Orla Smith

Orla Smith
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Orla is a London-based freelance film critic and the Executive Editor of film site and publishing house Seventh Row. She is the editor of several books about film, such as "Roads to nowhere: Kelly Reichardt's broken Americans Dreams" and "Beyond empowertainment: Feminist horror and the struggle for female agency."

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
A- 91% The Perfect Candidate (2020) This is that rare, miraculous thing: a political crowdpleaser that doesn't sand off its edges in an effort to be palatable. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted May 13, 2021
B+ 62% Profile (2021) Bekmambetov uses ScreenLife in a way I've rarely seen before, experimenting with this new cinematic language in incredibly exciting ways. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2021
100% Sublet (2021) "Michael and Tomer, played beautifully by Hickey and Nissim, are characters who feel distinctive, as if their lives continue even when they're off screen." - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2021
100% Brother's Keeper (2021) "The film's harrowing conclusion hammers home the fact that there are multiple different levels of violence and apathy in this corrupt institution that could lead to a vulnerable boy like Memo being harmed." - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2021
No Score Yet Miguel's War (2021) "For Raheb, it was just as important to include takes of Miguel (jokingly) calling her a bitch, declining to answer questions, and struggling to recall the truth than it was to include his eventual honest answers." - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2021
94% Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (2021) "The film just won the Silver Bear at the Berlinale - the festival's second-most prestigious award - and deservedly so, as Hamaguchi's beautifully written, elegantly crafted triptych is a melancholy delight." - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2021
B 100% What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? (2021) More than a romance, or a fairy tale about sentient security cameras, What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? is an ode to living in the moment and finding beauty in the familiar. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2021
B- 90% Memory Box (2021) Memory Box is at its strongest in its first half. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2021
A- 100% Petite Maman (2021) Of course it's as impeccably directed and carefully structured as we've come to expect from Sciamma. But it's more of a slow simmer than Portrait's fiery blaze. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2021
C+ No Score Yet Me to Play (2021) I left the film having learned more about Parkinson's than I did about Moran and Jones-and for a supposed tribute to their careers, that's a real shame. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2021
C+ 91% A Brixton Tale (2021) I still can't shake the feeling that A Brixton Tale is made with an outsider's gaze-not because it's exploitative, but because it's generic. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2021
D+ 52% R#J (2021) Instead of mining richness from the material, Williams's use of Screen Life is nothing but cheap pandering to "the teens." - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2021
B- 100% Hive (2021) The true story behind Hive, and Fahrije herself, is amazing, but it often feels like the film is going through the motions. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2021
C+ 89% At the Ready (2021) Despite the interesting and pertinent subject matter, Crow's film feels shapeless and unfocused. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2021
B- 55% Superior (2021) Vassilopoulos's visually meticulous film, which is styled in a delightfully retro fashion, is a fun but thin entry to Sundance's U.S. Dramatic Competition. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2021
No Score Yet Aristocrats (2021) It's exciting to see such an ambitious and complex exploration of women's class and freedom, however messy the presentation - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2021
100% We (2021) I left the film feeling like I'd just skimmed the surface, eager to learn more about this Paris that I've rarely seen on screen, but frustrated at the questions Diop leaves unanswered. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2021
91% Together Together (2021) Sweetly subversive if a little thin - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2021
89% Pleasure (2021) Ninja Thyberg's LA porn drama, Pleasure, is an authentic, scathing look at an industry with little regard for boundaries or consent - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2021
100% Try Harder! (2021) Refreshingly, though, Lum's film isn't a narrow look at the rigorous demands of just this one school. She illuminates why the school and its students feel that academically excelling is the only way forward. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2021
84% We're All Going to the World's Fair (2021) Schoenbrun's debut is one of the only American films that really excited me, in both ideas and film form, at this year's Sundance Film Festival. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2021
97% Farewell Amor (2020) Msangi structures the film as a triptych, telling the story from each character's perspective, revisiting some moments, and introducing them to the parts of their lives that they keep hidden from each other. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
100% Make Up (2020) Claire Oakley's debut feature, Make Up, is a coming-of-age drama that often feels like a horror film, because Oakley immerses us in the terror, confusion, and ecstasy of discovering your identity. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
A- 82% I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) Like so much of Kaufman's work, it's a movie about characters who can't stop thinking about death, and he teases out that existential dread as well as any horror filmmaker. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
C+ 93% Possessor: Uncut (2020) Possessor Uncut indeed looks beautiful--in a fucked up kind of way--but despite my visceral enjoyment of its visuals I couldn't help but wonder what purpose they served. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
C+ 90% Never Gonna Snow Again (2021) One's mileage may vary with Never Gonna Snow Again, depending on whether a rich and intriguing atmosphere alone can sustain your attention. It's a story you've seen before, and ultimately, an experience that left me feeling cold. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
C- 29% Come Away (2020) It's unlikely kids will understand these issues, though they aren't treated with enough complexity to engage adults. I'm struggling to work out for whom Come Away appeals. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
B 83% Happiest Season (2020) Great rom-coms can circumvent flaws if they deliver on the joy, the cosiness, and the chemistry, and DuVall's film offers a generous helping of all three. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
C 21% Stardust (2020) If it is possible to make a good David Bowie film without any David Bowie music-and without the blessing of Bowie's family-then this certainly isn't it. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
B- 81% I'm Your Woman (2020) Hart's slow burn doesn't have enough fuel to grab your attention beyond an intriguing premise. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
B 57% Malcolm & Marie (2020) That hastiness of its production shows somewhat in a script that doesn't quite coalesce-although it's a film with a lot on its mind, bolstered by two compelling performances. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
B 90% I Blame Society (2020) Wallace Horvat clearly knows and loves the mockumentary genre, and with I Blame Society, she makes it feel fresh again. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
No Score Yet Now (2020) Now is a wide-ranging and ambitious exploration of its subject that comes in at a tight 73 minutes. I was surprised it's so short, since it packs in so much information that I felt thoroughly schooled (in a good way) by the end of it. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2020
100% Queering The Script (2019) While Zilkha's film isn't formally inventive, and it's less insightful on racial and gender diversity, it's an entertaining and informative watch that invites you to empathise with the women who participate in fandom. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
80% Ultraviolence (2020) There is a fine line between depicting violence as a wake-up call versus misery porn, and Fero crosses over to the latter by providing little context for the brutality. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
90% The Dilemma of Desire (2020) The Dilemma of Desire will change the way you think about sex - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2020
87% Survival Skills (2020) Telling this story in the framework of a police training video isn't just a gimmick, but a clever way to draw attention to the problem. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2020
69% Ammonite (2020) Ammonite will make you feel as if you're right there in Lyme with Mary, sharing her loneliness and delighting in the small moments of joy she allows herself, all the while breathing in the crisp sea air. - The Film Stage EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2020
86% On The Rocks (2020) Sofia Coppola's latest, On the Rocks, is a vague and out of touch depiction of a working mother's relationship crisis. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
100% Sweat (2020) Sweat is one of the first great films about an influencer. Magnus von Horn's Sweat avoids the cliche of portraying an Instagram influencer as shallow and instead extends empathy to her and her fans. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2020
67% New Order (Nuevo orden) (2021) Michel Franco's latest provocation, New Order, is a bloodbath of grossly miscalculated 'social commentary'. I've heard it touted as Mexico's Parasite, but the comparisons only go as far as the architecture of the rich families' houses. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2020
98% The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020) The funny, smart, wildly entertaining The Forty-Year-Old Version is among other things, an exploration of how difficult it is for a marginalised creator to be authentic to their own voice and get paid. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2020
69% 180 Degree Rule (Khate Farzi) (2020) The film is a meticulously-crafted drama that devolves into a psychological thriller when tragedy strikes partway through. It's a provocative film. I admire its boldness. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2020
93% Residue (2020) Merawi Gerima's directorial debut Residue is an impassioned ode to a rapidly gentrifying Washington D.C. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2020
78% Shadow in the Cloud (2021) Overall, the good might just trump the bad, especially because it's practically one of a kind: an action movie that works because its main character is a woman, not in spite of her womanhood. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 6, 2020
100% Quo Vadis, Aida? (2021) Jasmila banic's Quo Vadis, Aida?, a harrowing drama about the 1995 Bosnian genocide, is one of the best films of TIFF 2020 - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
93% Ordinary Love (2020) It's easy to take a great new performance from film and theatre veteran Lesley Manville for granted, but Ordinary Love's cancer patient Joan is one of her most physically challenging roles to date. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
75% To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020) In the disappointing sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, Centineo's casual charm feels like old news. Condor, however, is endlessly watchable, given the way she infuses cliche rom-com tropes with individuality, vulnerability, and spirit. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
5/5 96% First Cow (2020) A friendship between humans instead of human and animal is a rarity in Reichardt's films, so this story of genuine friendship is particularly lovely. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
98% Disclosure (2020) Disclosure isn't just a glorified Wikipedia entry, but a history of trans representation of screen as told by actual trans people. - Seventh Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020