Finding The Way Back (2020)

Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) was a high school basketball prodigy. He had a future in the game and just walked away from it all. Now he’s older, does manual labour and spends his evenings soaked in alcohol. He’s separated from his wife, and it transpires that they lost a son to cancer.

Out of the blue he receives a phonecall from a priest at his old school and is asked if he would like to coach the basketball team. Reluctant at first, he takes the job on. Reigniting his love of the game, he finds something to distract him from drink and depression, giving him another shot at redemption and a way to finally face his demons.

Affleck really shines in the role. He wears his pain on his sleeve and you kind of get the feeling that the role spoke to him on a deeper level. There is also a great chemistry between Cunningham and the team. The team have their own personalities that really shine through, and you want them to do well. The scenes with Cunningham and his estranged wife are also handled well, and you can see the raw emotion there. Janina Gavankar plays his wife Angela, and she does great. It doesn’t feel like a throwaway role, and really shows how grief can tear a family apart.

A touching movie with a good story and everyone on top form. It’s also not as predictable as many other sports movies that may have a similar story.

4/5

JM

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

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Often referred to as the “gay cowboy movie”, Brokeback Mountain was released in 2005 to an audience wondering how faithful Ang Lee would be to Annie Proulx’s short story. I would say Ang Lee did a fantastic job. The cast is phenomenal. The late Heath Ledger plays Ennis Del Mar, a cowboy who gets a job herding sheep in Wyoming. There he meets Jack Twist (played by Jake Gyllenhaal). The two men get a job working together herding the sheep on a mountainside. After a long day of work and a late night drinking, the two men share a tent to escape the cold, where they give in to their attraction to each other.

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Afterwards Ennis wants to put the incident behind him, choosing to live in denial with his fiance Alma (played by Michelle Williams). Jack however is more accepting of his sexuality and wants to be with Ennis. Both men seperate for a number of years, moving on with their lives and both getting married,┬áJack to a rich woman named Lureen Newsome (played by Anne Hathaway) and Ennis to Alma. Jack writes to Ennis years later and they arrange to meet again, only for tragedy and prejudice to rear it’s ugly head.

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I must say that this is a fantastic movie. Both Ledger and Gyllenhaal give it everything and seeing them together, you just can’t imagine them being with anyone else. Films like this just act as a constant reminder of what a fantastic actor Ledger was, and how tragic it is that he’s gone. I am constantly recommending this movie to people because I feel they need to put the homophobia aside and discover what an awesome movie it is. Now it’s not harsh that I call it homophobia, as that’s what it I feel it is. If you’re comfortable with your sexuality then why would a movie like this bother you?

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To not watch this film because it has a gay theme is sad, mainly because you are missing out on some of the finest acting I have ever seen from all concerned. I really think this is the best role of Ledger’s tragically short career, yes even better than The Dark Knight. I can’t recommend this enough, the film had a profound effect on me.

5/5

JM

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