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Juniper (Matthew J. Saville, 2024) Charlotte Rampling (Ruth, Sam's grandmother), George Ferrier ( Sam), Marton Czokas (Robert, Sam's father, Ruth's son), Edith Poor (nurse); NZ

I'll provide excerpts from three critics, who all agree that the second 'act' moves too slowly, and that there undesirable lacunae where there should be information about two characters, one seen (Sam's father) and one unseen (his dead mother). I also agree.

However, I would rather draw attention to the astonishing fact that this young actor, now director, has somehow created a feature film out of nothing, with the participation of two senior actors, one (b. 1946) with a life-long, world-wide reputation. The mind boggles.

Peter Sobczynski:
There's probably not a major plot development in Juniper one couldn't glean from hearing a one-line description of the plot. There are also a number of hiccups in Saville’s screenplay that bear the sometimes-awkward mark of a first-time filmmaker—the occasional presence of a horse that used to belong to Sam’s late mother is far too symbolic for its own good, and the troubled relationship between Robert and Ruth is undeveloped. And yet, while the film never quite transcends its familiar trappings, it does occasionally offer enough of a spin on them to make them reasonably effective.

Stephen Farber:
Ruth’s relationship with her son [Robert/Czokas] might have been more fully developed. Csokas (who has appeared in such films as The DebtThe EqualizerLoving and Ridley Scott’s recent The Last Duel) hasn’t been given enough material to build a three-dimensional character. The Hollywood Reporter.

Cath Clarke:
Juniper, unfortunately, is let down by a couple of corny moments that belong in the made-for-TV version. The Guardian.

Garry Gillard | New: 20 May 2024 | Now: 20 May, 2024