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Save The Cinema ★★★

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Director: Sara Sugarman

Cast: Samantha Morton, Tom Felton, Adeel Akhtar, Susan Wokoma, Colm Meaney, Erin Richards, Owain Yeoman, Rhod Gilbert, Keith Allen, Jonathan Pryce

Release: January 14, 2022 (UK Cinemas & Sky Cinema)

While the January blues may or may not have a hold on you, we are all searching for some feel-good vibes and escapism. Cinemas have been a focal part of many rural communities for decades. They are usually where you would see many films for the first time and allow you to escape reality for a while. Sara Sugarman’s latest film Save The Cinema goes back to the 1990s and explore how the power of cinema can bring people together and keep communities alive.

Liz Evans (Samantha Morton) is a hairdresser and a linchpin in her local community in the small town of Carmarthen. Her mission is to stop The Lyric Theatre from being demolished and turned into a shopping centre. Liz and her friends barricade themselves in the cinema, and with the help of postman turned local councillor Richard (Tom Felton), they come up with a grand plan. To revitalise the cinema and stop the council from taking the heart of the community away. A desperate Liz persuades Richard to write to Hollywood to ask for a helping hand. A phone call later, an influential filmmaker agrees to offer a special treat for Carmarthen, but does this help save the future of The Lyric?

Save The Cinema delivers exactly what you would expect. Sometimes it’s best to allow a film full of heart to take over you and to ride the wave. Liz Evans story is a shining example of the local heroes that don’t always get the praise they deserve. Her determination and belief in the arts is compellingly captivating, and during these times of doubt, within arts venues and cinemas is much needed. What further enhances this cause is the myriad of people in the community that want to help Liz and The Lyric. Sugarman’s film flows so gently and with a tender eye. The film comes to life when you enter the theatre. You can feel the history and love the community has for their theatre.

Some may sit on this experience as predictable and too heartwarming, but the simplicity of the message is evident and robust from Sugarman. Local heroes change lives within their community, and Liz Evans and many other pioneers deserve to be known and remembered. Samantha Morton brings Evans to life, and her execution is passionately uplifting. Morton, who is avidly passionate about the arts, delivers in this lead role. Tom Felton also brings great gravitas and comic relief to this journey and counterbalances Morton’s performance. While Save The Cinema may be predictable, it keeps the flame of community spirit alive.

Lover of all things indie and foreign language. Can be found rambling on YouTube at times!

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