Francesca Steele

A meditation on everyday life: Early Morning Riser, by Katherine Heiny, reviewed

1 May 2021 9:00 am

There were many moments in Early Morning Riser that made me laugh out loud in recognition. An episode where the…

Wistful thinking: Mr Wilder & Me, by Jonathan Coe, reviewed

31 October 2020 9:00 am

Mr Wilder & Me is not in any way a state- of-the-nation novel — and thank goodness. Brilliant as Jonathan…

Primal longing: Blue Ticket, by Sophie Macintosh, reviewed

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Sophie Macintosh’s Blue Ticket is not classic feminist dystopia. Yes, it is concerned with legislated fertility, a world where women’s…

The cure becomes the problem: The Seduction, by Joanna Briscoe, reviewed

13 June 2020 9:00 am

Beth, the protagonist of Joanna Briscoe’s The Seduction, reminded me of Clare in Tessa Hadley’s debut, Accidents in the Home.…

What is driving the rise in extreme cinema?

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Film-makers are increasingly turning to the violent, provocatively slow or viscerally repulsive.What is driving this rise in extreme cinema? asks Francesca Steele

Jan Morris, at 93, meditates on what it means to be old

21 March 2020 9:00 am

‘I’m getting rather tired of me,’ begins Jan Morris in one of the diary entries in Thinking Again, almost certainly…

Two wide-ranging collections of short stories by and about women

19 October 2019 9:00 am

Zadie Smith’s first collection of short stories shows that she can pack all the astute social commentary of her novels…

A novel take on the Western: Inland, by Téa Obreht, reviewed

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Téa Obreht’s second novel is an expansive and ambitious subversion of Western tropes, set in fin de siècle America. We…

Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot

The death of cosy Christie

4 November 2017 9:00 am

This is not Midsomer Murders. The new film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is thick with…

Downton Abbey on skis: Eddie the Eagle reviewed

2 April 2016 9:00 am

I once forced some pals on a skiing holiday to spend an afternoon off the slopes watching Chalet Girl. Suffice…

Owen Wilson as Hansel, Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander and Penélope Cruz as Valentina Valencia

What on earth was Ben Stiller thinking? Zoolander 2 reviewed

13 February 2016 9:00 am

‘I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking,’ said a pouty Derek Zoolander…

The ascent of man: Michael Kelly as Jon Krakauer

All about the climb (and little else): Everest reviewed

19 September 2015 8:00 am

‘Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side,’ sang Miley Cyrus. ‘It’s the climb.’ She’s not usually a musician to…

Portrait of a director: Robert Altman

I always think I'm going to hate Baumbach's films and never do: While We're Young reviewed

4 April 2015 9:00 am

Every time I sit down to a Noah Baumbach film I think I’m going to hate it, but I never…

The Boy Next Door reviewed: a terrible new J-Lo movie that's disturbingly enjoyable

28 February 2015 9:00 am

Stateside critics, who panned Jennifer Lopez’s new film The Boy Next Door on its US release last month, may be…

Ferdinand Kingsley

Ferdinand Kingsley interview: 'Yeah, but mum's dad was totally bald too!'

19 April 2014 9:00 am

Francesca Steele talks to Ferdinand Kingsley about his family and his future

The Venice Film Festival from your desk

31 August 2013 9:00 am

Venice may be the oldest film festival in the world but it is still breaking new ground. This week film-lovers…

Punchdrunk’s bizarre spectacle

3 August 2013 9:00 am

Standing enthusiastically by as a naked man writhes in agony might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But this is…