Movie Reviews

Oscars Special: Lion (2017), Hacksaw Ridge (2017) & Hidden Figures (2017)

I’ve done it, guys. More than 2 weeks to go until Oscars night and I’ve seen all of the Best Picture nominees. Mostly thanks to advanced screenings at my local cinemas considering the fact some of these movies aren’t on a wide release yet. Help us out, Academy! The UK loves movies too. This is a super positive Oscars Special post today, because I absolutely adored all three of these movies.


I’m still thinking that La La Land will take the win, but after watching each of these movies I’ve changed my mind on what my personal favourite is. My other Oscars Special featured Moonlight, Loving and Hell or High Water. I’m yet to write down my thoughts on Manchester by the Sea, because I still don’t know how I actually feel about it.

Also – this Sunday is the BAFTAs! The only award show I get to watch at a decent time of day. I’ll pop together a predictions/wishes post for that later this week, and I suppose I should watch I, Daniel Blake, after all the love it’s been given. Has anyone even watched it?


I wanted my last Best Picture movie to be something I was really looking forward to seeing so that it didn’t feel like a chore, but part of me wishes I’d seen Lion first now. It’s the story of a young boy named Saroo (Sunny Pawar) who gets separated from his brother and ends up on a train to Calcutta, thousands of miles away from his home. Saroo faces many devastating hardships before he is adopted by a loving Australian couple, and when he grows up, he uses his memories of home and Google Earth to find his family again.

Firstly, little Sunny Pawar is absolutely incredible, and could have handled this entire movie if needed. Equally, this was the best I’ve seen Dev Patel. The story of Saroo is heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure, and the only negatives I can give are some pacing issues around the mid-way point, and the fact I didn’t like Rooney Mara’s character at all. It’s sometimes hard to imagine this is a true story, and when I finally learnt why the movie is called Lion, I ugly-cried everywhere.


One of the few Oscar movies I could convince my husband to see with me, and maybe the only one I wasn’t looking forward to much. Only because I just don’t do war movies. I can tolerate one for Andrew Garfield though, especially in our local cinema’s special screen with enhanced sound. Hacksaw Ridge is the story of WWII Army Medic Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, who serves during the Battle of Okinawa without brandishing a weapon.

This is the movie to change my mind about the genre. It was amazing. Gripping from start to finish despite it’s lengthy run-time, and scared the absolute crap out of me in several parts. If you want to know why I don’t watch horror, it’s because I lost my sh*t during the nightmare sequence and the green flare. Our row was laughing at me. Speaking of laughter, how nice was it to see Vince Vaughn giving his funniest performance since the early 00’s? He killed that role!


It took far too long for me to see a trailer for Hidden Figures. I’d read reviews from other bloggers and that was enough to get me excited, but I didn’t realise it would be such an entertaining movie! Hidden Figures is another true story, this time about three incredibly talented African-American female mathematicians working for NASA during the race to put a man in space, and their struggles with racism. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe play the lead roles, and they are fantastic.

As I said, on the back of a serious and shocking story of racism in the workplace, Hidden Figures is a highly entertaining movie. From the opening scene, these three ladies are so likeable, you just want them succeed, no matter what. Watching the rest of the workforce’s attitudes change is a delight. Although the plot is entirely predictable, it’s forgiven for being so darn fun.

27 thoughts on “Oscars Special: Lion (2017), Hacksaw Ridge (2017) & Hidden Figures (2017)

  1. What a truly wonderful film Hidden Figures is. It’s been far too long since I’ve felt such a mix of emotions during a movie: disgust, anger, suspense and, most of all, joy. A great way to start 2017!


  2. The Oscar shorts all play at my art house theatre next weekend. Other than that I’ve seen most of the nominated films in all categories except a couple of foreigns.


    1. Ahh thank you so much for thinking of me! I’ve never done a podcast before and I’m having a bit of a hectic time right now in my personal life so I’ll have to pass, but I would definitely be up for an episode in the future if you’ll have me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Three really good movies indeed! Glad you liked them. Of the three Hacksaw is my favorite and I still feel that movie is undervalued by many people. It’s amazingly director by Gibson who makes it look and feel like a big budget studio picture when actually it was made with a fairly modest budget. Lion was excellent. I’ll be honest, tears ran for me too! I couldn’t help it!


    1. I just had to look up the budget for myself because I had no idea. It absolutely feels like a huge budget movie! I haven’t seen many other movies like it to compare it to, but as someone who says they don’t like war movies, I LOVED Hacksaw Ridge!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree on Rooney Mara’s character. It’s not that I didn’t like it though, it was just pointless and the romance didn’t add anything to the film. I’m not a fan of war movies either (and I don’t even like Mel Gibson) but I’m going to see Hacksaw Ridge anyway because of Garfield. Hidden Figures sounds great but I’m afraid I’ll have to wait until mid March for it.


  5. I like your explanation, as to why this blog is called ‘Often Off Topic’ Ha!!
    What do you mean, you haven’t studied the written language ?????? Am confused??
    Nice trio of reviews.
    As you say, ‘Help us out, Academy! The UK loves movies too.’; I don’t get to watch good films at all, in Sri Lanka. I live in the wrong country. Aesthetically depressive, the Arts are looked down on, here. I wish I could just travel to our neighbouring country, India (specifically up north to New Delhi), where there is a great respect, for the Arts!! Good movies don’t really come to screens here, except for the crappy blockbusters, animated films, and (few good) Bollywood n’ Kollywood films.
    But, in the case of SL; I can’t say they love good cinema. So obviously the rare film fanatic, a la moi; sniff 😥 suffers!!
    I’d also love to watch, bedsides the three reviewed, the others you have mentioned; Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, Loving, Hell or High Water, & of course, the Palme d’or winner at Cannes Film Festival last year – I, Daniel Blake!!! Glad I stumbled upon your Blog 🙂


    1. Thanks for stopping by! All I mean is I never studied film, nor do I hold any qualifications in professional writing, so although I love to write, I’m in no way a professional blogger or film critic!
      It’s such a shame Sri Lanka doesn’t appreciate the arts as much as they should 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha!! That explains it; but you are still a good writer!! I really liked reading your review!!
        I actually studied Cinema! I did an MA in International Cinema, back in 2002-2003, at the University of Luton (now known as the University of Bedfordshire), in Luton, UK!! Prior to that, I use to be a journalist!!
        I know, I am struggling in SL. Glad that I at least have a Blog, to work on; and an appreciative audience, for it!!


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