If you’re wondering what kind of movie Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir Part II is, there’s a shot in the trailer where Richard Ayoade yells, “What did it make you feel?” The sound stages and stuffy British sitting rooms that make up the milieu of The Souvenir Part II’s trailer seemingly force the question.
The Souvenir star Honor Swinton Byrne’s character Julie is back behind the lens making a movie based on her experiences from film one. Still processing her relationship with Anthony (Tom Burke), her drug-addicted dead lover, Julie is turning her pain into art, even if she’s not quite sure what the finished product is going to look like. Joining Swinton Byrne is her mother, Tilda Swinton, in the part she was born to play: Honor Swinton Byrne’s mother. Here’s the synopsis:
In the aftermath of her tumultuous relationship with a charismatic and manipulative older man, Julie begins to untangle her fraught love for him in making her graduation film, sorting fact from his elaborately constructed fiction.
We at The A.V. Club were big fans of the first Souvenir. In our 2019 review, film editor A.A. Dowd wrote:
The Souvenir’s almost ethereal look suggests the scrim of imperfect memory. Or maybe just shuffling through faded old Polaroids—a sensation reinforced by Hogg’s decision to shoot scenes from striking, offbeat angles, capturing her characters in the reflection of puddles or from across rooms, as if these were the only views of the events she could find in her mind or photo album. It’s a visual representation of The Souvenir’s slightly detached empathy: that wistful affection you feel when looking back on the foibles of your own past, wondering how you could have ever been so young.
The Souvenir Part II opens in select theaters on October 29.