News of the World: Netflix Film Review

News of the World

I love Tom Hanks – who doesn’t?! – so I happily tuned into News of the World, even though Westerns aren’t my favourite genre, and was rewarded by a heartwarming central relationship and an emotionally affecting ending.

Reuniting with his Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass, Hanks plays Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who has been travelling from town to town reading the news to locals following the end of the Civil War five years before. The year is 1870 and Captain Kidd is setting off from Wichita Falls in Texas following a reading and comes across a hanged man, an overturned wagon and a young blonde-haired girl dressed in Native American clothing who is unable to speak English. He discovers official papers that reveal Johanna (Helena Zengel) is a German orphan who has been living with the Kiowa tribe for the past six years after they killed her family and kidnapped her. She was in the process of being taken back to her aunt and uncle in Castroville, some 400 miles away. After the authorities aren’t much help, Kidd eventually decides to return her himself.

News of the World is basically a story of two people getting from point A to point B and moves along at a slow and leisurely pace. But it’s never boring because I liked watching the Captain and Johanna slowly form a connection and something like a father-daughter bond, despite the language and cultural barriers. Their relationship is the key here and the movie’s greatest strength, but the journey would still be quite dull if there weren’t any hurdles along the way, so thankfully, there are some tense encounters with antagonists to up the thrill factor. The stakes during these moments didn’t feel too high though because, you know, it’s Hanks! He’s got to succeed and save the day! He’s the hero and he really goes above and beyond to protect a child he barely knows, even when his life is in danger and he’d have less stress if he just cut her loose.

Hanks is reliably excellent as the good-natured captain and warm-hearted paternal figure, but the revelation here is Zengel. The 12-year-old German star – who gained notice with her lead performance in 2019 German movie System Crasher – recently earned Golden Globe, Critics Choice and SAG nominations for her supporting role and it’s easy to see why. She’s a marvel as the fiery Johanna and doesn’t let the side down when paired with a seasoned Hollywood veteran like Hanks. Johanna tends to speak Kiowa first, so Zengel had to grapple with a new language in addition to everything else. She’s a quiet, insular person who keeps speech to a minimum but you know exactly what she’s thinking as her face says it all and her acting in the latter stretch is terrific.

News of the World, written by Greengrass and Luke Davies, has stunning cinematography depicting the dusty Texas plains and a strong central relationship that I cared about. Yes, it’s possibly a bit too slow but your patience will be rewarded with an extremely satisfying emotional payoff at the end. I’ve seen it twice and it’s even better the second time around.

Streaming on Netflix from Wednesday 10th February

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood: Film Review

Tom Hanks is beloved by everyone, an actor who seems like a genuinely nice guy, and so it makes perfect sense for him to play American children’s entertainer Fred Rogers, the kind host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in Marielle Heller‘s A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood.

[Read more…]

Top Films for January

Here we are! A new month AND a new year! As ever, that means it’s time for me to do my monthly movie preview – here’s a rundown of the cinema releases I’m excited for this January.

[Read more…]

Toy Story 4: Film Review

For a long time I had been worried about Toy Story 4 because I thought Toy Story 3 ended things perfectly so I feared another instalment would ruin that. And now I’ve seen it I have to admit I didn’t think it was totally necessary.

[Read more…]

Top Films for June

It’s the start of June, which means it’s time to look ahead at the releases coming to UK cinemas throughout this month. Here are my top suggestions –

[Read more…]

The Post: Film Review

I love Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks separately so having them all collaborating on a movie is the dream, not to mention the fact that it is a movie about journalism! This ticks the boxes for me so much.

[Read more…]

Top Films for January

It’s not just the start of a new month this time – it’s also the start of a new year! For this special version of my monthly movie preview, I look at what’s due for release in the UK in January 2018.

[Read more…]

My top ten: Films I’m excited for in 2017

guardians

We are rapidly approaching 2017 so it seems like the right moment to look ahead at what movies we can be excited about this coming year.

[Read more…]

Sully: Film Review

sully

I’m sure we have all heard about the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ plane landing in 2009 – all 155 passengers and crew survived a forced water landing on the Hudson River after a bird strike thanks to Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles – but I certainly had no idea of the investigation they were subjected to afterwards so I’m glad this film exists to show the other side of the headline-grabbing news.

[Read more…]

Inferno: Film Review

inferno

I wasn’t a huge fan of The Da Vinci Code but I thought I’d give the next Dan Brown book adaptation, Inferno, a shot because the trailer looked exciting and I love Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones. They didn’t let me down – it’s a fun race-against-time movie and I enjoyed it a lot, certainly more than Code.

[Read more…]