Page 4 November 4, 2021 EL SEGUNDO HERALD
Check It Out Film Review
‘The Souvenir: Part II’ is a Brave,
Beautiful Bookend to a Personal Journey
By Ryan Rojas for cinemacy.com
Firstly, in order to properly discuss The
Souvenir: Part II, we need to begin by remembering
the film’s predecessor.
I was absolutely floored when I first saw
The Souvenir upon its release in 2019.
The film began as a simple depiction of a
troubled relationship. Masterfully, it unfolded
into a larger, devastating story. A portrait of
how one person struggled to support, and then
survive in the shadow of the other’s darkness,
which sought to consume and doom them both.
Upon seeing the film’s final frame, my
mind was blown. Then, the end credits
revealed that The Souvenir would return in
a second part.
Aghast, I instantly wondered: “Where
would this story go from here?”
The Souvenir: Part II, which is now playing
in select theaters, answers that question.
Director Joanna Hogg continues with the
semi-autobiographical story of Julie (Honor
Swinton Byrne). Her devastating relationship
to Anthony (Tom Burke) has ended. Nervously,
she must figure out how to move forward in
the aftermath of those recent tragic events.
Independently, and alone.
The Souvenir focused mainly on Julie and
Anthony’s turbulent relationship, ending by
only briefly showing Julie entering film school.
The Souvenir: Part II sees Julie towards the
end of school and embarking on making her
thesis film. The story that Julie, the student
filmmaker, decides to make, is the story of
a young woman in a turbulent relationship.
Fascinatingly, Joanna Hogg–a woman
who previously made a film about a woman
navigating a dark chapter in her life–has now
returned with a film about a woman making
a film about a woman navigating a dark
chapter in her life, brings an even deeper
level of poignancy and meta-reflection to
The focus of the drama in this film is,
while Julie is now liberated, can she process
and make sense of her life’s recent events?
Still timid and soft-spoken (the white she
wears liken her to a floating ghost), those
around her throw unsure glances. How will
she process this heavy trauma? Is she even
capable of doing so?
This sequel (of which the format type is
rarely seen beyond superhero movies and
prestige TV) works wonderfully here. If the
story of The Souvenir was to have ended
with that film, we would have been left to
create the rest of her life’s story in our own
heads. The Souvenir: Part II provides the
necessary closure and cathartic release to
Julie’s story, which its director feels deeply
connected to resolving.
Beyond its incredible emotional honesty,
the film is beautifully constructed from a
cinematic level. Visually, the film is lensed
through a soft, pastel world, which perfectly
captures Julie in 1980s London. The Souvenir
films should be admired for its visual and
technical artistry just as much for its emotional
However, if there’s a shortcoming that I
found with my experience with Part II, it’s
that there isn’t the same effect in the grandly
measured reveal that defined the first film.
The Souvenir bloomed into a large and
suspenseful story. Part II is more defined
by seeing how, or if, she will come to terms
with her past, and how, or if, she will realize
her artistic vision.
Still, it’s all told so bravely, and shot so
beautifully, that I am enthused to recommend
not just this film, but both, to everyone. Truly,
they are among the most special pieces that
have been shared about a person’s life, and
depiction of an artist’s struggle, that I’ve seen
shown on film in recent times. The Souvenir
films should forever be cherished as a thing to
have to remember a life-changing journey by.
‘The Souvenir: Part II’ is now playing in
select theaters. •
Willodeen by Katerine Applegate
By Cathie Hinkle-Library Assistant
Willodeen, the main character in Katherine
Applegate’s new novel, loves the most unlovable
creatures, called “screechers.” They
smell bad; “Put a hundred rotten eggs in
your mind. Then add some scoops of dead
fish and a splash of skunk spray. You’ll have
the general sense of things.” Her fellow villagers
feel that they are monsters and need
to be exterminated.
The villagers of Perchance feel this way
towards the screechers because the world
around them has suddenly become unkind.
People are sick and dying. There are droughts
and fires and, the Hummingbears, who normally
migrate to Perchance annually and
bring tourism and trade, are not showing up.
Willodeen believes with her whole heart
that “Nature knows more than we do…”
which is what her father always told her. So
Willodeen, along with her new friend Connor,
decide to investigate the disappearance of the
Hummingbears and if the screechers play a
part in it. Along the way they discover truths
about themselves and grow as individuals
This is a heartwarming, timely, environmentally
themed book full of imaginative
creatures that are so appealing. I could not
put it down and read it in one sitting.
If you are a fan of Katherine Applegate,
you will enjoy her latest. If you haven’t
read anything by her yet, this book would
be a great place to start!
Applegate’s stories and many more are
available for checkout in our youth collection.
Stop by or request via our online catalog at
The Souvenir: Part II, courtesy A24.
“Time is the coin of your life.
It is the only coin you have, and only
you can determine how it will be spent.”
– Carl Sandburg
Willodeen by Katerine Applegate.
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