In one in every of many sensible scenes in The Memento Half II, a quiet drama is constructed across the unintentional smashing of a much-loved ceramic sugar bowl. Aptly sufficient, Joanna Hogg’s second chapter of her semi-autobiographical brace is a movie about choosing up the items. It effortlessly feels of a bit with its progenitor however it’s so far more: nonetheless intimate and fragile, however performed out on a extra expansive canvas. Like, say, The Empire Strikes Again or Aliens, it does what each good sequel ought to do — blow the world of the primary movie broad open — besides it does it with out AT-ATs or energy loaders, as a substitute simply with highly effective, private, creative filmmaking.
At its coronary heart, The Memento Half II is a portrait of a younger lady attending to grips with a damaged life normally and her nascent creativity particularly. After the loss of life of her heroin-addicted lover Anthony on the finish of the primary movie, Honor Swinton Byrne’s film-school pupil Julie Harte — the J.H. initials counsel the director’s alter-ego — is at a turning level in her filmmaking. Jettisoning her undertaking about working-class life within the Sunderland docks, Julie decides to make a model of her relationship with Anthony. Hogg, ripping from her personal time at movie faculty, paints a painfully plausible portrait of pupil filmmaking, the sense of rivalry, squabbles — there’s a implausible argument behind a minibus — and the idiosyncratic, indecisive strategy of a younger filmmaker failing to share their imaginative and prescient with the forged and crew.
Julie additionally takes her first steps within the skilled movie world by vividly realised pop-promo shoots and reuniting with flamboyant filmmaker Patrick (Richard Ayoade), whom she met briefly within the first flick. Ayoade is Half II’s secret weapon, an egomaniacal auteur who compares himself to Scorsese (an govt producer on each Memento movies) and dismisses reward throughout modifying (“That’s marvellously generic.” “You’re forcing me to have a tantrum”), but finds notes of pathos in a third-act assembly with Julie in Soho within the rain.
Hogg’s management of her filmmaking palate all through is immense.
Round Julie’s filmmaking exploits Hogg provides in numerous textures. Publish Anthony, Julie has three very totally different relationships with three very totally different males — intense actor Jim (Charlie Heaton), the miscast star of her personal quick, Pete (Harris Dickinson), and a candy movie editor (Joe Alwyn) — and rediscovers intercourse (no spoilers). There are additionally superbly performed scenes with Julie and her dad and mom (Tilda Swinton, James Spencer Ashworth), completely toggling between affection and reserve.
However that is Honor Swinton Byrne’s movie, Not within the shadow of Tom Burke’s overbearing Anthony, she comes into her personal right here, nonetheless a quiet, delicate presence, however one that’s completely absorbing. Hogg’s management of her filmmaking palate all through is immense — Julie’s last ‘movie’ is ‘Half I’ filtered by Powell & Pressburger — however maybe her largest accomplishment is drawing one thing trustworthy and true from the fabrication of filmmaking; about residing with tragedy, about discovering your personal voice and finally about rising up. Hats off, J.H..