Have you ever met someone that makes your heart skip every time they are near? I did and was madly in love. The touch of his hand would make me shiver with excitement for many years. Slowly, that excitement dissipated as my adoration shifted to disgust and disappointment from being disrespected and devalued. So, when I screened The Souvenir, many old wounds were instantly revisited.
Produced by Academy Award winner Martin Scorsese, The Souvenir reunites writer/director/producer Joanna Hogg and Tilda Swinton after 33 years. The result? A star making turn for Swinton’s daughter Honor Swinton Byrne as a young, aspiring filmmaker who has an intense love affair with a tortured, charismatic older man.
Honor Swinton Byrne is authentically sincere as Judy, who tolerates more than her share of verbal and mental abuse from habitual liar and heroine addict – Anthony (Tom Burke). Each time Anthony’s passive-aggressive behavior resulted in him gaining exactly what he desired my skin literally crawled. Abuse is a tricky emotion, as it is sometimes confused and misconstrued for love. However, love is not sex and it certainly isn’t supposed to lay the groundwork for being disrespected.
Joanna use of angled, singular conversation shots and using film structure like gleams or memory undertones are quite interesting to watch as they add a powerful intensity. The soundtrack is serves as an additional character with punctuation to each chapter of Judy’s story ranging from opera to hits like ‘Poison Ivy.’
Tom Burke is absolutely despicable as Anthony and delicious to watch. Anthony and Judy remind me of Heathcliff and Cathy from one of my favorite films ever – Wuthering Heights making The Souvenir hands down the best cinematic experience I ever had. It’s a painful reminder of the lengths a women will endure for a touch, kiss, compliment or anything that doesn’t lead to living and existing alone. Some women would rather remain in the pain they know rather than take the time to be treated like the queen.
Produced by A24 and Protagonist Pictures, The Souvenir hits theaters today. It is definite must see!!!!