Black Bear has promising mystery let down by its middle-class self-satisfaction


Black Bear has promising mystery let down by its middle-class self-satisfaction

Black Bear (15) 104mins ★★☆☆☆ ANYONE who thinks cinema is dead is wrong  – and this week’s streaming ­re­leases prove it. That’s becaus

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Black Bear

(15) 104mins


ANYONE who thinks cinema is dead is wrong  – and this week’s streaming ­re­leases prove it.

That’s because they will leave you screaming for the return of some old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment on the big screen.

Supplied by LMK

Black Bear is available on Amazon Prime and Apple streaming services[/caption]

Black Bear is a film so pleased with its superior intelligence it fails to notice the movie could send viewers into a state of hibernation.

The drama, available on Amazon Prime, Apple and other streaming services from today, starts promisingly enough with Aubrey Plaza offering an air of mystery around her film-director character Allison.

As she walks through a forest, Allison deflects questions from Gabe (Christopher Abbott), unwilling to reveal some deep secrets.

Gabe owns the “retreat” where Allison hopes to break the writer’s block that is preventing her from creating a new film.

Unexpected direction

The script, though, quickly descends into middle-class people talking about gender roles while drinking wine in front of a roaring fire. If I wanted that, I’d tune into Radio 4.

Gabe’s heavily pregnant partner Blair (Sarah Gadon) resents his old-fashioned views and is angered by Allison taking his side in an argument.

Jealousy infects the room, with the brooding, bearded man clearly attracted to the sympathetic guest.

To talk about what happens next would ruin the film. But I can tell you the story heads in an unexpected direction.


Black Bear is the work of writer and director Lawrence Michael Levine[/caption]

Writer and director Lawrence Michael Levine shifts perspective, taking a very different look at the characters involved and moving to a lighter tone.

The film seems to want to say something about story-telling but left me scratching my head as to what it might be.

What keeps it from being a dud is Parks And Recreations star Plaza, who throws herself into an emotionally charged role. Her ability to switch from comedy to rage during the passage of a frame is impressive. Plaza may grab your attention but she cannot distract from a production that will be straight to video on demand.

Near the end, Gabe says: “Movies aren’t everything.”

Perhaps not, but they can be a whole lot more than this.


Aubrey Plaza stars in the new movie[/caption]

Movie news

  • Jane Austen’s final novel Persuasion, published in 1817, is to be given a modern twist in a Netflix movie starring Fifty Shades Of Grey actress Dakota Johnson, left.
  • The 1958 classic Cat On A Hot Tin Roof movie, which starred Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, is being remade by Training Day director Antoine Fuqua.
  • Daniel Mays will play Boy George’s dad in the biopic of the Culture Club singer’s life, which is currently casting for the lead role.

House of Cardin

(12) 95mins


SINCE the success of the Alexander McQueen docu-film in 2018, there has been a parade of cheap copies.

While the McQueen film was haute couture – deeply affecting, with something to say – this is straight from the production line.

Capital Pictures

Documentary House Of Cardin doesn’t do justice to Italian-born French designer Pierre Cardin[/caption]

It doesn’t do justice to Italian-born French designer Pierre Cardin.

He brought the world the bubble dress in the 1950s, futuristic fashion in the 1960s and championed bright colours.

Cardin, who was 98 when he died in December, took part in the documentary and he’d have enjoyed Jean Paul Gaultier, Sharon Stone and Naomi Campbell paying him huge compliments.

Released on streaming services such as Amazon Prime this Monday, it would boost any ego.

But if he’d been involved in the creative process he would surely have produced something more interesting than this procession of talking heads and archive footage.

Only briefly does it delve into his complicated personal life or offer insight into his inspirations. Fans of his designs, which found their way into everything from cooking pots to furniture, will enjoy seeing his playful creations.

Personally, I wanted a spot of critical appraisal.

Spring Blossom

(PG) 73mins


EVEN with the sound and subtitles turned off you would still know this is a French film.

The shy pauses and wistful gazes from a brooding man and thoughtful girl in this drama streaming on Curzon Home Cinema are as Gallic as Gauloises cigarettes.

Capital Pictures

Spring Blossom adds little to the well-worn genres of forbidden love[/caption]

Middle-class Parisian girl Suzanne is bored by her friends, school and life.

The 16-year-old finds sudden purpose in thirtysomething actor Raphael, who she keeps seeing on her walk to and from school.

To her surprise, this handsome man takes an interest in her, seemingly as a diversion from his own stale existence.

Spring Blossom adds little to the well-worn genres of forbidden love and coming-of-age drama.

But it is told with a refreshing confidence by first-time director, writer and actress Suzanne Lindon. The fact that she both created and took the leading role in this drama at the age of just 20 is remarkable.

You will find it hard not to be infected by her character’s youthful glee when she dances along a cobbled street.