Director Ritesh Batra’s adaptation of Julian Barnes’s my-theme-is-memory novel serves as a grand showcase for star Jim Broadbent as a sour old soul who is ever so gently forced to reckon with his past, and a smaller showcase for Charlotte Rampling as the long-ago lover who has very little interest in helping our hero muddle through his mild ordeal. Throughout, there is the feeling that a story that was once as sharp, doomful, and merciless as a bathtub razor blade has been blunted somewhat to allow for both mercy and hope. Perhaps this is just the result of Batra’s artful refusal to turn even direct confrontations into explicit arguments, or his considered shifts between past and present. Or perhaps it’s because it’s almost unbearable to think that the sins of our youth can reverberate down through the decades, wreaking havoc on others without our ever knowing. With Harriet Walter as Broadbent’s splendid, unbullshittable ex-wife. (2017) — Matthew Lickona
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