The next Film Club:  The Prisoners (Documentary)

Complimenting our Resolutions process 

Date & Time: Thursday 10 February 2022, 7.30pm 

Cinema / Venue: From home, stream on YouTube
with a Zoom for members discussion following at 8.30pm

Cam City WI has a regular Film Club for members (including CamCo) aiming to find films to watch that will inspire, educate and empower women.  Film Club will take place on adhoc evenings depending on film release dates and availability. 

We aim to visit all three Cambridge Cinemas (The Light, Vue and the Picturehouse) and sometimes Members homes on rotation, taking into consideration film choices, release dates, times and comfort.

We will advertise the next date, time and cinema or home venue to members by email and via Facebook events.

Films we've seen: 

  • Climate Change: The Facts, Documentary, BBC iPlayer - 23 September 2021, 7.30pm,
    followed by a Zoom discussion

  • Kinky Boots: The Musical - 4 February 2020

  • Bombshell - 25 January 2020

  • Last Christmas - 9 December 2019

  • Downton Abbey - 15 September 2019

  • Everybody's Talking About Jamie - 13 June 2019

  • Captain Marvel - 25 March 2019

  • On the Basis of Sex - 9 March 2019

  • Bohemian Rhapsody - 26 October 2018

  • Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again - 30 July 2018

  • Ocean's 8 - 25 June 2018

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri - 25 May 2018

  • Ladybird - 9 March 2018

  • Bad Moms Christmas - 6 November 2017

  • Hocus Pocus - 28 October 2017

  • Moana - 28 Aug 2017

  • The House - 30 June 2017

  • Their Finest - 21 April 2017

  • Beauty and the Beast - 24 March 2017

  • Hidden Figures - 17 February 2017


Reviews by Film Club Members

'Moana' by Helen L

Monday 28 August 2017, 8.00pm showing at The Movies on the Meadows event, Granchester, Cambridge.

Disney have created another sing-a-long classic. Moana is the daughter of a Polynesian chief and she is desperate to explore the ocean surrounding her island of Motu-Nui. Her father has placed a taboo on leaving their island reef and their wayfinding traditions have been lost.


Moana is chosen by the Ocean to restore the heart of Te Fiti, which was stolen by the demigod Maui. Te Fiti is the goddess of life and removing her heart starts a chain reaction, creating the lava monster Te Ka who destroys the surrounding islands. With the help of her grandmother and the motivation to save her island and her people, Moana sets off on an adventure to find Maui and restore the heart.

Moana is not a traditional Disney princess, there are no dashing prince trying to win her heart. But she does have an animal sidekick and parents who wish to control her life. She is a strong female lead, determined to follow her quest to the end. Maui teaches her wayfinding techniques and she becomes a confident navigator. She’s brave in the face of danger, outsmarting the giant crab, Tamatoa, and facing the lava monster Te Ka to reveal it's true nature.

Disney established the Oceanic Story Trust, to help them create a story which would respect the traditions, history and people of Polynesia across the pacific islands. The trust included anthropologists, linguists, historians, tattoo experts, fishermen and elders from all over Polynesia. Every aspect of the film was checked by them to ensure authenticity and respect to all Polynesians and their interpretations of the Maui legend.

But even with this attention to detail, there have been criticisms of the film, particularly the depiction of Maui as a big man, perpetuating the offensive image of Polynesians as overweight. Consulting a trust of appropriate advisers throughout the creative process is a huge improvement since their Pocahontas days, and will hopefully steer Disney in a culturally sensitive direction for all of their future projects.

Overall I’d give this film ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. The songs are very catchy, the Bowie inspired “Shiny” sung by New Zealander Jermaine Clement (off of Flight of the Conchords) being my personal favourite. Hawaiian actress Auli’I Cravalho gives Moana a powerful voice, particularly in the inspiring “How Far I’ll Go”.  The animation is flawless, I spent most of the film wishing I could dive into the CGI oceans. This is a film for everyone and well worth a watch. 

'The Beguiled' by Helen L

Friday 21 July 2017, 6.15pm showing at The Picture House, Cambridge.

Sofia Coppola directs this adaptation of Thomas P. Cullinan’s 1966 novel of the same name. Set in rural Virginia during the American civil war, injured union soldier Cpl. John McBurney is discovered by a pupil of Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies. The school is almost empty, only Miss Farnsworth, teacher Miss Edwina Morrow and five pupils remain.

Nicole Kidman is very convincing as a strong female lead in a very difficult situation. Miss Martha tries to protect her pupils from the civil war that surrounds them and follows her moral code to help McBurney. But when he starts to threaten their way of life she takes control.

Kirsten Dunst plays Miss Morrow, an uptight wannabee Southern Belle, who falls in love with McBurney. She dreams of escaping Virginia and believes McBurney could be her way out. Elle Fanning plays Alicia, a sexually charged pupil who is at first desperate for McBurney to be given over to the Confederate army as a prisoner of war. But he easily charms her and they begin a secret affair.

Colin Farrell is very convincing as McBurney. Not much acting is required to play a man who uses potent sexuality to manipulate women. When his charms fail, he becomes a dangerous, self-centred character. His horror at discovering how far these women will go to survive is very convincing.

McBurney is trying to escape the war, using any means he can. But he underestimates the intelligence and emotional strength of Miss Martha. The film is full of repressed sexual desires which add to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the deep south. Things go very badly for McBurney, and he pays the price for his scheming desires.

I’d give this film ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. I really enjoy Sofia Coppola’s directing style and the cinematography is beautiful. You can feel the stuffiness of the decaying Antebelum house, the constrictions of their corsets and restricted duties as women of that period. The long nights filled with candlelit prayer are desperate for some excitement, which McBurney provides. 

Having watched the eerier 1971 film adaptation, with Clint Eastwood in the roll of McBurney, I’m intrigued to read the book to judge the characters for myself. 

'Beauty & the Beast' by Helen L

Friday 24 March 2017, 7.30pm showing at The Light Cinema, Cambridge

I was 4 years old when Disney released their original animated version, their best animated feature film of all time (happy to debate this at a future meeting, but I know I'm right). So this live action remake had a lot to live up to.

My child-like excitement began with the opening credits and carried on throughout. ALL the original songs were there, "Be our guest" being my particular favourite. They also created new songs just for the film which really helped move the story along.

Emma Watson was enchanting as Belle, lovely singing voice and so much emotion in those eyebrows! The Beast was also impressive, motion capture CGI gave him natural features but his human-self was disappointing in comparison to his animated counterpart. I'm not sure who was involved in the casting, but Dan Stevens would not even be on my list.

Gaston however was perfect! Luke Evans' baritone belted out the songs and he had the right amount of self-obsessed arrogance needed for this despised character.

Disney have proudly spoken about the first gay character to feature in one of their films, LeFou. LeFou is Gaston's loyal companion, but he's stereotypically camp which is played up for comic effect. It wasn't a refreshing modern look at gay relationships, which Disney should really be pushing for in 2017. They reach children of all ages with their films, and even though they are entertaining, the films often have a strong moral compass which greatly influence their young viewers.

This is part of the reason Emma Watson wanted to update the character of Belle to be a feminist. An added dimension to her character, is that like her father she is an inventor, teaches local girls to read and wears lovely bloomers instead of ankle length dresses. She is a strong female character, up until the ending when she becomes just another Disney princess living in a castle, dancing at a ball with her prince. It would have been wonderful to see a different ending for this new Belle, perhaps setting up a school of engineering in the castle grounds?

It seems remaking classic films is something we will see more and more, not just by Disney. But they better leave The Little Mermaid alone!

Overall ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

‘Hidden Figures’ by Helen L

Friday 17 February 2017, 7.45pm showing at The Vue Cinema, Cambridge. 


Why hasn't this story been told sooner? That was a question we all asked ourselves at the end of this Oscar worthy film. 

The story is based on three main real life characters: Katherine Johnson, physicist and mathematician; Dorothy Vaughan, mathematician and programmer and; Mary Jackson, aerospace engineer and mathematician. The film focuses on ‘Project Mercury’, the first US human space flight program during the early 1960's, based at NASA's Langley Research Centre in Hampton, Virginia. 

Our heroines are all African-American women whose lives are constantly challenged by racism and gender inequality. 

At the beginning of the film, Katherine, Dorothy and Mary are employed as human ‘computers’ but their aspirations to improve their job opportunities are slowly fulfilled throughout the course of the film. 

Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P.Henson), becomes an integral part of the ‘space race’, successfully calculating landing trajectories for astronaut John Glen's orbit of Earth. 

Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spencer), an expert in FORTRAN computer programming aspires to be promoted to supervisor, the first African-American to hold a supervisor position at NASA.  

Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monáe), fights to become an engineer and after she is granted a court order to attend a segregated ‘whites only’ high school, she completes graduate level maths and physics and goes on to become NASA's first black female engineer. 

The daily struggles they faced as black women were sensitively handled. In particular, the shocking and ridiculous segregation of toilets, libraries, drinking fountains and seats on buses were all touched upon. 

However, the strengths of these women are the focal points of the film. As someone who scraped through GCSE maths, I was in awe of scenes which shined on Katherine's remarkable numerical talents. 
The soundtrack, by Pharell Williams, used musical styles from the 60s but with a modern twist and the songs perfectly complemented the film.

This film has used some artistic license, but it's difficult for any film based on real life to cover every aspect of its characters’ lives with a truthful timeline.  

The snippets chosen helped deliver a powerful message about the importance of racial equality and feminism, which unfortunately, is still relevant today. 

Overall it's a charming, heart-warming and empowering film, with gorgeous 60s costumes! 

100% my cup of tea! 
I give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️