This is the time of year when I get innumerable questions about movies that were released on Christmas Day but have not yet arrived in the Kelowna area. The reason is that some movies are released to theatres in the United States a week or two before the end of the year to qualify for the Academy Awards.
The movie this year that everyone is asking about is The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and helmed by last year’s Best Director Oscar-winner Alejandro González Iñárritu.
DiCaprio plays legendary explorer Hugh Glass on an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness when he is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. To survive, Glass must endure unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption.
Not only did Iñárritu win for best director last year, his Birdman also won Best Picture and The Revenant has been hotly anticipated since then, especially because it was partly filmed in Alberta. Already nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, including for Iñárritu and DiCaprio, watch for this one to get a lot of attention during this awards season.
Another movie getting recognition is Carol. Nominated for five Golden Globe awards including for Best Picture, Cate Blanchett for Best Actress and Rooney Mara for Best Supporting Actress, it is the story of the loving relationship between two women in the 1950s. Complicating the relationship is the lack of acceptance of a same-sex relationship in that time period. It is directed by the acclaimed Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, I’m Not There), who is also nominated for a Golden Globe award.
Natalie Dormer has been a rising star over the past few years, getting some noteworthy roles over the past few years. I first got to know her from her recurring role in Elementary as Sherlock Holmes’ love interest Irene Adler who turned out to be nemesis Jamie Moriarty. She then showed up in Game of Thrones as Margaery Tyrell and Hunger Games fans will know her as Cressida. She now gets her first starring role in a movie and while The Forest may not become a blockbuster, its premise is interesting and it may help keep her star rising.
Dormer plays Sara Price, an American woman who travels to the Aokigahara Forest, located at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan, where people go to commit suicide. However, Sara is not there to end her life but rather find her sister who has mysteriously disappeared. Despite warnings not to “stray from the path,” she enters the forest to discover the truth about her sister’s fate, only to be confronted by the angry and tormented souls who prey on those who dare to explore the forest.