The Nightingale

A gut wrenching experience full of bleakness, sadness and vengeance-and most of all realism. Not a typical tale of revenge-but an effective one. Incredible acting, writing and direction. This is not a revenge thriller-but a revenge drama. Really, drama is first. This is a character movie, we’re watching characters make decisions and seeing how they play out.

Aisling Franciosi is perfect in this movie as the main character. I bought every single line she delivered, my heart broke for Clare numerous times. I also loved Baykali Ganambarr as Billy. To call this simply ‘a tale of revenge’ is accurate-yes it is as brutal as everyone says. I wanted to look away a few times. It’s not horror movie blood and gore stuff, it’s real and raw. Like you’re watching real people get hurt. That’s what made this tough. It wasn’t hollywood-ish. Unlike most revenge movies, it did not glamorize the vengeance aspect, which was a breath of fresh air. This is as close to real life revenge as I ever want to see-because it’s messy and sad and horrific-but as I said, realistic.

So yes, if you can’t handle depressing and very, very dark scenes-don’t watch this. The images will stick with me for a long time and I consider myself quite adapt to violent films. However, I think my favorite aspect of this movie was the development of Clare and Billy. Being that this takes place in Colonial times, black people were treated as objects (an aspect this movie doesn’t shy away from at all. Yes, we have a real and raw tale of revenge and also the sad fact of slavery and racism thrown in our faces)

The way these two get to know each other and trust each other was enthralling. The way Billy helps Clare through these desperate times was also quite well done. Really the friendship between these two is the light in the darkness. We have scenes of horror, and also scenes of genuine kindness. As the director says, “this film is about a need for love, compassion and kindness in dark times.” I can totally see it. A movie that shows incredible bleakness also shows the need for more love and compassion in society-and that is perfect. What other revenge film does that? None that I know of.

I promise not to spoil anything, I see no reason to call this a perfect movie. There is nothing I would change. I will not forget my first time seeing this masterpiece-and I will re-watch it for sure.

This is my favorite film of 2019 so far.

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