Tag Archives: Sharon Horgan

I Hate Your Face


by George Wolf

We’re living in unprecedented times – that’s no news flash. But the daily process of navigating the minefield of consequences from this pandemic can beat down our psyche until acceptance is required for survival.

While it may be decades until we can fully fathom the extremes we’re going through right now, filmmakers have been showing impressive instincts for adapting to on-set constraints, and reflecting on our currently shared experience.

Enjoying Together may depend upon how much you welcome the reminder.

Filmed in under two weeks with a cast of just three in a single location, the film finds humor and poignancy while mining both the intimate and more universal aspects of a nationwide lockdown.

The nation is Great Britain, where we meet He (James McAvoy) and She (Sharon Horgan) at the beginning of the quarantine, when onscreen text begins keeping track of the days and the casualties.

He’s a bootstrap conservative just fine with buying privilege, while she’s a power to the people “communist.” They were splitting up even before lockdown, so now that they’re forced to stay together, he hates her face, she wants to feed him poison mushrooms, and they both speak directly to the camera while trying to keep the worst of their vitriol away from son Artie (Samuel Logan).

Directors Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader) and Justin Martin (debut feature) use the broken fourth wall and the multiple extended takes to draw us in and make us part of the conversation.

Writer Dennis Kelly provides McAvoy and Horgan with funny, biting barbs and heartfelt monologues, and the two actors consistently find authentic levels of humor and emotion – even in the moments when it starts to feel we’re being talked to instead of with. He and She are demanding, intense roles, and both McAvoy and Horgan respond with fiery, nuanced turns that alone make the film worthwhile.

In between the mounting death toll and the promise of a vaccine, Together glimpses how our lives have been changed in small, inconvenient ways and larger, heartbreaking ones. And as an impressionable child waits in the next room while his parents get closer to their true feelings, American audiences may especially notice the missing chapter on pandemic death cults.

But in our darkest days, art has always been there to help us question, laugh, cry and heal. So while using a welcome night out to spend time back in lockdown may seem as entertaining as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, this film just wants you to know there’s hope if we just stay…

You know.

Fight Song

Military Wives

by Rachel Willis

When the men and women living on a military base in England ship off on their latest tour, the wives left at home need to find a way to pass the time until the tour of duty is completed.

Enter Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas). Struggling with her own recent tragedy, Kate decides to take on a bigger role in the choir activities that are primarily organized by Lisa (Sharon Horgan).

As a colonel’s wife, Kate’s participation is unusual, but it’s not important for us to understand these intricacies of life on the base. What writers Rachel Tunnard and Roselyn Flynn are interested in is the conflict between uptight Kate and laid-back Lisa.

The movie proceeds as you would expect. Though inspired by real events, director Peter Cattaneo doesn’t inject any originality into the formulaic script. I couldn’t help but think of A League of Their Own while watching the events of Military Wives unfold. It’s almost a beat for beat remake with choir substituted for baseball. However, where A League of Their Own managed to subvert expectations and round out its cast, Military Wives can’t compete.

It’s hard to keep track of everyone in the sizable cast. Not every character is given depth, most are one-dimensional. The story, however, isn’t concerned with fleshing out these women—they serve to add depth to the conflicts faced by the main characters and to enhance the setting. We see these women preparing to send their spouses off to war, little moments of goodbyes, of children and mothers trying to connect to their loved ones overseas, of women trying to pass the time until they’re reunited.

Still, it seems Kristen Scott Thomas will always be remarkable no matter how little she’s given to work with. The few emotional moments the film manages to mine are delivered through Thomas’s strong performance. Horgan doesn’t quite match up to Thomas, but Lisa is also the less interesting character.

Formulas are often reused because they work, and if you’re looking for a feel-good film you won’t go wrong here. However, this is the kind of forgettable film that will fly under most people’s radar.   

Clowns Against Humanity

Game Night

by Hope Madden

Nobody does dry, self-deprecating humor as well as Jason Bateman. He’s such a natural as the put-upon husband/brother at the center of the Game Night tension, he becomes the action/comedy’s effortless center of gravity.

And the way this story orbits, circles back, veers around and comes back again, gravity is important.

Bateman plays Max who, with his wife Annie (Rachel McAdams), hosts a weekly game night at his house. But Max’s super cool brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) wants to host this week, and Max’s creepy neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons, creepy perfection) wants to come. Well, things are spinning out of control, aren’t they?

A tight script by Mark Perez gives a game cast (see what I did there?) plenty of opportunity to riff on each other and nerd up the place. The chemistry onscreen, particularly between couples—each of which is given the chance to create believable unions—elevates the hijinks.

McAdams steals scenes with comic charm, reminding us again of her spot-on timing and ability to generate plausible relationship backstory with anybody. Meanwhile, funny bits from Sharon Horgan and Lamorne Morris, in particular, keep the larger Game Night ensemble from letting the storyline lag.

The easy humor spilling from this cast pulls the film away from absurd comedy and turns it into something more comfortable. Because, even though there may or may not (or may?) have been a kidnapping and they may or may not (or may?) be making things worse, they have actually trained for this moment for years.

Because what is it that will help these couples live through the bizarre and twisted mess their game night has become?


Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (Vacation) keep the action low key. This allows the entire effort to indulge in the “so this is happening right now, then? Ok, let’s deal with that” kind of humor that is so characteristically Bateman. The comedy is upbeat and fun (though sometimes surprisingly violent) and true to the characters and their relationships.

It’s consistently fun and ultimately forgettable. Like a game night.