The Souvenir Part II – REVIEW

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Picking up immediately after the first film’s climatic moment the sequel begins with film student Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) recovering at her parents luxurious Norfolk home (her screen mother is played by her real life mother Tilda Swinton). The death of her heroin hooked boyfriend has been an understandable shock and as she reflects on events she returns to her parent funded student flat in London the least student like accommodation committed to screen without a pot noodle, Betty Blue poster or stolen roadside traffic cone in sight.

Julie’s graduation film script about a working class family in Sunderland she has dropped replacing it with an introspective and ephemeral script which the all male course tutors verbally shred and refuse to fund. So like any-student he Bank of Mum & Dad bails her out to the tune of £10,000 with the parents desperately hoping that she doesn’t make the sort of embarrassing short film that isn’t short enough. That her direction on set leaves the cast unsure of what  she’s after,  infuriates the DoP  and leaves the rest of the production staff confused and only her producer (Jaygaan Ayeh – a shoe–in for the lead in The Trevor Nelson story) – the only one supporting her vision.

This may all sound a little harsh but The Souvenir Part II has much to savour with a story that blurs reality with her now part autobiographical graduation film script not just for Julie but also for the film’s director Joanne Hogg.  The cast excel in their roles with Swinton Byrne gaining in confidence as her character begins her first professional film. The stand out role is Richard Ayoade, an hilariously petulant, tantrum prone fellow student who thinks British musicals are terrible and yet his graduation film is also a musical. And its him who delivers the brutally honest truth about her late boyfriend

Though the narrative is not as defined as the first film The Souvenir Part II is an elegant blurring of art and autobiography. Hogg’s direction is faultless, Swinton Byrne we want to see in more films ….and Richard Ayoade is a comic tour de force

Here’s The Souvenir Part II trailer…..

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