Category Archives: Sally Hawkins



Director Paul King

Starring Timothée Chalamet, Calah Lane, Olivia Colman

Scott’s Review #1,414 

Reviewed January 3, 2024

Grade: B+

Wonka (2023) is only the third live-action film based on Roald Dahl’s iconic 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, following Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

The latter was an inadequate and unnecessarily dark film starring Johnny Depp that threatened to ruin the trademark fantasy of the original.

Fortunately, director Paul King mostly known for directing the Paddington films opts for a warm and even gooey experience that does perfect justice to the original starring Gene Wilder with many connections to that film, especially costumes, characters, and locale.

It’s saccharine sweet but not sickeningly sweet instead feeling both fresh and genuine.

The wonderful and familiar featured song ‘Pure Imagination’ appears instantly as the film begins which does wonders to capture and captivate the nostalgic audience—mixed with other new gems like ‘A World of Your Own’ hooks newer and younger viewers.

The effort works well as a kindly old friend dusted off the shelf for a new waltz across the dance floor and a dizzying chocolate delight crowd-pleaser is the result of Wonka.

Wonka is released in December amid the sugary Christmas holiday season. A marketing win what parents could refuse a delicious trip to the cinema?

The wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician, and chocolate maker became the beloved Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) we know today begins with the young actor brazenly wearing a similar garb as Wilder did in the 1971 effort.

I adore this feat and pointed display because it makes crystal clear the attempt to leverage history instead of upheaval.

Chalamet is perfectly cast as Willy in large part because he resembles Wilder with his wiry build and waifish face. There exists a kindness and trustworthiness that transfers well from the big screen to the audience member.

Throughout the film, there is light peril that Wonka faces like a crooked debt owed to the even more crooked Mrs. Scrubitt’s (Olivia Colman) boardinghouse or the vengeful competitor Arthur Slugworth (Paterson Joseph) but it’s nothing he can’t handle with a grin and shrug of the shoulders.

His feathers are not ruffled easily because he believes in the magic of chocolate. In a dear flashback scene featuring his mother, played by Sally Hawkins, she inspires him to always believe in himself and be a good person.

This is at the heart of the film.

Along for the ride are new friends orphan Noodle (Calah Lane), Abacus Crunch (Jim Carter), and others trapped within Scrubbit’s and henchman Bleacher, played by Tom Davis.

There’s even a connection with the fan favorite Oompa-Loompa’s led by Lofty (Hugh Grant) who becomes a close ally in the end. As historical viewers will know the pair reunites in business.

Despite all these terrific additions the main attraction is the chocolate naturally. Highlights are a lavish chocolate attempted drowning, a chocolate store, and more than enough chocolate colorful flowers to whet one’s appetite.

The film is weird and zany without being too far out there and retains its touchy-feely approach.

Wonka (2023) successfully builds a multi-generational bridge between audiences with a powerful human connection. Grandparents, parents, and children alike can all see the film together with a common love of chocolate and magic.

The dangers are light-hearted and the filmmakers keep age-appropriate sensibilities and the result is family-friendly material with a kindhearted approach.

We all need this sometimes.

An Education-2009

An Education-2009

Director Lone Scherfig

Starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard

Scott’s Review #584

Reviewed January 4, 2017

Grade: B+

An Education, a British film released in 2009, is a small, little gem of a film. The story-telling and the acting are very good.

Since it is a British film, the accents can be a little distracting for some, but I enjoyed it very much.

It tells the story of an intelligent, college-driven teenager, named Jenny (Mulligan), who falls in love with an older, charismatic man (Sarsgaard). She is faced with conflict from her family and teachers, most notably her father, played by Alfred Molina.

The individuals in her life have differing opinions on which path Jenny should choose in her life. This leads to the main conflict in the film.

The setting is rainy, cold, London in 1961. Headed for Oxford and a successful career (not common for a female in those days), Jenny is willing to risk it all for love, but is she being taken advantage of?

The film is romantic, comical, and serious all rolled into one. The story is nothing original, to be frank, but specifically, the excellent acting makes it worth seeing.

An Education (2009) proves filmmakers can take a good story, told before, and make it compelling to an audience.

Carey Mulligan deservedly received an Oscar nomination for this film and made her debut as a high-caliber young actress to watch.

Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress-Carey Mulligan, Best Adapted Screenplay

Independent Spirit Award Nominations: 1 win-Best Foreign Film (won)

Never Let Me Go-2010

Never Let Me Go-2010

Director Mark Romanek

Starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley

Scott’s Review #555

Reviewed December 21, 2016

Grade: A-

Offering a unique experience in creative story-telling, Never Let Me Go (2010) is an excellent film that I was happy to discover.

A mixture of romance and science-fiction, tells of young love and tragedy interestingly- sacrifice and science can lead to dire results.

Based on a 2005 novel of the same name.

A small British drama about a private school where the children are raised as typical children, but at a certain point are expected to donate organs to save other lives, the concept is quite fresh and original.

The film deals with both the moral and psychological effects of the chosen ones as they attempt to allude to ending their lives- if they can prove they are in love.

My initial reactions were multiple emotions-thought-provoking, touching, and sad is what I felt.

This film will make you think. It is equally evocative and thought-provoking- many times I imagined myself in a similar situation.

As Andrew Garfield’s character gets out of his car on the side of the road and screams up at the sky, it is the most powerful scene in the film.

Excellent acting by the three leads (Mulligan, Garfield, and Knightley), with special praise for Carey Mulligan.

Charlotte Rampling as the mysterious headmistress of the school is brilliant.

Independent Spirit Award Nominations: Best Cinematography

Blue Jasmine-2013

Blue Jasmine-2013

Director Woody Allen

Starring Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins

Scott’s Review #92


Reviewed July 3, 2014

Grade: A

Blue Jasmine (2013) is the latest offering by Woody Allen and one of his best since the 1970s. I have heard from several people that they are not typical Woody Allen fans but loved this film and I ponder why that is.

My theory is that Cate Blanchett, who stars as neurotic Jasmine, is the heart and soul of this movie.

Allen’s films usually center on neurotic characters and this film is no different.

Set primarily in San Francisco, it tells how Jasmine has lost all of her money thanks to bad investments by her ex-husband (played in flashbacks by Alec Baldwin).

She is a socialite and used to the best life in excess and extravagance.

Now Jasmine is reduced to making a clean start of it by rooming with her blue-collar sister, played by Sally Hawkins, and trying to scrape by.

Jasmine struggles to find success and the means to survive.

The film is hysterical, heartbreaking, and even a downer at moments. Through the assistance of pills and martinis, Jasmine is snobbish and ego-centric, yet the audience falls in love with and roots for her.

She is high-class yet broke. She keeps up appearances, and her wit, usually at the expense of others, never falters.

Blanchett is responsible for the love of this character and, thankfully, won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal.

The dialogue is sharp, witty, and filled with laugh-out-loud moments. Thanks to much of it taking place in flashbacks, the audience sees Jasmine’s life as it once was, having everything and then some, then back to her current reality and back and forth. This is a wise decision to show both of her lives.

Blue Jasmine (2013) is one of Woody Allen’s best.

Oscar Nominations: 1 win-Best Actress-Cate Blanchett (won), Best Supporting Actress-Sally Hawkins, Best Original Screenplay

Independent Spirit Award Nominations: 1 win-Best Female Lead-Cate Blanchett (won), Best Supporting Female-Sally Hawkins, Best Screenplay