Kate Winslet as Vogue Photojournalist Lee Miller

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The Luminary Review is a handcrafted slow journalism review of the best arts and entertainment film, drama and radio to watch and listen to each month written by iconic arts and entertainment journalist Alison Jane Reid. AJ started interviewing actors and cultural icons straight out of university. The Luminary Review is now offered as a summary for free members and the full, in-depth review for paid supporters. The popular Luminary arts and entertainment review takes more than a week to research and write. We hope that more of you will become patrons as AJ rebuilds her life, health and career as an iconic journalist for 25 years, after being seriously injured by one dose of the Astra Zeneca Vaccine in May 2021. The fight for justice continues. Become a paid subscriber here. Now, more than ever, independent quality, slow journalism needs your support. Become a Luminaries Magazine Patron.

The Luminary Review in Summary

What I am watching now from the best independent films to forever old Hollywood jewels, Brit film auteur masterpieces, must see television dramas and neo realism classics that dissect the human condition and independent radio and podcasts. This month the focus is on emerald Irish acting luminaries and the greatest female icons past and present from Kate Winslet to Ingrid Bergman, Juliette Binoche and mercurial shooting star actress to watch, Roisin Gallagher. Remember that name.

Luminary Spotlight - Roisin Gallagher, An Actress on Fire

Actress Roisin Gallagher in The Dry on ITVX

Ireland, both north and south has produced some of the greatest actors of all time from Richard Harris to Maureen O'Sullivan, Cillian Murphy, Ciaran Hinds, Peter O'Toole and Sinead Cusack; and some of the finest and most fearless writing for film, tv and radio. This month, the spotlight falls on a coruscating actress to watch, Irish leading lady Roisin Gallagher, the luminary star of The Dry and The Lovers. Series 1 and 2 of The Dry is on ITVX and you can watch the first series of The Lovers on Sky Atlantic with Johnny Flynn, as an achingly handsome, self-absorbed and ambitious political commentator who collides with Gallagher's very angry young woman at the point she has given up and she is about to blow her brains out. The scene goes from tragedy to black comedy in a heartbeat.

A Talented Chameleon

Janet is a former loyalist terrorist turned world's worst shop assistant. The writing is stunning. It is brutal, filthy, tragic, goofy and waspy. On screen, Gallagher is a confident chameleon, force of nature actor. She is at home inhabiting bloody difficult women with a stellar presence, charisma and charm. Thus, even when she is behaving badly Roisin Gallagher is captivating. As for Johnny, he is so spookily authentic as a fly by the seat of his pants effete politics commentator, he could take up journalism, if he ever grows tired of masquerading brilliantly as other people.

Watch Anatomy of a Fall, Winner of the Palme d'Or

For new films, head to the BFI for the Palme' d'or Winner Anatomy of a Fall with an unforgettable performance by Sandra Huller as a woman accused of murdering her husband on a mountain with only her blind son, as a witness.
Juliette Binoche has a delicious new film out, hot from the buzz of The Cannes Film Festival - The Taste of Things where passion and food bubble, simmer and smoulder in this exquisitely told culinary romantic drama. You can rent the film on the BFI website.

In a warm and bustling kitchen of a 19th-century French manor house, gourmand Dodin and his cook Eugénie prepare a sumptuous banquet. They have perfected their craft, working in a magical, almost wordless harmony. More than Dodin’s cook, Eugénie is his beloved, but she won’t marry him.

A Feast of a Film

Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel have an authentic rapport drawn from the period they were in a real relationship. The bond between the two actors strengthens this sumptuous feast of a film, for which Tran Anh Hùng collected the Best Director award at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. Join our slow independent luminary magazine to read on!

Lee - A Film About the Life of Lee Miller

Behind the Scenes on the Filmset of Lee with Director Ellen Kuras, Kate Winslet and Andy Sandberg

Here's a first look at the film Lee starring Kate Winslet, as Lee Miller, the glacial beauty of The Jazz Age who became an international vogue model, surrealist photographer, photojournalist, writer and avant garde cook. She was the pupil, lover and collaborator of Man Ray and a fearless photojournalist for Vogue during WW2. Her photographs of Paris after liberation and the Nazi concentration camps reveal the terrible human cost of war. Lee Miller was a renaissance woman when their were few renaissance women to emulate. This is the woman who staged the infamous photograph of herself in Hitler's mundane bath, hours after his suicide. What a woman.

Lee airs on Sky in mid September 2024.

Kate Winslet as Lee Miller

Kate Winslet in the Film Lee, the Story of Lee Miller

In 1942, Lee Miller threw off the shackles of beauty, privilege and convention and defiantly demanded Vogue send her out to Europe to document the war. In a masterstroke, she became a war correspondent, instead of the goddess muse immortalised on film by Cecil Beaton, Man Ray and the aristocratic lensman George Hoyningen Huene. Having learned from the masters of photography, she would become one of the greatest photojournalists of the 20th Century documenting WW2 with the dream like quality of the surrealists and an unflinching eye.

Lee - Kate Winslet's Passion Film Project

Marion Cotillard and Kate Winslet in the Film Lee

This is Kate Winslet's film, she's the producer and star. The film is something of a pet project for Winslet who wanted to make a film about Lee Miller for more than a decade. Here she collaborates with cinematographer turned director Ellen Kuras. Kate and Ellen worked together on the exquisite fantasy that is A Little Chaos. My first impression is that Winslet is in her element as Miller, but somehow despite the script following The Lives of Lee Miller, the definitive book on Lee Miller by her son Antony Penrose, the storytelling doesn't quite nail the audacious sweep of Miller's life or her extraordinary appetite to live, to love, to shatter boundaries and to look like a goddess doing it.

Lee Miller was born beautiful. She was a super model before the idea existed. However, she soon tired of being the muse and became a photographer herself, learning from the great photographers of the age and from her father, a keen amateur photographer. During the depression, she worked as a fashion, advertising and portrait photographer in New York. She appeared in Jean Cocteau's surrealist film, Blood of a Poet in 1930 and she headed to Paris with the intention of studying surrealism with Man Ray. After she and Man Ray argued, she married the aristocratic Egyptian Aziz Elui Bey and took off for Cairo. For a brief interlude, Miller played the society wife in between odyssey's into the desert where she took the celebrated photograph, Portrait of Space, in the Western Desert.

During WW2, she was careless with herself and she trashed that other worldly beauty through drink, passions, war and terrible inner struggles. When she was seven years old, she was raped by a family friend on a visit to New York. Lee was treated by her mother, a former nurse, for gonorrhoea, and her brothers recalled hearing her screams as she endured years of harsh, invasive treatment.
The Model Who Documented WW2 with a Surrealist Eye

Kate Winslet and ???? in Lee

Miller lived fiercely and met and loved some of the most remarkable men of the 20th century, including Man Ray, Roland Penrose and Picasso and she was always restless. She is a trailblazer for women. Her war photography is one of the most important visual documents of WW2. She photographed the effect of war, rather than the action. She also photographed women in war. Interestingly, she didn't give a damn about her photographic legacy. We have her son to thank for that. Maybe it is impossible to capture so much life and daring on screen.
Lee is on Sky in Mid September 2024.


Ripley Starring Dakota Fanning and Johnny Flynn

Ripley, on Netflix revisits Patricia Highsmith's psychological novel, The Talented Mr Ripley, 25 years after the late director Anthony Minghella created a colour-saturated ode to La Dolce Vita, with Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow. The Netflix series starring Andrew Scott, Johnny Flynn, Dakota Fanning and Eliot Sumner offers black and white cinematography which looks back to the great noir films of the thirties and forties such as The Third Man. It is also darker, seedier, and a more savage interpretation and it is pure noir. In Minghella's version, Ripley is successfully portrayed as a lonely misfit, who ends up consuming his object of unrequited desire. In Ripley, Andrew Scott plays to type, as a vicious conman. Both versions are visual tour de forces. The bleakness of Ripley reflects the dog day times we live in.

Neo Realism Classic Film Masterpieces at the BFI to Watch

There's a brilliant brace of neo realism classics to savour on the BFI on high days and weekends when it is raining and you fancy an afternoon's movie escapism. Don't miss Journey to Italy a magnetic, intimate masterpiece with Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders in an achingly glamorous, fly on the wall film about the breakdown of a marriage amid the hypnotic, historical backdrop of fifties Pompeii, Naples and Capri, complete with catholicism everywhere, along with Italian haute couture, cars and villas to that will make you want to run away to Italy right now. Read my review of Journey to Italy here. Bergman has never looked so bellissimo in a precision new look black lace gown or chic boucle tweed suit, with a box camera slung around her neck, amid the volcanic springs in Pompeii.

Bicycle Thieves

Then follow it with Bicycle Thieves and the chilling film about the Nazi occupation of Rome, Open City. Other must see new films at the BFi include Michael Winterbottom's thriller, Shoshana, the story of a jewish woman's relationship with a British policeman in 1930s Palestine. Don't miss The End We Start From and Red Herring, a black comic film about a terminal diagnosis.

The Holly and the Ivy 1952 Starring Ralph Richardson and Margaret Leighton

For weekend or Christmas in June escapism, watch the British film The Holly and the Ivy, from 1952 - on ITVX for a deeply affecting, intelligent and compassionate analysis of middle class life on the cusp of huge social change in early fifties UK. The film is notable for its wonderful literary script and it's fearless and compassionate look at life from sex outside marriage, women competing with men, bereavement, journalism, depression, aspirations, ageing and religion. The film boasts a dream cast including - Celia Johnson, Ralph Richardson and the unforgettable Margaret Leighton. Celia Johnson is stoic and believable as the dutiful daughter who is prepared to sacrifice her own happiness to look after her father, a clergyman, played with such cleverness and passion, it's enough to send me to church! Leighton is more than a match for Richardson as his clever, all askew daughter, following the death of her lover and her son. I am looking forward to exploring the work of Leighton on stage and screen. She was a celebrated stage actress and she is wonderful at conveying complex, intelligent women. Take note of her elegant clothes as a leading fashion journalist who writes smart nonsense about hemlines and silhouettes in The Holly and The Ivy. I want her oh so jaunty swing coat, pencil skirt and adorable Snow Queen bootees!

Spotlight on Roisin Gallagher in The Dry and The Lovers

The Lovers on Sky Starring Johnny Flynn and Roisin Gallagher

The Irish are coming and actress Roisin Gallagher is the girl on fire to watch in two brilliant, visceral and darkly comic Irish dramas The Lovers and The Dry where this exciting actress gets to flex her chameleon acting wings to play two complicated, fascinating, difficult women with an irresistible authenticity, fire and grace. Both dramas explore important topics through the lens of The Troubles. In The Lovers, this takes places through themes of sectarian hatred, family breakdown and rage stretch into new generations and in The Dry, through addiction, narcissism, friendship, art and recovery. Gallagher has already garnered her first awards for both dramas. I am sure they are the first of many laurels.

The Dry Series 2 on ITVX

In The Dry with series 2 out now on ITVX Gallagher plays Shiv, an artist and recovering alcoholic, from a family of horrible, obnoxious addicts. What makes this car-crash drama so compelling is the ensemble cast, with Ciaran Hinds, Pom Boyd, Siobhan Cullen and Alex Richardson. What a family of misfits! All I can think of is Ciaran Hinds playing stoic Captain Wentworth in Persuasion and now he is having sex in the street, with his trousers in disarray, while his estranged wife takes in a genteel con-man as a her lover because she is lonely!
The Sheridan Family
Poor downtrodden Shiv is endlessly overlooked by her horrible siblings and spiteful mother and I want to get my hands on that birds-nest hair and take her to the hairdresser! She is so blousy and mean. Shiv is endlessly treated as the family punchbag and subjected to a tirade of verbal putdowns and abuse as the Sheridan family combusts like a pack of wild beasts.
A Visceral Portrait of Family

If you can stand the heat, and bad behaviour, The Dry is a funny, raw, messy, rollercoaster ride from AA meetings to dancing in the woods and car sex is back, but it is nothing like those Hollywood movies, to rock 'n' roll soundtrack. It is more of a eugh moment! Oh and there is an awful lot of talk about body fluids, throwing up, baby schedules, cocaine, making money and women becoming invisible.
Floating Above the Chaos

Thee Family Meeting in The Dry Series 2

The clever part, is that Shiv, somehow seems to float above the family chaos, even as she struggles with her own addiction, and by the end of series 2 she shines in her growing sense of self. Will she choose family over a new life in Australia with the almost too perfect Alex. Watch the series to find out.

The Lovers - A Fizzing, Visceral Love Story
In The Lovers for Sky, Roisin Gallagher collides with Johnny Flynn in the most interesting coupling since Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Normal People. Gallagher delivers a shocking, foul-mouthed, funny, painful, visceral portrait of a former teenage terrorist, turned the world's most obnoxious shop assistant, with a flair for goofy comedy that would delight Shirley Maclaine.

A Matter of Life and Death

The drama works because it is like night and day all the time. It's bleak one moment and naughty, sweary and funny the next. Flynn and Gallagher are good together. He climbs over her wall to escape a pack of teenage thugs he has upset with his inept outside broadcast on unemployment when she is about to blow her brains out and edgy, troubled Belfast clashes with metrosexual, trendy Islington and the result is thrilling, even if it feels like a fantasy. The point is that it could happen. People do meet randomly. Strangers do perform heroic acts and fall in love.

Islington Collides with Belfast

Naturally, with foreplay like that, it has to lead to delirious physical attraction, sex and a declaration of undying love right? How about ditching your perfect, really lovely, celebrity girlfriend, played by Alice Eve, who is a delight as Frankie.

Belfast Girl Clashes with Metrosexual Islington Man

Well yes, in a juicy, will they or won't they, meandering, excruciatingly funny and awkward sort of way, where love and lust is turned on and off like a hot tap, mainly because Janet, doesn't feel she is good enough for a successful, urbane, metrosexual man who drinks green smoothies for breakfast, swears by activated charcoal and goes barefoot like RFK Junior to ground himself. (Well, there is something in that. Grounding is in as a new green and organic age beckons.) Seamus gets his political facts wrong like an over eager puppy, though in fairness, he is rather good as a presenter, once he razors in on his interview subject, as with the wicked Chancellor of the Exchequer. Maybe Flynn, as Seamus, could become the new Jeremy Paxman. Goodness knows, we need real journalists back on television again.
Barbs, Goofiness, Foul Language and Sweetness

Written, by award-winning Irish writer, David Ireland, the script for The Lovers fizzes with barbs, brutality, foul language, tragedy, sweetness, goofiness and delicious insider knowledge and jokes about the media and the realities of being a celebrity at the mercy of Twitter, now X and Instagram.
As a result, The Lovers is a hit with a 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, especially as the chemistry between Gallagher and Flynn is as indecently good as Cary Grant sparring with Ingrid Bergman in the film Indiscreet, when she discovers he is single when he is pretending to be married, and she declares 'I am the wrongest woman I know', because she is having sex with a single man and she is outraged.
The Lovers is Sour Sweet and Great TV

A Declaration and Champion
Janet thinks she isn't smart enough for Seamus because she works as a shop assistant. One of the best scenes in the series is when Seamus stands in the deserted railway station and makes the most poignant and eloquent declaration. At that point he becomes Janet's champion. He tells her that he never thought she was a failure, even when she was about to kill herself. He asks why would this brilliant, extraordinary and hilarious woman want to blow her brains out and he couldn't stop thinking about her from the moment they first met.
Now that is my type of man. Every woman or girl needs a champion. Hurry up with Series 2 please.

Watch The Lovers boxset on Sky Atlantic.

Editor's Comment. Roisin Gallagher shines in roles where she plays complex, chameleon, bloody difficult women. She is like mercury rising. While the inside jokes about celebrity and media in The Lovers are are deliciously accurate and Johnny Flynn could masquerade for real as a playful, charming and useless metrosexual tv presenter who gets his facts wrong on more than one occasion and his character is obsessed with the idea of being famous. I wonder who he based his character on? I have my suspicions, how about you?
Julie Christie Season ITV and BBC

Now, take a leap back the sixties and witness Julie Christie at the height of her powers in the horror film Don't Look Back, opposite Donald Sutherland. Christie and Sutherland are the beautiful, bright young things until their enviable life starts to unravel, first with a death of their child, and then amid the unquiet, deathly splendors of La Serenissima.

A Glittering Prisoner in Darling

Darling Starring Julie Christie, Lawrence Harvey Dirk Bogarde

When you've had you fill of horror and death in Venice, witness Christie in her role as a beautiful, selfish and spoiled brat in Darling streaming on ITV where she finally gets trapped in a glittering palazzo prison of her own steely, cold blooded aspirations. As a final swan song, watch Christie and Sutherland come together again in a nineties, under the radar gem, The Railway Station Man, currently showing on BBC iPlayer a little known film also set in Ireland and based on the book by Jennifer Johnston. The film is tragic, intense, unsettling and wonderful for its authentic portrait of mature love, acceptance, romance and the sense that you can't escape The Troubles, even in a remote part of Ireland. Watch it for the marvellous scene where Christie and Sutherland dance together in the village hall to delirious rock 'n' roll.

Robert Kennedy Junior Declares His Independence and He is Running for President of the USA November 2024

For radio, discover RFK Junior's We The People Radio which broadcasts RFK's Renaissance ideas for his independent presidential campaign for the US presidency in November 2024. Robert Kennedy Junior talks eloquently about to regenerate America and Americans. His ideas for healing the divide in America include restoring the middle class, empowering the individual, organic and regenerative agriculture, restoring public health, ending the capture of government agencies and institutions and the restoration of democratic freedoms. Kennedy24.com Oh, and if you haven't seen the film Who is Bobby Kennedy? Watch here.

Copyright Alison Jane Reid/The Luminaries Magazine May 2024. All Rights Reserved. No Copying or Use in Any Format Whatsoever Without Express Written Permission from the Editor.