meanwhile, farmer Benoit Sabarie and his wife Madeleine suffer the presence of billeted German officer Kurt Bonnet, who makes clear his libidinous interest in the wife.

  • GenreDrama, Historical/Period, Romance, War
  • CastMargot Robbie, Ruth Wilson, Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts, Lambert Wilson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Riley, Harriet Walter.
  • DirectorSaul Dibb.
  • WriterMatt Charman, Saul Dibb.
  • CountryUK/Fr/Can
  • Duration107 mins
  • Official site
  • Release13/03/2015

Heartbreaking truth is more compelling than fiction in Suite Francaise, Saul Dibb's faithful adaptation of the novella Dolce by Irene Nemirovsky. Penned by Nemirovsky, a French Jew, in the early 1940s, Dolce was supposed to be the second instalment of a five-book series documenting life under German occupation and the rise of the Communist resistance.

Shortly after completing the second tome, the author was arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz, where she died, leaving behind a journal filled with finished work, detailed notes for a third book and provisional titles for the concluding instalments.

More than 50 years later, Nemirovsky's daughter pored through her mother's diary and gave her blessing to the publication of books one and two, Tempete En Juin (Storm In June) and Dolce, as a single volume. Dibb's picture concludes with moving testimony to the author, providing an emotional kick that is sadly lacking from the rest of his handsomely crafted tale of forbidden love in a time of conflict.

Suite Francaise opens with grainy black and white news footage of the German advance in June 1940 then bleeds into full colour as the narrative moves to the bucolic town of Bussy, east of the capital.

Madame Angellier (Kristin Scott Thomas), whose son has enlisted, ignores the spectre of war to collect rent from cash-strapped tenants, aided by her daughter-in-law Lucile (Michelle Williams). On the road, they encounter refugees, who have fled Paris in the futile hope of outrunning Hitler's troops.

Soon after, the Germans arrive and commander Bruno von Falk (Matthias Schoenaerts) is billeted with the Angelliers. "There was a relief in his presence after months of silence," poetically remarks Lucile, who shares the handsome officer's love for music.

While the Viscount (Lambert Wilson) and Viscountess de Montmort (Harriet Walter) curry favour with the occupying force, farmer Benoit Sabarie (Sam Riley) and his wife Madeleine (Ruth Wilson) suffer the presence of billeted German officer Kurt Bonnet (Tom Schilling), who makes clear his libidinous interest in the wife.

Tempers flare at the Sabarie farmhouse while pulses quicken under Madame Angellier's roof as Lucile and Bruno surrender to desire. They keep the affair secret from the fearsome Madame - "She could scare away the plague!" quips Bruno - but they cannot keep their illicit liaisons hidden forever.

Suite Francaise is a well-crafted yet emotionally underpowered portrait of a community torn apart by prejudice and suspicion. Thomas delivers another steely turn as a woman of substance, who refuses to bend to the Germans' might, while on-screen chemistry between Williams and Schoenaerts remains at a gentle simmer.

At the beginning of the film, Dibb orchestrates one decent action sequence - German planes dive-bombing French refugees - then settles into a pedestrian pace, echoed in the languid voiceover narration.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 2nd June 2015
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