The Souvenir (2019)

The Souvenir (2019)

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Joanna Hogg’s fourth film takes us back to early 1980s London and the insecurities and vulnerabilities of a rich and searching young filmmaker, here expressed with complete mastery.

Based on Hogg’s own experiences as a film student in London during the 1980s, it is potent autofiction, and incredibly revealing of a young artist wrestling with her ambitions, limitations and desires. Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) is unguarded and riskily so, allowing herself to be wrapped in the too-tight embrace of the older, sophisticated-seeming Anthony after meeting him at a party. “I’m trying to work out how you two… tessellate,” says Anthony’s friend (a drily funny cameo from Richard Ayoade).

Swinton Byrne gives a profoundly subtle performance as Julie, in a film that features extended, often-improvised scenes of mundane, daily life. Co-stars Tilda Swinton.