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The Nightingale Movie Review

Brutal 'Nightingale' Worth Listening To

Be wary of "The Nightingale," a powerful new movie worth seeking out should you choose to do so. It's a brutal and deeply upsetting film at almost every turn, but director Jennifer Kent ("The Babadook") handles the film's unsettling moments with purpose and conviction. Even so, be warned before entering the film.
Set in colonial Australia in 1825, Clare (Aisling Franciosi) has been enslaved by British commander Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin) for seven years. She is treated as a servant by Hawkins and his men, serving them food and drinks and being subjected to their crude comments and gestures. She is referred to as a nightingale because she serenades them on command as they sit around and get drunk.





Sofia Bolt - Waves Music Album Reviews

On her debut, the French-American musician offers a broken heart, a jaded eye, oceans of surf-rock reverb, and a Van Dyke Parks cameo.

During a breakup, you fantasize about dramatic reinvention. Maybe you'll move across the ocean, change your hair, pick up a new hobby. For Amélie Rousseaux, the French-American musician who performs as Sofia Bolt, post-breakup reinvention entailed swapping Paris for L.A., getting into surfing—and oh, writing a slightly clumsy, mostly lovely debut album called Waves.

The first thing you notice about Waves is the atmosphere. On opener “London 2009,” Rousseaux recalls the initial spark of attraction over snippets of party chatter, clinked glasses, and pouty-lipped surf-rock guitars. “I was so drawn to you/Artistic, timid, cute,” she sings. Her lyrics are often messy, with endearingly clunky rhyme schemes and the occasional cliché, but she’s aided by talented session musicians and oceans of reverb.

Sometimes, Rousseaux plays it a little too cool for her own good. On “Ojai,” she casts her disaffected eye across a room full of “wannabe hippies,” sounding not so much above it all as detached. After pontificating about hot springs and horizons, she switches to French and allows a beach-rock guitar solo to see her out. The arrangements are distinctive, but Rousseaux’s own voice gets a little lost.

The title track, which comes in two versions, offers the biggest surprise. The first version sounds like every other song on the record: moody, chic, simmering. The second, appearing at the very end, is arranged by the legendary Van Dyke Parks. The master L.A. weirdo’s trademark orchestral flourishes move through the flimsy song like a summer storm spinning a weather vane; it’s a trip to hear Parks’ work punctuating lines as facile as “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “hella easy.” But ultimately, Waves is a debut. It’s an asymmetrical listen, and that’s fine; there’s more than enough promise here. Amélie Rousseaux moved halfway across the world to heal, and it is a pleasure to hear her processing.

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