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5 films wowing the critics at Cannes

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A round-up of reviews for some of Cannes' star movie debuts so far, including gritty Western The Homesman starring Hilary Swank and the powerful French drama Two Days, One Night with Marion Cotillard.

THE HOMESMAN

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto. Director: Tommy Lee Jones

The Guardian describes it as a "full-bodied quasi-feminist western"

Critic Peter Bradshaw writes: "There are some broad emotional flourishes and ripe performances in The Homesman — maybe bordering on the over-ripe. But it is put over with such richness and verve. It could even win Lee Jones a prize at this year's Cannes."

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT

Starring Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Pili Groyne. Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Little White Lies says: "The Dardenne brothers team with actor Marion Cotillard to casually deliver their greatest movie to date"

Critic David Jenkins writes: "The genius of this film (to this writer, the brothers' best) is the way that it constantly undercuts preconceptions. Just when you feel that didacticism is creeping in, that a side is being taken or a point is being pushed, there's a twist and we're right back to neutral. It's difficult to articulate what it is that's so great about the Dardennes' cinema, but it perhaps it has something to do with being in the thrilling company of filmmakers who fully comprehend the intricacies of their own text - a skill which which is very much taken for granted. Their vigilance as filmmakers as awe-inspiring. This movie is a miracle."

FOXCATCHER

Starring Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum. Director: Bennett Miller

Variety sums it up as a "powerfully disturbing true-crime saga"

Critic Justin Chang writes: "Always at his best when he can bring his intense physicality to bear on a role (“Magic Mike”), Tatum delivers what is easily the most emotionally complex performance of his career, hulking through much of the picture exuding rage, surliness and disappointment, qualities that recede only during Mark’s brief honeymoon period with du Pont. And although he’s 12 years older than the role calls for, Ruffalo is wonderful as the big-hearted, salt-of-the-earth Dave, always ready (sometimes to a fault) to stand in the gap and defend those he loves.

NATIONAL GALLERY

Director: Frederick Wiseman

The Hollywood Reporter says: "If a picture is worth a thousand words, then there are at least a million things worth talking about in National Gallery"

Critic Jordan Mintzer writes: "84-year-old documentary maestro Frederick Wiseman’s exhaustive portrait of one of the world’s most venerable art institutions. Less focused on the bureaucratic aspects of running a museum than on the handling, restoration and interpretation of the paintings themselves, this three-hour crash course in art history - with an emphasis on heavyweights Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Turner - will most likely appeal to students and aficionados, while some niche theatrical bookings, especially in Europe, could follow a premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight."

THE WONDERS

Starring: Monica Bellucci, Alexandra Lungu, Sam Louwyck. Director: Alice Rohrwacher

The Telegraph says: "Alice Rohrwacher's bitter-sweet Cannes contender about the onset of adulthood and the fading of old ways is as powerful as it is enchanting"

Critic Robbie Collin writes: "So much is encircled by this film’s seemingly modest reach: the slow onset of adulthood, but also the fading of the old ways, and the slight jarringness of incomers such as Gelsomina and her family being their last and keenest practitioners. The film was photographed not on digital cameras, but Super-16 film stock: a dying way of seeing dying things, and yet everything it captures seems to flare and crackle with life ... The film comes and goes without commotion, but its magic settles on you as softly and as steadily as dust."

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