"I expect you’ll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That’s what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour.” Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall
On film
Phyllis Nagy: Carol and me

Phyllis Nagy: Carol and me

Carol, starring Cate Blanchett as a wealthy 1950s New York housewife and mother who risks her place in society by embarking on an intense affair with Rooney Mara’s shop girl, is a hot tip for big prizes as the film industry gears up for its annual awards season. The film, directed by Todd Haynes, is...
One moonlit night

One moonlit night

Under a harvest moon FBI agent John Connolly eased his beat-up Plymouth into a parking space along Wollaston Beach. Behind him the water stirred, and further off, the Boston skyline sparkled. The shipbuilding city of Quincy, bordering Boston to the south, was a perfect location for the kind of meeting the agent had in mind....
Shoot the writer

Shoot the writer

As the BFI London Film Festival attracts the focus of the capital’s critics and movie buffs, and superstar actors crowd the red carpets, we spare a thought for the source novels, biographies and fables that inspired some of this year’s most anticipated main features – including a handful of remastered classics. Brooklyn Adapted by Nick...
Abi Morgan gets our vote

Abi Morgan gets our vote

When I was 11 years old, I chose the suffragettes as the topic for one of my first secondary school projects. I’d been vaguely aware of the movement due to a large book that sat on a bookcase in our dining room entitled Shoulder to Shoulder, edited by Midge Mackenzie. The book was a companion...
The cemetery

The cemetery

He had a bad night. On waking, he remembered he was due to follow Madeleine and was mortified by the joy he felt at the prospect. Try as he would, however, he couldn’t rid himself of it. It clung to him, humble but obstinate, like a dog you haven’t the heart to chase away. He...
Keeping the Moomins above water

Keeping the Moomins above water

As Moomins on the Riviera arrives in UK cinemas, I catch up with Sophia Jansson, niece of Moomins creator Tove Jansson and head of the Moomin Characters company, to discuss the genesis of the film and her aunt’s wider legacy. The hand-drawn film is made by Hanna Hemilä’s Handle Productions in Helsinki and director Xavier...
High life and dirty boulevards

High life and dirty boulevards

The films in this list may range widely in style and subject, from brooding dramas to spectacular action movies, from French New Wave masterpieces to slightly dated 80s thrillers; some are French productions while others are American movies filmed in Paris, but one thing is true of all of them: they couldn’t have been set...
Day 38

Day 38

Jean-Marc Vallée’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, scripted by Nick Hornby and starring Reese Witherspoon, is now out in UK cinemas. It tells the story of Strayed’s 1,100-mile wilderness walk towards personal discovery along the Pacific Crest Trail. Witherspoon has been nominated for Best Actress in the Screen Actors’ Guild, the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards...
How to end a marriage

How to end a marriage

Marriages fall apart. Everyone has reasons, but no one really knows why. We got married young. Maybe that was our mistake. In New York State, you can legally get married before you can do a shot of tequila. We knew marriage could be difficult in the same way that we knew there were starving children...
From page to screen

From page to screen

The hype around the release of Gone Girl is a useful reminder that around half the top-grossing films of the last two decades have been literary adaptations. Bringing a well-loved book to the big screen is relatively risk-free, and this is reflected in the programme of the London Film Festival, the 58th edition of which...