As 2018 comes to an end, we’re already looking to our cinematic calendars for 2019. And if the below are anything to go by, we’re in for some truly mesmerising on-screen acting. Jennifer McShane has nine movies worth looking out for.
This is a period piece, but not as you know it. From the inventive filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster; The Killing of a Sacred Deer) comes The Favourite, a wickedly bawdy comedy set in the court of Queen Anne, the insecure monarch played with relish by Olivia Colman. The cousins, Abigail (Emma Stone) and Sarah (Rachel Weisz), will stop at nothing to compete for their ruler’s affections, or to best each other. It’s all warring women in the best sense of the word and is already being viewed as an Oscar contender.
The Favourite is due in cinemas in January 2019
Mary Queen of Scots
Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary Stuart defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I. Each young Queen beholds her sister in fear and fascination. The rivalling women are played compellingly by our own Saoirse Ronan (with yet another perfect accent) and an interestingly cast Margo Robbie who goes against the glamour to play the ageing queen. Written by House of Cards’ Beau Williamson, the leading ladies are reason enough to view this lavish historical drama.
Mary Queen of Scots is due in cinemas in January 2019
A Girl from Mogadishu
This powerful Irish-Belgium film is a true story based on the testimony of Ifrah Ahmed, who—having escaped war-torn Somalia—emerged as one of the world’s foremost international activists against gender-based violence. Written and directed by Mary McGuckian, and starring Aja Naomi King as Ifrah, this one promises to be compelling – and an absolute must-see.
A Girl from Mogadishu is due for release in 2019
After moving to Paris, author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette agrees to ghostwrite a semi-autobiographical novel for her husband. Its success soon inspires her to fight for creative ownership and liberation in an era where women are utterly restricted. She is a fearless heroine and one who challenges the patriarchy. Never has her story felt more relevant. Keira Knightly is illuminating in the leading role.
Colette is due in cinemas in early 2019
Belgian film-maker Lukas Dhont’s Girl, an affecting French-language drama in which the transgender 15-year-old Lara (Victor Polster) chases her dream of becoming a professional ballerina as she awaits gender-confirmation surgery. This one is emphatic and utterly moving – it had many people talking at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Girl is due in cinemas in March 2019
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt finally pair up on screen for Quentin Tarantino’s much-anticipated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a tale of a washed-up actor and his stuntman trying to transition from television to film in 1969. Margot Robbie stars as Sharon Tate, the woman and actress who was brutally and tragically murdered by the Manson family cult. We know few other details Tarantino has said that his ninth film most closely aligns with Pulp Fiction, so either way, this is one that will get people talking.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is due in cinemas in July 2019
The Lion King
One of the most famous Disney animations of all time is finally getting a live-action stamp and with a starry voice cast from Beyoncé to Donald Glover, Beyonce, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, Alfre Woodard and John Oliver, anticipation is already building, though we’ve seen not even a glimpse of a single frame.
The Lion King is due in cinemas in July 2019
Another much-talked about film centring on gay conversion therapy (following the lauded The Miseducation of Cameron Post), this time starring Manchester by the Sea’s Lucas Hedges as Jared, a homosexual teen sent away to a correctional facility by his family. Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman play Jared’s rigidly religious parents, believing they are helping their son by trying to “straighten him out”. This gained traction at all the major film festivals and is worth watching for Hedges’ remarkable performance alone.
Boy Erased is due in cinemas in February 2019
Hot on the heels of the success of Wonder Woman, Marvel has recruited the always under-rated Brie Larson to suit up to play the titular heroine in the comic-book studio’s first female-fronted movie. The movie is the origin story of Captain Marvel, the most powerful superhero of the MCU, and will outline the intergalactic battle between two alien races. We can only hope it delivers amongst all the hype.
Captain Marvel is due in cinemas in March 2019