"Art Meets Passion and Other Miscellaneous Immorality"
What You Need To Know:
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.
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.