Upon Her Lips (2021), Love and Monsters (2020) and My Octopus Teacher (2020) – Quick Picks

5 mins read

Quick Picks brings you short reviews of movies available to rent, buy or stream now. This edition features Upon Her Lips, Love and Monsters and My Octopus Teacher.

Upon Her Lips: Pure Feels (2021) Amazon/Vimeo

NQV has a well-earned reputation for bringing us some of the finest gay short films from around the world. However, up until now, their collections have mainly centred on the male experience. But, now, for the first time, NQV brings us a delightful, fascinating and engaging curated collection of female short films. And from the outset, one thing is clear, NQV’s Upon Her Lips is an essential addition to the NQV collection. Here, the female voice and experience sit centre stage, from the Esther Bialas stark coming-of-age drama Tumbling Birds to the artistic and powerful Everything In Between, where sensuality, passion and love wash over the audience in a silent tidal wave. However, Upon Her Lips, true strength comes from its global reflections on the female experience. Each short fusing together in providing us with an exquisite journey across our world from Isreal and Sweden to Brazil.

These shorts encapsulate the journey taken in defining individual sexuality, belonging, and freedom from our early days to the relationships that help define us. And we hope Upon Her Lips marks the start of an extensive collection of shorts from NQV exploring the female experience.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Love and Monsters (2020) Netflix

The sad thing about our current lockdown and the arrival of movies on various streaming platforms is they often don’t get the praise they deserve. I do not doubt that if cinemas had been open, Love and Monsters would have been one of the sleeper hits of the year. But instead, it quietly slipped onto Netflix with little fanfare. Michael Matthews movie is an all too rare gem in modern fantasy/sci-fi moviemaking. After all, it’s not based on a comic book, nor is it bleak, superhero-based or violent. No, Love and Monsters is, instead, a brilliantly fun, humorous and imaginative adventure. Its themes of apocalypse finding a truly unique voice as humans are overrun by giant insects, which were treated with contempt by us for generations while small and squashable.

The result is a delightful nature versus humanity story, where nature is finally back in control. However, Love and Monsters pure brilliance doesn’t stop there, with Dylan O’Brien on top form as an insecure warrior in a world of giant slugs, snails and man-eating crabs.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


My Octopus Teacher (2020) Netflix

What makes us human? And how does our relationship to nature impact our sense of humanity? In a pandemic world, these questions are even more urgent. And as our Earth suffers daily from the damage we have inflicted over generations, our relationship to nature has never needed to change more than now. However, can a single documentary encourage and inspire this change? The answer is simple, yes! From David Attenborough to Apple TVs, The Year Earth Changed, documentaries not only bring the natural world into our living room but encourage us to learn and grow. However, many still view these works from a perspective of human dominance—the human in control as we peek into the lives of our luscious animal kingdom. But, what if another creature equalled our intelligence? Our view of nature, built on equity rather than control.

My Octopus Teacher asks this very question, as the bond between one man and a wild cephalopod takes centre stage. The journey we are taken on, both emotional, amazing and urgent as we reflect on our place in a world of so many wonders. While at the same time considering how our responsibilities to nature and life must change to a relationship of partnership and equity.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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