Deborah Ross

Deborah Ross is the chief film critic of The Spectator

Worth catching the virus for: Saint Frances reviewed

Two films about young women this week, one at the cinema, if you dare, and one to stream, if you don’t. Saint Frances requires the daring and I’d dare, if I were you, as it’s splendid and funny and tender and involving and taboo-busting, and if you do contract a deadly virus, it’ll be worth

Held me so fast I was outbid on eBay: Clemency reviewed

Clemency stars Alfre Woodard as a prison warden on death row whose job is beginning to take its toll, and if you think it sounds like a tough watch, you’d be right. But it is also a masterwork, won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance, and doesn’t at any juncture call on the uplifting, healing

A true story that never feels true: Resistance reviewed

Resistance stars Jesse Eisenberg and tells the true story of how mime artist Marcel Marceau helped orphaned Jewish children to safety in the second world war. I had no idea. I had only ever thought of Marceau as ‘Bip’, who will live on for ever in my nightmares. (God, mime.) But while the story is

Messy but absolutely necessary: Da 5 Bloods reviewed

Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods is about four African-American vets who return to Vietnam to locate the body of their fallen squadron leader, retrieve the gold they buried (hopefully), reflect on fighting for a country that didn’t care about them — ‘we fought an immoral war for rights we didn’t have’ — and avoid descending

Why, Woody, why? A Rainy Day in New York reviewed

A Rainy Day in New York is Woody Allen’s 49th film and it’s not been without its troubles. When accusations of sexual abuse made by his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, resurfaced, Amazon Studios ditched it. Then its star, Timothée Chalamet, apologised for being in it and donated his earnings to charity. We may never know

Top of my must-watch mustn’t-watch: Cats revisited

At the outset of lockdown I gave you my list of top mustn’t-watch films — that is, the ones that aren’t worth the bother — with the rider that when Cats is released digitally it will, however, likely be a must-watch mustn’t-watch. ‘I absolutely must watch this mustn’t-watch,’ you may even have said to yourself,

Why does anyone still rate Vertigo and its creepy, wonky plot?

Here’s something that may interest you. Or not. (Could go either way.) I was looking over Sight & Sound’s ‘100 Greatest Films of All Time’, which has Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) at number one, having knocked Citizen Kane from the top spot in 2012. (That film always did need a more exciting reveal; would it

Top of my mustn’t see list: The Iron Mask reviewed

As all other publications are offering guides saying what to watch from home during this pandemic — ‘the 50 best movies to stream right now’; ‘20 hidden gems available on Netflix’; ‘movie masterpieces for quarantine’ — an equally valuable service would, surely, be telling you what not to watch, under any circumstances, no matter how

Catherine Deneuve at her most Deneuve-ish: The Truth reviewed

To tell you the truth about The Truth, even though it stars Catherine Deneuve at her most Catherine Deneuve-ish (i.e. campily grand) and I was so looking forward it — it’s the first non-Japanese production from Hirokazu Kore-eda, who made the very lovely Shoplifters — it is now quite hard to concentrate on anything in

Astonishing to think Miss World ever existed: Misbehaviour reviewed

Misbehaviour is a film about the 1970 Miss World contest that was disrupted by ‘bloody women’s libbers’ — that’s what my dad always called them, anyhow — throwing flour bombs and shouting ‘we’re not cattle!’ as Bob Hope fled the stage in a panic and our televisions temporarily blacked out.Marvellous, I think now, although at

In this instance, greed isn’t good: Greed reviewed

Greed is Michael Winterbottom’s satire on the obscenely rich and, in particular, a billionaire, asset-stripping retail tycoon whose resemblance to any living person is purely intentional. (Hello, Sir Philip Green.) Plenty to work with, you would think. Low-hanging fruit and all that. But as the characters are so feebly sketched and the ‘jokes’ — ‘jokes’