It’s a Wonderful Life

Our December 2022 film is the classic film about an angel who is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Showing: 7 December 2022

2019 BBFC Ratings Badge U - Suitable for all
  • Date of release: 1946
  • Running time: 2h 10m
  • Director: Frank Capra
  • Writers: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett and Frank Capra
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English
  • Links: IMDB Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic BBFC

It’s a Wonderful Life Plot Synopsis

George Bailey has so many problems he is thinking about ending it all – and it’s Christmas! As the angels discuss George, we see his life in flashback. As George is about to jump from a bridge, he ends up rescuing his guardian angel, Clarence – who then shows George what his town would have looked like if it hadn’t been for all his good deeds over the years.

Film Reviews

It’s one of those ageless movies, like “Casablanca” or “The Third Man,” that improves with age. Some movies, even good ones, should only be seen once. When we know how they turn out, they’ve surrendered their mystery and appeal. Other movies can be viewed an indefinite number of times. Like great music, they improve with familiarity. It’s a Wonderful Life falls in the second category

Roger Ebert

Although peppered with colourful, sharply drawn characters, this is Stewart’s movie, instantly loveable as a small town dreamer who sacrifices everything for others. His journey to despair and back warms the cockles like little else. Enjoy it in a cinema so you can sob among others.

Ian Freer, Empire

Official Film Trailer for It’s a Wonderful Life



< November 2022

The Duke

In 1961, Kempton Bunton stole a valuable painting from the London National Gallery. He sent ransom notes saying that he would return it on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly. What happened next became the stuff of legend. An uplifting true story about a good man who set out to change the world.

Shown: 5 October 2022

Exminster Film Club Rating: 90%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

The Duke Plot Synopsis

In 1961, 60-year-old Kempton Bunton stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. He sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly. What happened next became the stuff of legend. An uplifting true story about a good man who set out to change the world and managed to save his marriage.

Film Reviews

You could dine on nothing but lard for twenty years and still not develop the hardness of heart necessary to avoid being won over by Roger Michell‘s The Duke, a ridiculously charming British comedy that dunks a gamely accented prestige cast into an appealingly milky true story like so many digestives into a warm, well-earned, early evening cuppa.

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

The Duke is that rarest of things: a comedy that knows that a twinkle in the eye and a fire in the belly needn’t be mutually exclusive.

Robbie Collin – The Telegraph

Official Film Trailer for The Duke

Review from an EFC Member

A film based on a true story. Outstanding performances by Jim Boadbent as a man with an active social conscience and Helen Mirren as his long suffering wife. The story is touching, a balance of grief, justice and many humorous moments.

I greatly enjoyed the whole film and would happily watch it again.

Judith


< September 2022

November 2022 >

West Side Story

Manhattan, Upper West Side, 1957. Against the backdrop of the decaying tenements of New York, two gangs fight for supremacy. This oscar-winning reimagining of the beloved musical tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City.

Shown: 7 September 2022

Exminster Film Club Rating: 88%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

West Side Story Plot Synopsis

An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

Film Reviews

This is a West Side Story for both the past and present, as pleasing as the best movie musicals used to be, and as relevant as today’s headlines. It makes you feel like you are actually on the turbulent streets of New York’s west side, not a sound stage.

Rex Reed, Observer

West Side Story is contrived, certainly, a hothouse flower of musical theatre, and Spielberg quite rightly doesn’t try hiding any of those stage origins. His mastery of technique is thrilling; I gave my heart to this poignant American fairytale of doomed love.

Peter Bradshaw – The Guardian

Official Film Trailer for West Side Story



< April 2022

October 2022 >

The Good Liar

Career con artist Roy can hardly believe his luck when he meets a well-to-do widow on-line. As Betty opens her home and life to him, Roy is surprised to find himself caring about her, turning what should be a cut-and-dry swindle into the most treacherous tightrope walk of his life.

Shown: 6 April 2022

Exminster Film Club Rating: 91%

BBFC Ratings Badge 15

The Good Liar Plot Synopsis

Consummate con man Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen) has set his sights on his latest mark: the recently widowed Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren), worth millions. And Roy means to take it all.

From their very first meeting, Roy begins plying Betty with his tried and true manipulations, and Betty, who seems quite taken with him, is soon going along for the ride. But this time, what should have been a simple swindle escalates into a cat-and-mouse game with the ultimate stakes—revealing more insidious deceptions that will take them both through a minefield of danger, intrigue and betrayal.

Film Reviews

This movie rattles along with terrific energy and dash and the flashback sequences show that it’s actually far more daring and ambitious that you might expect. It’s a great duel between McKellen and Mirren.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

As a movie, The Good Liar is just so-so, but as a master class in performance and star quality, it’s a pleasure.

Moira MacDonald, The Seattle Times

Official Film Trailer for The Good Liar



< March 2022

The Courier

A gripping spy thriller which tells the true story of an unassuming businessman who is recruited into The Cold War in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Shown: 2 February 2022

Exminster Film Club Rating: 92%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

The Courier Plot Synopsis

A true-life spy thriller. The Courier is the story of an unassuming British businessman who is recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. At the behest of the UK’s MI-6 and a CIA operative, he forms a covert, dangerous partnership with a ​Soviet officer in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Film Reviews

The Courier is a tense, well-executed spy drama that wisely focuses on character and performance more than thrills, knowing that if we actually care about these men it will drastically heighten every narrowed glance, near miss, and frightful chase. It’s not always the freshest adventure, but that’s when the acting carries the piece and breathes life into these unlikely heroes.

Matt Fowler, IGN

A triumphant, inspiring movie about the heroism of human decency, Ironbark is a rock solid spy drama that, if it came out 20 years ago, would have easily become a mainstay on TNT or TBS. Hollywood doesn’t make movies like this very often anymore, and if does prove to be part of a last gasp of character-focused period thrillers, at least the genre is going out with some style.

Ben Pearson, Slash Film

Official Film Trailer for The Courier

Review From an EFC Member

The film based on a true story about an English salesman who was recruited by British intelligence to work with a soviet spy in the USSR during the Cold War.

It was an absorbing film and the acting all very convincing which is all I personally want from a film .

I don’t think I appreciated the seriousness of the whole affair at the time but I suppose as a teenager at that time there were other things to think about!

Chris


< January 2022

March 2022 >

Local Hero

An oil company executive gets more than he bargained for when a seemingly simple business trip to Scotland changes his outlook on life. Sent by his boss he quickly begins to question whether he is on the right side.

Shown: 5 January 2022

Exminster Film Club Rating: 80%

2019 BBFC Ratings Badge PG

Local Hero Plot Synopsis

Up-and-coming Houston oil executive “Mac” MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) gets more than he bargained for when a seemingly simple business trip to Scotland changes his outlook on life. Sent by his colourful boss (Burt Lancaster) to the small village of Ferness, Mac is looking to quickly buy out the townspeople so his company can build a new refinery. But after a taste of country life Mac begins to question whether he is on the right side of this transaction.

Film Reviews

Here is a small film to treasure, a loving, funny, understated portrait of a small Scottish town and its encounter with a giant oil company.

Roger Ebert

Local Hero, which concerns the frustrations of a Texas oilman’s attempts to buy up an idyllic Scottish village, ranks as a lyrical anti-urban comedy in the great tradition of films like I Know Where I’m Going and Whisky Galore!; and its essential triumph is to prove that comedy can still contain a gentle, almost mystical, aspect without necessarily being old-fashioned.

Time Out

Official Film Trailer for Local Hero



< December 2021

February 2022 >

The Personal History of David Copperfield

A re-imagining of Charles Dickens’ classic through the comedic lens of its award-winning filmmakers – giving the Dickensian tale new life for a cosmopolitan age with a diverse ensemble cast of stage and screen actors.

Shown: 1 December 2021

Exminster Film Club Rating: 82%

2019 BBFC Ratings Badge PG

The Personal History of David Copperfield Plot Synopsis

A re-imagining of Charles Dickens’ classic ode to grit and perseverance through the comedic lens of its award-winning filmmakers – giving the Dickensian tale new life for a cosmopolitan age with a diverse ensemble cast of stage and screen actors from across the world. Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell lend their wry, yet heart-filled storytelling style to revisiting Dickens’ iconic hero on his quirky journey from impoverished orphan to burgeoning writer in Victorian England.

Film Reviews

Restructuring some story arcs and jettisoning others, Iannucci and his collaborator, Simon Blackwell, have created a souped-up, trimmed-down adaptation so fleet and entertaining that its cleverness doesn’t immediately register.

Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield comes across as a bright and jaunty corrective to the dour and stuffy Dickens adaptations that have come before.

Peter Debruge, Variety

Official Film Trailer for The Personal History of David Copperfield



< November 2021

January 2022 >

Minari

A Korean American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of its own American dream. Amidst the challenges of this new life in the strange and rugged Ozarks, they discover the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

Shown: 3 November 2021

Exminster Film Club Rating: 70%

BBFC 12 Rating Badge

Minari Plot Synopsis

Yearning to own a small patch of land and be more than a chicken sexer, the ambitious paterfamilias, Jacob Yi, relocates his Korean-American family: sceptical wife, Monica, and their children, David and Anne, from California to 1980s rural Arkansas, to start afresh and capture the elusive American Dream. However, new beginnings are always challenging, and to find out what is best for the family, let alone start a 50-acre farm to grow and sell Korean fruits and vegetables, is easier said than done. But, amid sincere promises, cultural unease, fleeting hopes, and the ever-present threat of financial disaster, Jacob is convinced that he has found their own slice of Eden in the rich, dark soil of Arkansas. Can grandma Soonja’s humble but resilient minari help the Yi family figure out their place in the world?

Film Reviews

Sensitively written and acted, beautifully shot, and with a charming, sparingly used score, Minari is so engaging that it’s easy to forget how radical it is.

Nicholas Barber, BBC

It’s impossible not to appreciate the deep understanding of human behavior, as well as the way that ordinary objects and situations acquire symbolic meaning when we think about them in relation to the characters. This is a lovely, unique film.

Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

Official Film Trailer for Minari

Review from an EFC Member

Produced by, and starring, Walking Dead actor Steven Yeun, Minari centres around the lives of a young Korean-American family trying to establish their own successful farming business in rural Kansas.

Through a combination of amazing performances by the cast, particularly Yeun as the hardworking and stubborn father and veteran South Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung as his foul-mouthed mother-in-law, and incredible music from composer Emile Mosseri, Minari illustrates the struggles of those attempting to pursue the ‘American Dream’ in an evocative, sometimes funny yet overall poignant experience which I’m sure many people will find as entertaining and thought provoking as I did.

Thomas


< October 2021

December 2021 >

Misbehaviour

In 1970, the Miss World competition took place in London. Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage.

Shown: 6 October 2021

Exminster Film Club Rating: 80%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

Misbehaviour Plot Synopsis

In 1970, the Miss World competition took place in London, hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. At the time, Miss World was the most-watched TV show on the planet with over 100 million viewers. Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast of the competition. Not only that, when the show resumed, the result caused uproar: the winner was not the Swedish favourite but Miss Grenada, the first black woman to be crowned Miss World. In a matter of hours, a global audience had witnessed the patriarchy driven from the stage and the Western ideal of beauty turned on its head.

Film Reviews

If there is a tonal uncertainty in this comedy, then that’s because there was a tonal uncertainty in the real-life events, and the movie nicely conveys how they were at one and the same time deadly serious and Pythonically silly.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Well written, -acted, -cast and -produced, this wholly entertaining yet stingingly relevant story of the 1970 Miss World finals should have been a smash hit when it opened in UK theatres on March 13, but events overtook its release.

Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily

Official Film Trailer for Misbehaviour



< September 2021

November 2021 >

Harriet

The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Shown: 1 September 2021

Exminster Film Club Rating: 87%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

Harriet Plot Synopsis

The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Film Reviews

The intensity and the lyrical fervor of Kasi Lemmons’s direction lend this historical drama, about Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and her work with the Underground Railroad, the exalted energy of secular scripture.

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

This might not be the optimal film to tribute an American hero who’s long been neglected on our screens, but Erivo’s performance might very well become a definitive one, synonymous with Tubman. And that’s not a bad place to start by any measure.

Roger Ebert

Official Film Trailer for Harriet



< December 2020

October 2021 >