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  Wonderland
Year: 1999
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Gina Mckee, Molly Parker, Shirley Henderson, Kika Markham, John Simm, Jack Shepherd, Ian Hart
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Low-rent P. T. Anderson, rough trade Altman or a shabby stab at doing it Dogma-style?

Actually, Wonderland may well be the finest 'London Movie' ever committed to celluloid, taking a voyeuristic, fly-on-the-wall peek at a highly dysfunctional family: Nadia and her sisters; the sluttish single parent Debbie (Henderson); pregnant housewife Molly (Parker); parents-at-war (Markham and Shepherd) and a side server of men behaving sadly.

In Wonderland, the bright lights of our capital city do not disguise the unforgiving nature of what can be the loneliest place on the planet: a case in point is Nadia (the excellent Gina Mckee); a coffee shop waitress and member of a lonely hearts dating agency who represents the strongest link in a weak chain of still lives, who eventually merge in an evening that may or may not change their lives for the better.

Fittingly, Mckee delivers the strongest performance here, conveying more (sometimes silent) emotion than many Academy award nominees manage in several films worth of dialogue. There's splendid support, too, from Markham and Shepherd while John Simm shines as Molly's wholly irresponsible husband.

In its own way, Wonderland's capital ride is every bit as bleak as Mike Leigh's admirably unglamorous Naked, but with a heart and soul that lifts it above the standard streets-aren't-paved-with-gold fare; even more so when it can boast a marvellous Michael Nyman score.
Reviewer: Steve Langton

 

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