BEGINNINGS, ENDINGS

Cert 15 Stars 2

Shailene Woodley stars in this painfully introspective, indulgent and lethargic romantic drama as Daphne, a thirty-something woman in a love triangle with two she meets at a party.

An accomplished, intelligent actress with a strong screen presence, back in 2014 Woodley seemed set for Hollywood superstardom after starring in the smash romantic drama The Fault in Our Stars, but following the big budget sci-fi disappointment of the Divergent films her career has mostly been TV based.

Co-star Jamie Dornan is best known for the Fifty Shades franchise and so is more than comfortable getting his kit off, while Sebastian Stan – best known as Marvel superhero The Winter Soldier – isn’t a slouch in the pecs and abs department either.

Director Drake Doremus seems hugely influenced by arthouse maestro Terrence Malick, who’s far from my favourite filmmaker, plus he allowed his cast to employ a semi-improvisational method which actors love but it has mixed results for the audience, as is often the case. And just like in Daphne’s life we have to endure an awful lot of being stuck in the middle.

DOGS DON’T WEAR PANTS

Cert 18 Stars 3

Love hurts in this provocative, explicit and eye-watering Finnish drama which goes so far beyond a bit of slap and tickle even ardent admirers of the Fifty Shades films may find themselves crossing their legs in sympathy.

Pekka Strang bares his soul – as well as the rest of himself – as a heart surgeon struggling to cope after the accidental drowning of his beloved wife.

He begins secretly spending his time in a sex dungeon with a dominatrix who calls him a dog and demands him to strip, hence the title, and as he finds solace in his own humiliation, the two lost souls begin to connect.

The appropriately named Mona also works as an osteopath, clearly a bit of a busman’s holiday for the broad minded professional.

This blackly comic chamber piece is definitely not for the timid or squeamish, it’s sensitive to its characters needs and everyone comes out with their dignity intact, though you can’t say the same for all their other bits.