What You Need To Know:

THE SOUVENIR is based on Writer/Director Joanna Hogg’s experiences when she was in film school. The movie takes places in the 1980s when heavy drugs were a cultural norm. In the movie, Julie, a young film student, tries to develop her own artistic voice as a filmmaker. She soon meets an older gentleman named Anthony who encourages her ambition and makes her feel worthy. The pair become romantically involved and eventually move in together, but things turn dark fast when Julie realizes Anthony is a heroin addict.

THE SOUVENIR has an excellent setup that immediately catches one’s attention, but the movie is incredibly difficult to watch. The movie has a story to tell, but the filmmakers appear to have traded in the storytelling aspect for shock value and over-the-top or long-winded artistic ideas. THE SOUVENIR has a strong Romantic worldview saying that love is the answer to everything. Also, there is some foul language, strong scenes depicting the effects of heroin addiction, and excessive sex and nudity. THE SOUVENIR is unacceptable. Most moviegoers would think they’ve wasted their time watching THE SOUVENIR.


(RoRo, Pa, LL, VV, SSS, NNN, AA, DD, MMM):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong Romantic worldview says the male lead is good, but his heart and emotions have dominated over the right and wise thing to do (man wants to be in a good relationship and excel in his career, but heroin addiction and partying overshadow everything, plus light pagan elements says anything goes and there’s no mention of God, the Bible, or any sort of religion for strength or comfort (this movie is heavily influenced by the lifestyle of someone living in a bustling city in England – career driven, partying it up, and on no path of redemption or pursuing God or salvation of any kind)

Foul Language:
Eight obscenities and four profanities (the movie is a series of long takes without a lot of dialogue).

Startling image of a man splattered with blood all over his wrists from an attempted suicide, man has heavy withdrawals from heroin while blood and scraps from his violent shakes are seen all over his body

Graphic sexual immortality, unmarried young woman fornicates with older man, couple moves in together before marriage and soon sleeps in same bed, woman fornicates with a young man she doesn’t know to distract herself from the older man she loves

In your face nudity includes an image of a naked man pulling down his pants and exposing his genitals, another nude scene depicts a blurred-out image of a naked man and woman fornicating where viewers can’t see their naked bodies in great detail due to the blurry effect, but they are evidently naked on screen

Alcohol Use:
Strong alcohol use includes excessive social drinking with mixed drinks and wine, wine is served with almost every meal in the movie making it appear totally acceptable to drink a bottle with dinner

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Cigarettes are smoked in almost every scene, main character is a chain smoker and smokes at all hours of the day, woman smokes when she is writing or at a party, lead male character is a heroin addict and is shown having withdrawal symptoms before trying to commit suicide in one scene, but the drug addiction is not overtly promoted; and, Miscellaneous Immortality: Heavy miscellaneous immortality including lying, deceiving, stealing, and dysfunctional relationships.

More Detail:

THE SOUVENIR is based on Writer/Director Joanna Hogg’s experiences when she was in film school. The movie takes places in the 1980s when heavy drugs were a cultural norm. In THE SOUVENIR, a young female film student in the 1980s becomes romantically involved with a complicated, untrustworthy older man. THE SOUVENIR emphasizes a predominant Romantic worldview with a focus that emotional love is the answer to everything. The movie also showcases excessive nudity, sex, foul language, and drug abuse. Due to these elements, the movie is abhorrent.

Julie, a young woman from an upper-class family, is attending film school to be a filmmaker. Julie has a passion to make a movie about a young boy, his mother and their life in the town of Sunderland. She’s dedicated to this story, although her professors have encouraged her to tell a story she’s experienced personally or about her own life experiences. Julie ignores this wisdom and continues to focus on this story as her personal life unfolds into a dramatic story and ironically becomes one perfectly suited for a movie.

One night at a party with some friends, Julie meets an older man named Anthony. Shortly after they meet, Julie’s roommate moves out of their apartment. While Julie looks for another roommate, Anthony is also looking for a place to live. They decide to move in together and begin to become romantically involved. They never address being in a committed relationship; it just happens.

Anthony takes Julie on high-end dates to fancy dinners and art museums. He encourages her ambition for filmmaking and compliments her determination. He says she looks like the woman in the famous painting “The Souvenir.” He says she has a look of great ambition.

A few weeks later, Anthony must travel for Paris to work. When he returns, he gives Julie a gift, a box of fancy lingerie. Julie puts it on for him and that night they sleep together. From then on out, Julie is hooked by this man.

The next morning, however, Julie notices Anthony has needle marks on his arm. When she asks him what they are, he says he doesn’t know. As time passes, Julie begins to provide for both of them. Anthony is constantly in need of money, and Julie has to ask her mother to borrow money so both of them can survive.

One evening, Julie comes homes to find her apartment destroyed. Anthony is standing there, sad and weepy. He claims somebody robbed them and stole the rest of Julie’s money. Julie is heartbroken. Later, it’s revealed that Anthony stole the money to get more heroin. Julie learns Anthony has a severe heroin addiction when somebody informs her about what the marks on his arm mean. When she confronts Anthony about it, he doesn’t deny it, nor does Julie kick him out. She loves him and believes he can change.

Julie begins to attend self-help meetings to better understand Anthony’s addiction, but he makes very little effort to get help. One afternoon, she comes home to a horrific scene. Anthony is in his underwear and is covered in blood with gashes on his wrists of where he has tried to commit suicide. He cries out and bangs his head, fighting the withdrawal effects of heroin. Julie breaks down, too afraid to go near him.

Julie eventually kicks out Anthony, but this doesn’t last long. They meet up shortly afterwards, and he claims he’s sober. She believes him, and he moves back in, but darkness strikes again.

THE SOUVINR has some compelling scenes and a great cast. However, this slow movie is told through long-winded, overly dramatic artsy scenes, and many voiceovers. Every few scenes the movie shows an image of a sunset while Julie gives a long-winded poetic voiceover. In addition, a handful of the shots are shot at unusual angles where viewers can’t see anyone in the scene. It’s not a bad idea, but like the voiceovers, it happens way too much, making it a challenge to stay interested in the story. To make matters worse, when the long-winded scenes aren’t on screen, they’re replaced with racy, nude scenes or horrific images of a heroin addict going through withdrawal.

THE SOUVENIR has a strong, false Romantic worldview that says love is the answer to everything. It also has some foul language, strong scenes showing the effects of heroin addiction, and excessive sex and nudity.