Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, A Review


Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled existence. Except, sometimes, everything… 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, is a novel by author Gail Honeyman that has recently gained critical attention because of its very real themes of mental health and the people who suffer from it. Initially I was hesitant to read this book because from the blurb only, the plot was very vague and even when I knew about the themes of mental illness, I still didn’t really know what this book was about. But I decided to give it a go because I was headed up to the Lakes and would be stuck in the car for around 3 hours- 3 hours later… well let’s just say I’ve never finished a book so quickly. 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, follows Eleanor- a finance clerk for a Graphic design company who lives a very structured life. Every lunchtime she completes the Daily Telegraphy crossword, every Wednesday she has her weekly phone call with “Mummy” and every Friday she buys two bottles of vodka and a margherita pizza for the weekend. Eleanor has lead this life since she left university and she is happy, however despite her very structured lifestyle, Eleanor has left no room for any kind of friends or social interactions- it’s just something she doesn’t think about. Eleanor is content in her life and doesn’t see any changes in the foreseeable future. All of this changes however, when she wins concert tickets in an office draw- at the concert Eleanor instantly falls for the lead singer of the warm-up act- Johnnie Lomond. Eleanor quickly decides Johnnie would make perfect “husband material”– an idea egged on by her mother, so Eleanor sets out to change her life. 

During her attempts to win Johnnie over Eleanor, much to her reluctance, begins a budding friendship with Raymond– the IT guy who works in her building. After she asks him to fix her office computer he asks her to hang out and begins to walk home with her. Before she can attempt to dodge him, the pair witness an old man- Sammy- take a fall- leading them to calling an ambulance. The pair begin to continuously meet up to visit Sammy and later his family, but Eleanor realises that having an actual friend isn’t the worst thing in the world and the pair begin to have weekly lunches together. 

Eleanor is also forced to dig into her past- something she has never done before. After Raymond begins to ask her about her scars and her mother’s weekly phone calls get more tense the more sociable Eleanor gets- Eleanor realises she knows almost nothing about her childhood- and until now she had been completely fine with that. Twice a year Eleanor is visited by a social worker but in her 30 years Eleanor has never once actually read her file, she also has no idea who her father. Her more outgoing personality leads to Eleanor uncovering several somewhat faded memories which she is reluctant to dig through- but where they hidden for a reason?

In order to win Johnnie over, Eleanor reasons, she will have to become the “perfect woman” for him- becoming more sociable and aware of modern trends. In preparation for meeting her future husband, Eleanor begins to take better care of her appearance- buying new clothes, makeup and getting a haircut, she even begins to follow Johnnie on Twitter and visits his house to “find out where he lives”. As Eleanor becomes increasingly ready to meet her future husband she begins to gain much needed social skills- but when she finally meets the groom to be- will it all be worth it and will she be able to survive what happens?

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was such a thought provoking read and a new literary heroine has emerged in Eleanor. Reading this book really makes you think about loneliness and depression and the people who are going through it. Eleanor’s life may have seemed perfectly fine to her- but she really wasn’t and it took her a long time to see that. Eleanor was a very unusual, funny and brilliant character and her journey was definitely one for the ages. The friendship between Eleanor and Raymond was easily the best thing about this book and whilst reading, unlike a lot of books I genuinely didn’t know who, if anyone, would get a happy ending. Eleanor Oliphant is not completely fine and whilst it make take her a long time to notice this, the emotional challenges she faces make her one of the most interesting and readable characters in a long, long time. Similar to a lot of other projects, Reese Witherspoon has already optioned this book for a film- which I predict good things for, so I urge so many people to read this book, I’m certainly glad I did- it may just change your life. 

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina- A Midwinter’s Tale, A Review

You better watch out.

It’s Christmas time at the Spellman residence- or Happy Solstice as the witches likes to call it, during the holidays the family celebrate the longest night of the year, light a yule-log to keep unwanted spirits away and fight a demon- just like any other family holiday really! 

This holiday season, Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) is still feeling the aftermath of telling her friends Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Susie (Lachlan Watson) and her boyfriend Harvey (Ross Lynch) that she is in fact a witch. Sabrina is keen to make amends but her mortal friends are still hesitant and try to keep their distance- with Harvey having to look after his alcoholic father and Susie excited about playing an elf in the local Santa’s grotto. Meanwhile, back at home Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davies) is keen to celebrate the holiday season, whilst Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) is still secretly caring for the baby she kidnapped from Father Blackwood at the end of last season- the two are quickly getting attached and Zelda decides to raise the baby as her own- pretending it is in fact a “distant Spellman cousin”. Missing her mother (Annette Reilly), especially now during the festive period, Sabrina decides to contact her via séance to ask her advice about her friends- much to cousin Ambrose’s (Chance Perdomo) displeasure. When her friends turn her down to help with the séance, Sabrina turns to the “Weird Sisters” Prudence (Tati Gabrielle), Agatha (Adeline Rudolph) and Dorcas (Abigail Cowen) to help her- something they are very excited about as the “love séances”. But will contacting her mother actually work, and what other unwanted spirits will Sabrina let loose? 

 In contacting her mother, Sabrina unwittingly unleashes Gryla (Heather Doerksen)– a cannibalistic witch who is desperate for children, and her “lads” on the Spellman house- causing chaos as usual. In a side plot Suzie discovers her new job is not all it was cracked up to be and Mr Bartel (Brian Markinson) might have much darker intentions that spreading Christmas joy. In the end Sabrina will have to save both her family and Susie and do it all whilst also warding off the dark intentions of Madame Satan (Michelle Gomez) who is still doing everything she can to turn Sabrina dark. 

A Midwinter’s tale was a fun Christmas special and I loved seeing the Sabrina cast again even if just for one special before season 2 starts up again in April. I love all things Christmas and mixing it up with the witches of Sabrina was the perfect mix of holiday spirit and actual spirits. As always CAOS knows how to balance the spooky and terrifying of the witch world with the fun and lifelike struggles of Sabrina’s mortal world. The cast and characters reminded me why I love this series so much and the Sabrina take on Christmas was hilarious- the witch world may do thing differently but they definitely have style. Miranda Otto continues to shine as the cool and cold Zelda- however this time her interactions with kidnapped baby brought a smile to my face- it’s hard to believe such a powerful witch could be so good with babies, but it was adorable. Lachlan Watson as Susie I feel also had a much larger role in the Christmas special, making her character shine a lot brighter- and lets be honest those wax doll children were absolutely terrifying. Newcomer Heather Doerksen as Gryla however was honestly the breakout star of the special, Gryla was amazing and terrifying and so, so evil but she also manged to save the day? It just goes to show even the most evilest of witches can have a Christmas spirit. 

A Midwinter’s tale was just was Christmas needed and now I’m even more excited for season 2 of Sabrina in April! My only negative comment would be the lack of Madame Satan! Michelle Gomez is amazing as always but I feel her role in the special was very downgraded and I would of liked to see a lot more of her. 

Click here to read my season 1 of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina!

Elseworlds- Arrowverse crossover, A Review

Destinies will be rewritten.

After last year’s Crisis on Earth-X crossover it seemed nothing would be able to top the massive 4 night event, so it came as no surprise when it was announced that this year’s crossover event would be a lot smaller- with the Legends of Tomorrow team no se to appear at all. After the announcement that Batwoman, the role later revealed to be portrayed by Ruby Rose, would appear in the crossover- fans were excited. Both Gotham, Batman and Batwoman had only been mentioned in passing previously in the arrowverse so to finally get to see them on our screens was exciting. Later announcements also promised appearances from Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) and the first appearance of Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch)– who had also only been mentioned a few times in Supergirl- most of the time being insulted by Cat Grant. With many new beloved comic book faces, Elseworlds was promising to be the latest in a long line of successful crossovers- but was it able to pull it off?

Elseworlds starts off with Barry (Grant Gustin) and Oliver (Stephen Amell) waking up in each other’s lives with none of their friends of family being able to tell the two had switched bodies. After meeting up and realising something is wrong, the pair travel to Star Labs where,after being unable to convince Iris (Candice Patton), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) of their body swap, they are locked up. Whilst trapped the pair must learn how to use each other’s new found powers and abilities in order to escape, where they decided to go and visit Kara (Melissa Benoist) on earth 38 to see if she can tell them apart. On earth 38, Kara along with Superman and Lois confirm they still recognise the old Barry and Oliver and decide to travel to Earth 1 to see what is happening to the world. On Earth 1 after battling a robot able to replicate the powers of those who fight it, Cisco continuously vibes a strange man named Deegan (Jeremy Davies) who the group eventually trap down to Gotham.

In Gotham after meeting Kate Kane (Ruby Rose), the trio locate the “Book of Destiny” which is able to rewrite destinies. The book is stolen by Monitor (Lamonica Garrett) who returns the book back to Deegan- revealing he is testing the heroes to see if they are prepared for au upcoming crisis. Deegan uses the book again resulting in Kara and Barry losing their powers and Oliver and Barry- labelled the “trigger twins” on the run from the law. In their new powerless state and with all of their friends turned against them the trio must come together to defeat Deegan- who has transformed himself into a darker, more villainous Superman (Tyler Hoechlin).

As a crossover Elseworlds was obviously not as impressive as the previous two four-night grand scale events because it just wasn’t planned to be that. The exclusion of the Legends meant the focus was very much on Barry, Oliver and Kara and especially on Barry and Oliver learning from each other. Whilst I have always loved the relationship between Barry and Oliver and especially this year where they had to literally become the other, I feel that crossover wise this story could of maybe been told in two or even just one episode. Kara, who by all accounts is the most powerful of the three was arguably not actually needed with the crossover heavily focussing on Superman instead- although I did enjoy Tyler Hoechlin’s duel role which he played very well. Batwoman as well who was probably the hook of the crossover had a very minimal role- only really appearing in the Arrow episode. No question about it Ruby Rose absolutely killed the role and I would definitely watch a solo Batwoman show after this- but her role in the crossover was tiny and I wished she’d had a bigger role to really show off this brand new character. On the subject of new characters Elizabeth Tulloch was hilarious as Lois Lane and she is another character I would like to see more of.

Maybe I’m biased since Legends is my favourite of the Arrowverse shows (however their exclusion resulted in Legends making their own crossover episode which I will talk more about in my Legends season 4 review- but basically it may be the best Legends episode ever made) but I didn’t enjoy this crossover as much as previous ones. I understand hat it was intended to be a much smaller crossover but I felt the first part definitely and maybe even the second weren’t really necessary and Elseworlds could have even just been a normal Flash episode with Oliver, Kara and Superman guest starring. The annual crossover used to be such a grand scale event- rivalling that of even the Marvel or DC films but this year was a lot smaller and whilst I still liked it, I didn’t love it either.

See also- click the links below to read my previous Flash and Supergirl reviews:

Supergirl season 3- click here

The Flash season 4- click here

Doctor Who- Series 11, A Review

It’s about time.

The Doctor is back! After it was announced that Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) would be leaving the hit show after three years, many fans started to speculate- who would play the thirteenth Doctor? Rumours began flying and nearly every British actor on the planet was a possible contender- ranging from Kris Marshall to Idris Elba. But then the question arose- could the Doctor ever be a woman? This of course sent fans into a frenzy and two very clear sides emerged- the Doctor has not and will not ever be a woman or the Doctor should be a woman ASAP. From this even more rumours begun and actor and actresses alike were all speculated for the role of The Doctor until finally in mid-July it was announced that Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker would take up the role. Naturally this further drove a split in the fandom. Personally, I didn’t know how I felt about it yet- I had seen Whittaker in Broadchurch as well as the 2017 medical drama Trust Me (Which she was amazing in) but didn’t know how I felt about a female Doctor or Whittaker playing the role because I’d never seen anything like it before. Series 11 however has showed me- and hopefully many other fans- that change can definitely be a good thing and the 13th Doctor is no different than the rest- she’s the Doctor. 

Going into series 11, I was nervous as I always am when we get both a new Doctor and new companions- as well as a new showrunner (Chris Chibnall). Chibnall was previously known for creating Broadchurch as well as writing a few episodes for Doctor Who previously. None of Chibnall’s previous Doctor Who episodes had ever been any of my favourites but I did enjoy Broadchurch a lot- so I tried to be open minded. Character wise I loved the new Doctor and companions as well as most if not all of the side characters introduced each episode:

Jodie’s performance as the 13th Doctor was simply outstanding. Simply put she is the Doctor. Anyone worried or judging against the fact she was the first female Doctor had absolutely nothing to worry about- she was brilliant. From the second we saw her, Jodie perfectly portrayed the absolute craziness of the Doctor. Reminding me slightly of David Tennant’s tenth portrayal of The Doctor, Jodie had a very likeable bouncy energy about her that she radiated every single second she was on screen. Whether she was saving the world, exploring new galaxies or giving hope around the world Jodie was the Doctor- no question about it.

Ryan (Tosin Cole) made a very likeable companion as he introduced audiences to the new Doctor Who world. Born with coordination condition dyspraxia Ryan may not always be the best at running from the monsters but his very natural curiosity and button pressing habit made him a natural companion. Even though series 11 didn’t really have one main companion like previous seasons, having more of an ensemble feeling- I do feel like at times Ryan was the primary companion and had the most focus. Having a main male companion was another new change of series 11- with previous male companions often playing second fiddle to their female counterparts (e.g. Rory and Mickey) but like the Doctor is was a nice change and I really liked Ryan. I also like how unlike many past companions such as Martha or Clara he wasn’t always the sharpest in the room- making him all the more curious about the world around him. 

Graham (Bradley Walsh) was another pleasant surprise. When Walsh was announced to be playing one of the new companions I was initially wary, only knowing Walsh from presenting The Chase I was worried he wouldn’t be able to play a dramatic role. I was very wrong. Walsh as Graham was again very likeable and the loss of his on-screen wife Grace (Sharon D Clarke) was a shock to the system- especially about the Moffat years where countless characters would repeatedly come back to life again and again. Graham would often prefer to stay away from the alien threat but chose to travel with the Doctor nevertheless- not wanting to spend the rest of his days mourning over Grace. One of the main things I loved about Graham apart from his countless comedic moments was how he was handled, as the only white man aboard the TARDIS team this season he often got treated with more privilege- especially in historic episodes. Graham however didn’t want any of this and often became uncomfortable or even angry when the Doctor, Ryan and Yaz were treated any lesser than him.

Yaz (Mandip Gill) was perhaps the least developed out of the three companions but still a nice addition to the TARDIS team and arguably the closest to the Doctor. As a Police Officer (which gave her an interesting perspective) Yaz always wanted to in charge and was afraid of very little. Yaz was tough and open minded and fit in perfectly with the rest of the TARIS team and I hope in the future we get more development of character because honestly I loved Yaz. 

Whilst I loved the characters of series 11, the episodes on the other hand are another story… Whilst most of the episodes are fine stories I just felt like most of the series was boring for lack of a better word. With no two part episodes or a recurring story arc- series 11 was simply ten stand alone episodes and most if not all of them had very little impact. Most of the episodes had a low threat villain which often just left on its own volition or was defeated very quickly. A lot of episodes in fact had aliens, but it was the humans who were the “villains”– perhaps trying to prove that not all aliens are evil. Whilst I did like this angle most of the episodes were still very simple stories with very little impact on the audience. Chibnall did write or cowrote 6/10 of the episode and even the ones he didn’t write- which I admit were some of the better episodes- still weren’t to the standard of previous seasons. Chibnall did fantastic work on Broadchurch but I have to admit that I don’t think Doctor Who is for him- he may have created some fantastic new characters but episode wise series 11 was a let down. 

My personal episode ranking (from best to worst):

  1. Kerblam
  2. It Takes you Away
  3. Rosa
  4. The Witchfinders
  5. The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos
  6. Arachnids in the UK
  7. The Woman who Fell to Earth
  8. The Tsuranga Conundrum
  9. The Ghost Monument
  10. Demons of the Punjab

Dumplin’, A Review

Join the revolution in heels.

Find out who you are and do it on purpose. Netflix’s Dumplin’ follows Willowdean “Will” Dickson (Danielle Macdonald), the overweight daughter of “local celebrity” and pageant winner Rosie Dickson (Jennifer Aniston). For most of her life Will had been raised by her Aunt Lucy (Hillary Begley), and the two had bonded over their shared love of Dolly Parton. However after Lucy’s death, Will along with her best friend Ellen “El” (Odeya Rush) must learn to navigate their world of pretty girls and pageant queens alone, whilst also juggling her crush on co-worker at local fast-food joint Bo (Luke Benward). 

With the pageant season upcoming, Will is forced to accompany her mother to several events where she hosts, however after finding an half-finished pageant application letter belonging to Lucy, Will decides to sign up to the pageant- much to her mother’s shock horror. Will’s signing up despite not being “pageant material” inspires El and other fellow outcasts Millie (Maddie Baillio) and Hannah (Bex Taylor-Klaus) to also sign up- as a protest against pageants. However as the four girls begin their pageant training it becomes clear that both El and Millie actually want to win and start to enjoy themselves, even becoming closer to fellow pageant competitors Bekah (Dove Cameron) and Callie (Georgie Flores). This results in a argument between Will and El where Will accuses El of playing to win when they’d initially only entered as a protest- causing a rift in the friendship. 

Feeling lost Wil begins to sort Lucy’s possessions, finding a flyer for a local drag bar- deciding to go she invites Millie and Hannah, and the group meet Drag Queens Rhea Ranged/Lee (Harold Perrineau) and Candee Disch (Ginger Minj). The Drag Queens who were both great friends of Lucy, begin to teach the trio how to dance and dress for the pageant- whilst still staying true to themselves. 

As the pageant draws closer and closer Will still feels lost, has still not made up with El and has still not faced Bo after he kisses her. She is all ready to quit the pageant until she finds her Aunt Lucy’s bee broach that she had spent the film looking for. After finally having a talk with her mother about Lucy’s death, where Rosie admits that Lucy’s overflowing confidence always inspired her and she thinks she may have “thrown too much of Lucy away” Will resumes her training. Pageant day finally arrives ad the girls are all ready- but who will take away the crown?

I was pleasantly surprised by how Dumplin’ ended- from watching the trailer I expected if I’m being honest a very stereotypical story of the “big-girl underdog” taking the crown and “defeating the poplar blonde girl”- but Dumplin’ defied my expectations. Spoiler alert but Will doesn’t win the pageant, but perhaps not for the reason you might think and it honestly just made me like her character even more. Within the pageant itself I also expected these characters to all be bitches to each other, but just because they’re competing against each other doesn’t mean they have to hate each other. Dumplin’ shows that in the real world to succeed woman don’t have to hate woman and in the film even characters such as Bekah- who was portrayed as Will’s biggest competition was still a supportive and kind character- making  nice change from the stereotypical “mean girl”. 

Dumplin’ was honestly a beautiful film that was so funny yet so heartwarming and when I wasn’t laughing or smiling I was crying. Watching these characters- especially the main four girls compete in the pageant was amazing and the acting in Dumplin’ managed to be simultaneously hilarious and inspiring. Dumplin’ repeatedly enforces such positive body image message into the pageant world because as Millie states “Big girls need not apply”. Dumplin’ shows that absolutely anyone can be a star and with so many Dolly Parton quotes and inspiring messages Dumplin’ teaches so many important lessons. 

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, A Review

It’s time for the wedding of the year and for the Queen of Aldovia to be crowned.

Coined by some as the “best-worst” film of 2017, A Christmas Prince certainly made an impression on its audience. This 2017 Christmas rom-com was so bad it was good and many dedicated fans were overjoyed when a sequel was announced- and believe me the sequel is even more terrible and even more amazing than its predecessor.

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding continues on a year after the first film, taking place days before journalist turned Queen-to-be Amber Moore (Rose McIver) is to marry King Richard (Ben Lamb) of Aldovia- which I’m told is right next to Genovia. In the past year Amber has continued her blogging, focussing on her new life as a royal and Aldovia’s attempt to join the 21st century. A few days before her Christmas day wedding, Amber and her father Rudy (John Guerrasio) arrive in Aldovia to begin planning the ceremony. At the palace Amber reunites with Richard’s family- Princess Emily (Honor Kneafsey) and Queen Helena (Alice Krige) as well as the palace coordinator Mrs Averill (Sarah Douglas). The palace also introduce Amber to her wedding planner Sahil (Raj Bajaj) who, along with Mrs Averill are determined to make Amber’s wedding as traditional to Aldovian laws as possible.

Whilst Amber struggles with making her wedding her own, Richard struggles with being King and introducing his new modern policies which seems to be losing the country more and more money, the return of Richard’s villainous cousin Simon (Theo Devaney) from the first film also causes potential problems. Amber and Richard attempt to spend as much time together as possible but are constantly interrupted by Richard’s duties and the Aldovian people revolting or Amber’s wedding duties and her disagreements with Sahil over pretty much every aspect of her big day.

As Christmas becomes closer, more and more of the Aldovian people begin to revolt over losing their jobs and money- something which troubles Amber because no one knows exactly where or who the money is going to- causing her to investigate alongside her fellow reporter friends Andy (Joel McVeagh) and Melissa (Tahirah Sharif) from the first film. The trio, also joined by Simon- who Amber is still suspicious of- sneak off to a local bar to question the people who reveal all the money is going to an unknown company and not to them.

The group attempt to further gain information on who the money is really going to- now with the help of Emily who is somehow able to hack into the company. Before she can figure anything out however, Amber is told by Mrs Averill that when Queen she will be unable to continue with her blogging and is further reprimanded for investigating- causing her to run away. With Amber missing and the country’s economy further sinking things need to change- but will it be too little too late, or will Amber finally get her fairytale ending and save Aldovia in the process?

As previously mentioned in my The Princess Switch review (Read here) I absolutely love really bad Christmas films, and The Christmas Prince and its sequel may just be the best of the worst. Honestly the dialogue and the characters and just the general feel of this film are just so laugh out loud funny- so bad it’s brilliant. Watching this film and then reading other people’s reviews/reactions to the absurdity that is A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding just honesty makes my day and perhaps even my whole Christmas. Amber’s very loveable “hallmark heroine cliché” characteristics as well as her god damn awful notetaking whilst reporting are hilarious- how this woman ever became a fully-fledged journalist is beyond me. Simon’s reappearance and redemption arc was also a surprising, yet enjoyable change- making him one of the best things about the sequel- when he was arguably the worst thing about the original. The reappearance of Amber’s friends (who I honestly did not realise had actual names in the first film) also added to the further cliché of the film. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding may not win many awards (or any awards) because of how terrible it really is- but the film is so terrible I’m absolutely sure I’m going to re-watch it at least another 10 times, and if a third film were to come out it would probably become my new tradition to hate/love binge re-watch it every year.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, A Review

SPOILER WARNING- THIS REVIEWS CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR FANTASTIC BEATS: CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD AND SEVERAL OTHER PLOT POINTS FROM THE HARRY POTTER UNIVERSE- READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

He is coming, but who will change the future?

In the ever expanding Harry Potter universe, the Fantastic Beast films have introduced fans to a much darker wizarding world than previously used to. Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald follows on from its previous film, taking place a few months later. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has received an official ban on international travel by the Ministry after the events of the first film. Visiting the Ministry, Newt’s brother Theseus (Callum Turner) and childhood friend Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz)– who are now engaged- encourage Newt to join them at the Ministry as an Auror to help join the fight in stopping Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), Newt  however refuses, claiming he doesn’t take sides.

Newt later meets up with Dumbledore (Jude Law), who asks for his help in locating Credence (Ezra Miller) who he has tracked down to somewhere in Paris. Credence is believed by some to be Leta’s long lost brother and the only one who can allegedly kill Dumbledore. Dumbledore himself can not move against Grindelwald and asks Newt to find Credence before anyone else can do him harm.

Later on at home, Newt is joined by a surprise visit from his friends from the first film Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol)– who are also now engaged. Newt is disappointed to learn that Tina (Katherine Waterson) has not travelled with the group and is also supposedly seeing someone else, he also learns Queenie has put a love spell on Jacob as he refused to marry her in fear of getting caught. This leads to a fight between the pair- resulting in Jacob accidently calling Queenie crazy and her dissaparating back to Paris to see Tina. Jacob and Newt decide to follow the pair to Paris- so they can reunite with their respective love interests and help track down Credence in the progress. 

Credence meanwhile, along with Nagini (Claudia Kim)- a Maledictus, who carries a blood-curse that will eventually turn her into a snake forever, are attempting to track down Credence’s birth mother in an attempt to find out who or what he really is. The pair return to his birth place however they meet only his nanny who admits to leaving him at the orphanage. Grindelwald later approaches Credence, promising him information on his family and birth if he joins his cause and meets him at a planned location. 

In Paris, Newt and Jacob track down Yusuf (William Nadylam), another wizard attempting to track down Credence, who has met with Tina previously. Yusuf leads the pair to Tina who he has locked up as he has made an unbreakable vow to kill Credence. The trio escape and Newt and Tina head to the Ministry to gather information on Credence whilst Jacob attempts to find Queenie. 

At the Ministry Newt and Tina search for documents revealing Credence’s identity, they are joined by Leta- leading them to the Lestrange family tomb. At the tomb the group are joined by Credence, Nagini and Yusuf where Leta reveals that Credence is not her brother and she in fact swapped her real brother with Credence when he was just a baby- leading to the other baby’s death. The group, now joined by Thesesus and the  Ministry then discover that Grindelwald is holding a rally in the tomb for his followers, with Queenie in the audience having been persuaded by Grindelwald to join his cause. As the rally comes to an end Grindelwald casts a circle of blue flame to divide his followers and his opposition- both Queenie and Credence cross the flames to join Grindelwald whilst the others attempt to hold him off. Leta sacrifices herself so everyone can escape- looking at both Newt and Theseus and shouting “I love you”  (I personally think she was speaking to Newt). The remaining heroes then return to Hogwarts to Dumbledore so they can continue the fight.

In the last scene Grindelwald and Queenie are seen comforting Credence with Grindelwald telling him he is apparently part of the Dumbledore family and he is in fact “Aurelius Dumbledore”

Before I watched Fantastic Beasts I saw that many other fans and reviewers had had mixed feelings and some where even disappointed with the film and honestly I can see why people think that. Whilst completely stunning in visual terms, alongside some great new characters which I will talk about later the film itself felt a bit… low stakes. The whole film was setting up the dangers of Grindelwald but nothing much actually happened. The two opposing groups rushed to find Credence and then fought over him- both hoping to win his loyalties, however once Credence actually chose a side the film had ended. Crimes of Grindelwald had a massive build up to absolutely nothing and was basically just setting up the nest three films in the franchise. Don’t get me wrong I massively enjoyed watching the film but wished we’d had some sort of pay off for watching. 

Character wise I really loved a lot of these new characters and also loved the old ones. However one of the bittersweet things about the Fantastic Beasts franchise is that because it’s set almost 80 years before the Harry Potter books/films there are a lot of plot points we know for certain will happen. Obviously we know that characters such as Dumbledore, Newt and Tina will not die as they make appearances or are referenced later on. Grindelwald also obviously doesn’t win because we’ve all seen the state of the wizarding world 80 years after Fantastic Beasts was set and its a much nicer place, however even though there are some things we know for sure will happen the film still manages to surprise. 

Leta Lestrange was easily my favourite performance of the film, Kravitz gave an amazingly complex performance as Leta and I was blown away. Despite her namesake Leta is a somewhat kind character, her friendship with Newt both in the present and shown through flashbacks were some of the best parts of the film. Just from watching trailers and her last name being “Lestrange” I fully expected Leta to be a full blown villain, but watching her sacrifice herself to save the others was so unexpected and so bittersweet. I had grown to love this charcter in only 2 hours and then she was gone.

Another character that surprised me was Claudia Kim as Nagini, when it was revealed who Kim was actually playing fans blew up with their reactions. Some were shocked at the fact Nagini was once human whilst others were sad that she was predetermined to be killed in the Harry Potter films. Knowing Nagini would ultimately become Voldemort’s most trusted pet made me expect her also to be a fully blown evil character. However like Leta, her friendship with Credence and her eventual loyalty to the heroes was a nice twist- however it only got me thinking why or how does Nagini turn from a hero to an avid follower of the dark lord- or does she even have a choice?

On a final note Queenie, one of my original favourites from the first film had a very unexpected journey in the sequel. Her initial love spelling of Jacob and eventual joining Grindelwald was a bizarre character move for her but in the end you realise all she wants is to be able to marry Jacob without judgement of fear- something the other side is promising her. Whether Queenie stays on the evil side or will eventually return to her sister and Newt is anyone’s guess but her role in the film franchise will certainly be an interesting one.