Politics, love, and the power of parenting

Politics, love, and the power of parenting Clint Eastwood in Cry Macho.

My favourite joke about the JFK assassination concerns the dyslexic who thought President Kennedy was murdered by the ICA – the Irish Countrywomen’s Association.

One could be forgiven for expecting Oliver Stone to have finished with conspiracy theories surrounding his death with the humungous JFK back in 1991. Not so. He’s still banging on about it in a new documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass (15A).

Here’s more forensic ‘insight’ into grassy knolls, dual gunmen, FBI cover-ups and whatever you’re having yourself. Personally, I think Stone shouldn’t be allowed within 100 yards of a camera if he persists in these (largely unsubstantiated) hypotheses. By now they’ve become like a pension to him.

Memory lane

Kenneth Branagh takes a trip down memory lane in Belfast (12A), re-imagining what it was like for a nine-year-old boy growing up to the backdrop of The Troubles in the sixties.

His happy family life is undercut by the strife unfolding outdoors in this bittersweet evocation of a tumultuous time in the city’s history.

Branagh wrote the script during lockdown. It’s his most personal yet. He’s recruited the services of some seriously solid performers as part of his three-generation family: Ciaran Hinds, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan. Newcomer Jude Hill has received most of the plaudits as young Ken.

Shot in monochrome and generously supplied with vocals by Van ‘The Man’ Morrison – another Belfast native – ultimately it’s about the resilience of the human spirit.

Ghost story

With Petite Maman (PG) we get a ghost story with a difference. Following her granny’s death, a young girl meets someone who’s the mirror image of her mother as a child. She then strikes up a friendship with her. So is her new friend ‘really’ her mother?

Maybe we should just watch the film and not ask too many questions. The lessons it teaches us about relationships are more important than the literal truth of the scenarios.

Mothering Sunday (16) is an erotic adaptation of Graham Swift’s acclaimed novel about a secret tryst between an orphan (Josh O’Connor) and a maid (Odessa Young) in a country home in 1920s Berkshire run by a couple who bring O’Connor up as one of their own. It ranges willy-nilly between time and place under Eva Husson’s eccentric direction.

Cry Macho

Clint Eastwood is still acting in movies at 90, and not only that but directing them as well. In Cry Macho he’s a has-been rodeo rider rescuing a boy from an alcoholic mother and finding a kind of catharsis in his interactions with him.

Serena Williams dominated women’s tennis for more years than I can remember. Her sister Venus brought up the rear as an equally captivating – if somewhat less durable – presence on court.

We’re often told they owe a huge debt to their father. In King Richard (12A) Will Smith gives us a more cuddly depiction of this man than we might have expected. But then when has Smith not been cuddly?