Some years it seems every critically touted film is a literary adaptation. This year has not been one of them. So many year-end top-ten lists boast original screenplays that it seems Hollywood is finally trusting its writers. What we’ve lacked in volume, however, we’ve made up for in creativity, playing witness to a host of hidden gems, sly winks, unlikely translations, and flat-out jaw-droppers. It’s also been an especially women-focused year – both behind and in front of the lens. All in all, while assembling her annual list of the year’s best adaptations, this lady critic has realized she’s got zero complaints.
The Holocaust is hardly a new topic in cinema, but Holocaust denial had never been tackled before Mick Jackson’s able adaptation about Holocaust denier David Irving’s 1990s libel lawsuit against American academic Deborah Lipstadt, played by Rachel Weisz in an orange perm, pantsuit, and braying New York Jewish accent. (Irving is played with feral glee by the great Timothy Spall.) Channeling a lively fortitude that challenges legal and moral relativism, this is an eminently satisfying procedural thriller about that rare moment when the system actually worked for David rather than Goliath. Continue Reading →