Reviews: Bridge Of Spies and My Skinny Sister

Cinema's great pairing extend their hot streak in the Cold War


Bridge of Spies (12A)

My Skinny Sister (12A)

I had to laugh when a good friend recently asked if I thought she should accept a job on the next Steven Spielberg film. She had other options but the chance to work alongside one of the greatest directors of all time is an opportunity you don't turn down. Certainly not if it means being part of a film as good as Bridge of Spies. Tom Hanks certainly doesn't need to be asked twice to collaborate with Spielberg, with whom he has had epic results (Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, Terminal) and now this enticing and dynamic Cold War spy thriller allows him to shine like the star he is.

Set in politically frosty 1957, Hanks plays James Donovan, a lawyer charged with the task of defending Irishman Rudolf Abel (screen-stealing Mark Rylance) a reflective Russian spy. Arguing that Abel is courageous rather than treacherous does not wash with the hostile American public but, when a US pilot is shot down over Russia, Donovan faces the bigger task of negotiating a swap in East Berlin. That this is a real-life story makes it all the better. Even more so because Spielberg invited the Coen brothers to add their unique blend of smart wit and wisdom to British playwright Matt Charman's script. This is seriously grown-up cinema made by and starring some of the most talented people on the planet. It sells itself.

Unlike Sanna Lenken's My Skinny Sister which is a small, but finely acted independent Swedish film about a young girl battling the dilemmas of puberty and her beautiful older sister's anorexia. Rebecka Josephson gives a glorious debut performance as 12-year-old Stella dazzled and confused by the mood swings and body dysmorphia of Katja (Amy Diamond) her sibling who gets all the attention because of her ice-skating talent. As is the way with small independents, My Skinny Sister will struggle to get a weighty presence at the box office but, as its subject - which is handled with integrity and understanding - affects so many teenage girls, it should be on the school curriculum.

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