As the women of Hollywood fight back against rampant misogyny, we thought it was only right and proper to salute the leading ladies of this year’s stellar British Film Festival (BFF) line-up. The festival is kicking off later this month, and running from 26 October to 15 November.
Here are seven of our finest you won’t want to miss.
Nicole Kidman | How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Our Nicole’s been reigning supreme this year, both on the big screen (Lion, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and the small one too (Big Little Lies, Top of the Lake: China Girl). Shortbus director John Cameron Mitchell’s latest, based on a short story by Neil Gaiman, looks like the barmiest. Set in suburban London during the Queen’s 1977 Silver Jubilee, Nicole plays a peroxide blonde punk band manager with a serious short fuse. Oh, and there’s also an extra-terrestrial love story.
Margot Robbie | Goodbye Christopher Robin
Speaking of homecoming queens, fellow Aussie Margot has also been on fire. The best thing about Suicide Squad by a very very long way, there are Oscar rumblings for her upcoming turn as US Figure Skating champ Tonya Harding in I, Tonya. In this bittersweet BFF biopic she plays Daphne, the mother of the immortalised Christopher Robin, as they are both swept up in in the whirlwind that is her husband A.A. Milne’s (Domhnall Gleeson) best-selling children’s book series Winnie the Pooh.
Annette Benning | Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool
Four-time Oscar-nominated Annette plays Oscar-winner Gloria Grahame in this glorious biopic based on the late Hollywood star’s memoir. Set in the UK in 1981, Gloria’s determined to keep on acting, but her fading health sees her turn to her former, much younger lover and fellow actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) and his mother (Julie Walters). Directed by Paul McGuigan, this empowering love story breaks all the rules.
Elle Fanning | Mary Shelley
Also appearing in How to Talk to Girls at Parties, The Beguiled star Elle plays 18-year-old writer Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in this re-enactment of her scandalous love affair with poet Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth). She would go on to pen one of the world’s most enduring horror classics in Frankenstein, as they slip away to the Swiss castle of Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge). Written and directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadja), it also features Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams as Mary’s best friend Isabel Baxter.
Claire Foy | Breathe
The Crown star Claire takes a break from playing Queen Elizabeth in the Netflix drama to portray another real life (though less well known) woman—Diana Cavendish. She refused to give up when her husband Robin (Andrew Garfield) was given only months to live after being diagnosed with crippling Polio. The directorial debut from Gollum actor Andy Serkis, this heartfelt, against-the-odds drama is the official opening night film of the BFF.
Saorise Ronan | On Chesil Beach
Brooklyn star Saoirse plays newly married young woman Florence, incredibly nervous on the first night of her honeymoon with Edward (Billy Howle) in this compelling drama. Adapted from the 60s-set novella by best-selling author Ian McEwan, who also wrote the screenplay, director Dominic Cooke’s feature debut takes a devastating look at intimacy issues.
Alicia Vikander | Tulip Fever
Scoring an Oscar for her role in The Danish Girl last year, Alicia dives headlong into another historical drama as an orphan, Sophia, who marries a wealthy merchant (Christoph Waltz) in 17th century Amsterdam then falls for the penniless painter (Dane DeHaan) he commissions to capture her portrait. Ok, there isn’t much of a British connection here, really, but it is based on the book by English author Deborah Moggach (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and directed by Mancunian Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl).
For more info on the British Film Festival, or to book tickets, click here.
Image credit: British Film Festival