The Souvenir Part II
Friday, October 29, 2021
Grade: A. Dazzling and essential. One of the most timeless and thrillingly alive coming-of-age stories the movies have given us.
A masterwork of self-introspection through the canvas of cinema.
A beguiling, breathtaking work from a master of her craft that speaks to an uncompromising vision of what cinema can be with a little faith and imagination.
Grieving and depleted from the tragic end of a relationship with a boyfriend who had suffered from drug addiction, young Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) summons the emotional and creative fortitude to forge ahead as a film student in 1980s London. Continuing the remarkable autobiographical saga she had begun in 2019’s The Souvenir, British director Joanna Hogg (a filmmaker of unceasing visual ingenuity and sociological specificity) fashions a gently meta-cinematic mirror image of part one, cutting to the quick in one surprising, enthralling idea after another. A film about finding one’s artistic inspiration and individuality that avoids every possible cliché, The Souvenir Part II is a bold conclusion to this story of unsentimental education, told with the filmmaker’s inimitable oblique poignancy, and featuring a mesmerizing supporting cast including Tilda Swinton, Harris Dickinson, Ariane Labed, Joe Alwyn, and a scene-stealing Richard Ayoade. An A24 release. An NYFF59 selection.