Focus Features is a company that has an illustrious track record of Oscar-winning and nominated films. This year, they turn 15 years old and their line up is just as engaging as ever. The first film presented for their 2018 slate is Victoria and Abdul, the true story of the unexpected friendship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant. Starring Dame Judi Dench as the iconic Queen, the trailer for this film looks to be a thought provoking and heart warming story.
Focus continues their creative collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis following the 2007’s three-time Academy Award winning film, There Will Be Blood. In this new project, Day-Lewis will be pairing up with Paul Thomas Anderson to explore a distinctive viewpoint of the 20th century. The new drama is set in the high-class society of 1950s London and highlights the life of a stubborn couture dressmaker who works for royalty and the most elite. This project is still untitled but is slated for later this year.
Next up is The Book of Henry, a suburban drama starring Naomi Watts as a single mother taking care of an extraordinarily gifted son named Henry. The story focuses on the relationship between Henry and his younger brother and mother but when a new family moves in next door, a dangerous secret emerges and Henry takes action to help. This film looks to be an intimate look into family dynamics and relationships beyond and what it takes to be a good neighbor.
In June 2017, Sophia Coppola returns to the directors’ chair with her new film, The Beguiled. Set during the Civil War, this seductive drama centers around a Southern girl’s boarding school and a wounded enemy soldier that they discover and tend to him. Sexual tension rises within the house as the soldier seduces multiple girls and taboos are broken in a climatic and suspenseful turn of events. This film stars Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning and is adapted from Thomas Cullinan’s novel of the same name.
Later this year, in November, audiences will be captivated by the true story of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Gary Oldman came out to talk about his starring role as Churchill and the difficulties of putting on and wearing the makeup that transformed him into this iconic British Prime Minister. We were treated to an exclusive preview of the film during the presentation and just from the clips alone, this looks to be one of Gary Oldman’s most extraordinary roles. The film takes place within days of Churchill’s inauguration and the most difficult decision of his life; to sign a treaty with Nazi Germany, or fight for the ideals of liberty and freedom. In this darkest hour, he changes the course of history and this film captures the intimate moments of Churchill at that time.
Focus Features saved the best for last as they brought out Charlize Theron to introduce exclusive footage of her upcoming action thriller, Atomic Blonde. Universal Pictures gave us a glimpse of the blonde bombshell kicking ass in their presentation, however, Focus took it one step further by giving us a full 10-minute fight scene. In this scene, Charlize Theron’s character fights her way through a building of armed men in one sweeping take. This scene blew me away with the intensity, grittiness, and realism that pays homage to films such as Old Boy and the Bourne Identity. It was an incredible scene and left me on the edge of my seat and wanting more. Atomic Blonde hits theaters July 28th, and it is a must see film for adults only who enjoy spy thrillers and powerful women.
Focus Features lineup for 2017/2018 seems to have just one note to them: adults only. While Darkest Hour is a historical drama and the Book of Henry centers around an eccentric kid, all of the films on their slate seem to cater to adults and mature themes. In that regard, Focus Features has zeroed in on their market and will continue to produce unique films that are enthralling and passionate for their kind of people.