Britain’s Joanna Hogg uses a real-life daughter and mother to fictionalize a portion (at least one part) of her life in an odd, yet captivating way.
The Souvenir could very well be considered a schismatic, measured celluloid representation that is quite an experience for succumbing to its sentient power.
Hogg’s adult-minded looking back considers young adult Londoner Julie (an alabaster, naive Honor Swinton Byrne of I Am Love, We Need To Talk About Kevin with Tilda in their lead roles) as an aspiring filmmaker in the 1980s as the soundtrack includes the likes of Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson.
Her milieu includes attending film school, attending cultivated, smoky soirees, and posh dinners at home with her parents, including refined mum Rosalind (Tilda Swinton donning a wig). Romance comes in the form of a backslider, Foreign Office figure, Anthony, endowed with deceptive acerbic, acidic wit by Tom Burke, especially when it comes to things financial. Richard Ayoade’s Patrick may provide more insight into Anthony’s proclivities as the couple enjoy fine eateries as well as Venice getaways.
The intimacy Hogg (close with the elder Swinton in her earlier days) reveals with the material embodies a collection of memories not always linked by chronology. And, the redolence and involving way of the title (of the painterly medium) is reflected in the entrancing, maturing symbiosis of story and Swinton Byrne. She belies a green thespian who might think again about following in her mother’s footsteps.