films seen
average score
Alive and kicking



2017 / 116m - USA
Drama, Mystery
Wonderstruck poster

Stylish and charming film that tells two parallel stories that neatly come together at the end. The film loses a little steam during the second part and the 20s segment is significantly better than the 70s one, but Haynes' direction is so delicate yet accurate that the good easily outweighs the bad here. Well recommended.

Dark Waters

2019 / 126m - USA
Drama, Thriller
Dark Waters poster

Interesting topic, not in the least because we're dealing with our own PFAS scandal some 30 km from where I live (3M is the culprit in this case). It's a pretty typical courtroom drama (with minor thriller elements and few court scenes though), elevated by Todd Haynes' rather stylish direction.

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When Tennant's cows start dying by the dozens, he contacts Robert Bilott, a rather fancy lawyer specialized in environmental cases. Bilott isn't too interested in the case, but after a routine investigation into the DuPont company it appears something is seriously off. Bilott turns the case into his life's work.

Haynes delivers a very solid, stylish film. The performances are on point, the cinematography is grim, the soundtrack is fine and the pacing is perfect. A bit long at 2 hours, and the second part did start to drag a little, but as these films go it's one of the better ones I've seen so. Good work.


2015 / 118m - USA
Romance, Drama
Carol poster

I quite like the films of Todd Haynes, though in general they're a bit too lethargic for my taste. I think Carol illustrates that quite well. While it's a more than solid drama with some stand-out moments, I felt that it was also a bit too sluggish, too steeped in the cinema of the past, which isn't really what I'm looking for.

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Therese Belivet is a young girl trying to find her way in life. When she meets Carol, a dignified woman, she immediately falls for her charms. The 50s didn't react too kindly to lesbian couples though and Carol is wrapped up in a divorce, so it's not very easy for the two to enjoy each other's company.

The performances are strong and the 50s really come to life. The film's a bit too focused on the narrative and the characters, when its best moments are those when the score and cinematography take over to create some very atmospheric scenes. Definitely not a bad film, just not entirely my kind of thing.

I'm Not There.

2007 / 135m - USA
Drama, Music
I'm Not There. poster

Far from Heaven

2002 / 107m -
Drama, Romance
Far from Heaven poster

A pretty decent drama from Haynes, though like most of his work, it's a bit too classical in nature to fully appeal to me. That doesn't mean it's not worth my time, on the contrary, it's just that I feel a few different choices along the way could've greatly improved the film, at least for me.

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Cathy has the perfect life and the perfect family. That image is shattered when she discovers her husband has a thing for men. Meanwhile, she befriends the son of their old gardener, a young black man. These two scandals are a bit much for one woman to bear, and slowly her life starts to unravel.

It's interesting to see how Moore's character handles the two scandals in very different ways, which begs the question of how open-minded she truly is. The performances are solid, the presentation is polished, and the buildup of the drama is competent, but ultimately it felt a little stale and crusty. Not a bad film, just not entirely my cup of tea.


1991 / 85m - USA
Drama, Horror, Romance
Poison poster

I've seen a couple of Todd Haynes' films already, all of them interesting in their own right, so I wasn't really surprised to see his very first feature was a bit oddball too. I'm not his biggest fan, but the man has some intriguing ideas about cinema, and even though Poison wasn't particularly great, it reinforces Haynes' reputation as a director with a unique vision.

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The film is an anthology with three different stories cut up and shown alongside each other. In the first one a young boy murders his father, the second one follows a leper as he infects everyone he meets, the third and final short film is about a gay romance that develops in a prison cell.

Each short has a very distinct style (from faux-doc and classic horror to gritty drama), but I wasn't entirely sold on the structure of the film. I'm sure the hope was that these stories would somehow link together, but that never truly materialized. It makes for a somewhat messy film, but still interesting enough to give it a try.