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HBO has released the first teaser trailer for its newest high-profile limited series, “I Know This Much Is True.” starring Mark Ruffalo. The six-episode series boasts a stellar cast that includes Kathryn Hahn, Melissa Leo, Juliette Lewis, Archie Punjabi, Imogen Poots, and Rosie O’Donnell.
Aisling plays the young version of Kathryn Hahn’s character, Dessa Constantine.
The series is based on the bestselling novel by Wally Lamb, and was adapted for the screen by Derek Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine,” “The Place Beyond the Pines”) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love & Basketball,” “Beyond the Lights”). Cianfrance directs all six episodes as well. HBO will premiere “I Know This Much Is True” on April 27.
What you’ve seen her in: Franciosi’s breakout role was as Jon Snow’s mother, Lyanna Stark, in Game of Thrones. In 2019, she starred in Jennifer Kent’s brutal follow-up to The Babadook, The Nightingale, about a young widow seeking revenge in 19th century Australia.
What she’s got coming up: Franciosi has been cast in HBO’s adaptation of Wally Lamb’s 1998 novel, I Know This Much Is True, and is in pre-production for a Nora Fingscheidt-directed film co-starring Sandra Bullock and Viola Davis.
Aisling, Baykali and Sam are featured in Collider’s ‘best of the year’ by Matt Goldberg.
As 2019 winds to a close, we’ve had yet another great year of movies. If anyone tells you, “Movies aren’t good anymore,” all they’re telling you is, “I don’t watch many movies.” And beyond the movies themselves we were treated to a host of terrific performances, direction, characters, and more. When it comes time for the Oscar nominations to be announced on January 13th, there will be lots of arguing over snubs and surprises, and rightly so. Narrowing down my personal list was quite a task this year, and I’m sure you’ll disagree with some of these choices. However, I hope that if there’s a choice on here you haven’t seen, you’ll seek out the movie.
Please note that all runners up are listed in alphabetical order.
Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson / Red in Us
- Aisling Franciosi as Clare in The Nightingale
- Scarlett Johansson as Nicole Barber in Marriage Story
- Florence Pugh as Dani in Midsommar
- Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland in Judy
Best Supporting Actor
Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
- Alan Alda as Bert Spitz in Marriage Story
- Timothee Chalamet as Laurie in Little Women
- Baykali Ganambarr as Billy in The Nightingale
- Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino in The Irishman
Hawkins in The Nightingale (Sam Claflin)
- Capitalism, Parasite
- Financial Instruments, The Landromat
- Roger Ailes, Bombshell
- Sensei, The Art of Self-Defense
Sam Claflin is so recognizably terrifying in The Nightingale that I fear I’ll never be able to like him in another role ever again. In Jennifer Kent’s latest film, he is the personification of white male nationalism and the destruction it wreaks. There’s nothing good about Hawkins, but he is disturbingly human in how he feels entitled to a promotion and will take whatever he wants in order to get it. What makes Sam Claflin’s performance so smart is that he doesn’t try to add anything seductive to it. He doesn’t try to win you to Hawkins side like he’s the hero of his own story. He acts entirely in his own self-interest with no need for sympathy because he knows the world belongs to men like him. It’s chilling.
IRISH-Italian actress Aisling Franciosi was tipped by fashion bible Vogue as the breakout star of indy flick, The Nightingale earlier this year.
The 28-year-old- who had a two-minute part as a young Lyanna Stark in Game of Thrones – just received a Best Actress award for the same flick at the Australian Academy of Cinema and TV awards in Sydney.
Aisling was born in Dublin in 1991 and moved to Italy soon after that, but returned to Ireland four years later with her mum when her parents separated.
The talented actress studied French and Spanish in Trinity and then moved to New York in 2018 to work on HBO series, I Know This Much Is True.
New interview with Aisling for The Irish World.
You’ve seen her in The Fall, Jimmy’s Hall and more recently in Game of Thrones, actress Aisling Franciosi told David Hennessy why, when playing a survivor of rape in her starring role in The Nightingale, she felt a responsibility to those who have suffered sexual abuse in real life.
Irish actress Aisling Franciosi first came to people’s attention as the schoolgirl who fell under the spell of Jamie Dornan’s killer in The Fall. She has also acted for director Ken Loach in Jimmy’s Hall. More recently she played Lyanna Stark, the mother of Jon Snow in HBO’s huge fantasy series, Game of Thrones.
She continues to tackle serious themes in her first major big screen role, The Nightingale, in which she plays an Irish convict during Australia’s ‘Black War’ who seeks revenge for the murder of her family and her rape by British soldiers.
Aisling spoke about how she met with survivors of rape to help inform her performance and how she felt a responsibility to them while telling the story and set the record straight on mass audience walk outs in reaction to its violent scenes.
When The Nightingale screened at Sydney Film Festival last year, it was reported that masses walked out because they couldn’t handle the tale of rape and revenge. It was reported that the majority of the audience felt it was too much and left.
Aisling tells The Irish World that this story was misreported: “There were a couple of people who left. I think it was ten out of 900 or something like that. In the festival circuit it’s a very common thing for a million and one different reasons and a million and one kinds of film for people to leave a screening, so I think it must have been a slow news day and I think the reasons that they gave it were blown out of proportion.”
Set in 1825 in the penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land (which is now Tasmania), The Nightingale sees Aisling play Irish convict Clare who goes looking for revenge against the British officers who raped her and killed her husband and baby in front of her eyes. Looking for revenge, Clare follows her assailants through the wilderness with an Aboriginal man as her guide.
“Yes, the film has some very difficult scenes in it to watch but they are not in any way gratuitous, they are there for a reason and they’re shot in a very particular way. I don’t think the word is necessarily graphic, I think it’s more emotionally extremely confronting. Again most people took it through the movie, they didn’t leave.”
“Honestly I’ve been really pleasantly surprised in that the majority of people have responded really well to it. Obviously it’s a very confronting watch and people acknowledge that. I don’t think you can watch it without finding it quite confronting and definitely very thought-provoking.”
“A lot of people say to me that the film really stuck with them for days and they found themselves thinking about the topics and themes in it. That, to me, is a win because my dream and goal making films was to make work that makes people feel something and I definitely feel our film does that and it does it for all the right reasons.”
Aisling has been honoured with an AACTA (Australian equivalent of Oscars of BAFTAs) award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Clare.
“I obviously knew the scenes were going to be a lot but having spoken to Jen (Kent, writer and director), I just realised how intelligent a woman she is and how much thought she put in to this script and the years of research that went into it. I knew that we would be shooting it in a very particular way, the meaning and the message behind the scene and the reason for doing it was very, very clear to us. I wasn’t worried about it being gratuitous. I really don’t think that it is.”
Aisling will be familiar to many from her role in BBC’s The Fall where she played the young babysitter who fell very much under Jamie Dornan’s lead character’s spell. She also acted in Quirke with Gabriel Byrne, for Ken Loach in Jimmy’s Hall and played a huge role in Game of Thrones where, although she only appeared in two episodes, her appearance brought a revelation from the show’s back story.
Aisling wanted to portray her character realistically and met survivors of abuse to inform her portrayal of Clare.
“I felt a massive, massive sense of responsibility not just because I wanted to tell the story of survivors from the get go but during my time doing research I met with real victims and people were extremely generous in sharing their trauma with me in order to get to a place of playing this role as authentically as I could. I really felt the weight of responsibility of telling this story the right way, of filming these scenes the right way and honouring their generosity.
“We had both sides of the reaction spectrum in that we had some survivors and victims of abuse saying that they just found it too much which is completely understandable, but the good side of it is we also had, in particular, women come up to us and say, ‘Thank you for showing the PTSD you have to deal with after an event like this’.
“I had one woman come up to me in LA and say to me, ‘As a victim of sexual violence, I felt understood watching this film’. So there are pretty powerful reactions and that’s what I love about cinema that tries to be honest and bold is that it provokes very, very different reactions and very different reactions provoke conversation and that’s the most important thing.
“When I was reading the script, the main thing that stood out to me was it felt like more than an entertainment piece. Some film and TV is made just purely for entertainment and that’s fine and then there are others that I think do something more. I think that was the feeling I got when I read the script the first time. I thought, ‘Wow, this script is a really powerful story and actually it feels like it is trying to be more’.”
The film tries to accurately represent what a victim really goes through in the days after such an attack so Clare’s ordeal is not over with the end of the attack or even the end of the film.
“The rape was not just a catalyst for the story. What Clare goes through is what a lot of women go through, convicts and the Aboriginal women at that time, and many women continue to be subjected to this kind of abuse even today. This is a reality of being a woman at that time and so for us to tell a story about a female convict in Australia at that time and to set it during what was known as ‘the Black War’ (Struggle between British colonists and Aboriginal Australians in Tasmania in the years 1820- 1832), you can’t possibly tell those stories without honouring the whole truth of them. Unfortunately one of the awful truths that they had to endure was this kind of sexual abuse and assault and violence.
“It was never going to be there as just an element of drama. Jen and I were very clear on it needing to be from the female perspective, for it to be based purely on the emotional damage that violence causes. There’s no skin, there’s no nudity, there are no two bodies in frame, it’s all focused on faces and from the female’s perspective, from Clare’s perspective. It’s important that we see these horrific crimes and acts of pure violence are not just something being done to a body, they are something being done to a human being and the emotional fallout from that is devastating.
“There is so much violence on TV and film and we become incredibly desensitised to it because you can frequently distance yourself from it or disengage from it in some way whether because it’s in a comical setting or if it’s set in some fantastical land or because you don’t get to connect with the victim. In ours we wanted to make sure that you connect with your victim, you see the emotional impact and that you understand truthfully how horrific violence is. It’s not something that should be there just for entertainment.
“If we really want to make progress, we have to avoid cyclical violence: This idea of an eye for an eye. The resilience of Clare was just something that really struck me as well.
“Of course as well looking at how horrific colonialism is and how it strips tribes, people of their identity and how destructive and powerfully dehumanising it can be. Obviously it’s something that happened then, it’s something that is still happening now. I was fascinated by these questions through Clare’s story.”
The Nightingale is available on Apple TV, iTunes, Amazon Video, Sky Store, Virgin Movies, Google Play, Youtube Movies, Rakuten TV, Talk Talk TV, BT TV Store, Playstation Store, Microsoft Store, Curzon Home Cinema.
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you may know her better as Lyanna Stark. Or maybe you recognise her from the BBC’s hugely popular The Fall? But in 2020, there will be no mistaking this Irish-Italian actress as she’s set for international success with a role in Sandra Bullock’s upcoming, yet-to-be-titled Netflix movie, alongside Viola Davis and Rob Morgan.
Franciosi has also got a spot on the upcoming BBC One miniseries, Black Narcissus, alongside Gemma Arterton and Jim Broadbent, which airs later in 2020, as well as HBO’s I Know This Much Is True, starring Mark Ruffalo.
19. Aisling Franciosi (The Nightingale)
Aisling Franciosi’s Clare faces a litany of unspeakable atrocities in the opening minutes of Jennifer Kent’s punishing 19th century excoriation, The Nightingale, but none is worse in her eyes than being compared to her reluctant Aboriginal companion, Billy (Baykali Ganambarr, who could have also made this list). That precarious balance of ingrained bigotry and murderous rage lays on the shoulders of Franciosi’s performance as she needs to realize this journey of retribution and enlightenment without ever rendering Clare’s dramatic arc as false sentiment or writerly contrivance. Kent’s touch is intentionally heavy, but Franciosi never bears the psychological weight as a cross to bear. Rather, it’s a performance of exploration and resistance, of inching back against a world that only has a vested interest in the existence of the falsely chosen. – Michael S.
Honorable Mentions: This feature could have been, and nearly was, twice as long. Here are just a few of the year’s great performances that got benched at the very last minute because life is short and this role call of greatness is already too long: Ashton Sanders in “Native Son“; George McKay in “1917“; Jonathan Pryce in “The Two Popes“; Sofia Boutella in “Climax“; Robert Pattinson in “High Life” and “The Lighthouse“; Franz Rogowski in “Transit“; Noah Jupe in “Honey Boy“; Jonathan Majors in “The Last Black Man in San Francisco“; Aisling Franciosi in “The Nightingale“; Marianne Jean-Baptiste in “In Fabric“; August Diehl in “A Hidden Life“; and Gugu Mbatha Raw in “Fast Color.” Apologies to all of the above for the outrageous, undeserved snub, and thanks for some of the most moving and excellent performances of the year.
13. The Nightingale
48. The Nightingale
Jennifer Kent follows up The Babadook with some real-life monsters: the men who ran Tasmania’s penal colonies in the 1820s – one of whom gets some grisly, if just, comeuppance in this gothic thriller.
4. The Nightingale
Ok, let’s get something out of the way right up front – The Nightingale is easily the darkest film I saw this year, and might be one of the darkest I’ve ever seen. Director Jennifer Kent’s follow-up to the cult hit The Babadook is a grim period revenge drama set in 19th century Tasmania (then Van Diemen’s Land), which was a British-occupied penal colony at the time. It stars Aisling Franciosi as Clare Carroll, an Irish convict working as a servant for the violent Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin). After a series of brutal events, Hawkins and his men depart for another post. Carol enlists the aid of an Aboriginal guide named Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) to track them down and kill them.
Kent’s film is bleak but gorgeously photographed, with excellent performances and particularly strong chemistry between Franciosi and Ganambarr. The film’s themes of systematic oppression and dehumanization are present in virtually every scene, predominantly in the casual cruelty inflicted with a grotesque air of entitlement by the fiendishly odious Hawkins and his men. Claflin’s performance would come across as almost cartoonishly evil if the horrors of colonialism weren’t so thoroughly documented. Kent rarely gives us a chance to breathe, but the few reprieves she does allow are profound moments of quiet dignity. It is not a film for everyone, but true to its title, The Nightingale is a beautiful song sung in the dark.
11. The Nightingale
Jennifer Kent‘s thunderous follow-up to The Babadook stars Aisling Franciosi as an imprisoned, abused Irish convict who sets out into the wilderness of 1825 Australia seeking vengeance. To be clear: The Nightingale is not a revenge fantasy; it’s a moral, humane exploration of themes that aren’t restricted to any particular time and place. It’s not easy viewing—it’s as much a series of events you experience as it is a movie you watch—but storytelling this clear-eyed and urgent doesn’t come around all that often, and demands to be seen. Kent does not make compromises in telling challenging, impactful stories. She’s one of the most exciting filmmaking talents around right now.
16. The Nightingale (Metascore: 77)
10. The Nightingale
Jennifer Kent’s harrowing film about a young Irish woman on a quest for revenge in 1825 Tasmania contains one of the most shocking depictions of violence I’ve ever seen — so disturbing that I found myself looking for the door — and yet her film, which wants the viewer to be challenged by its violence, hate and ultimately empathy, is one that not only provokes, but sticks.
10. The Nightingale
91. The Nightingale
Critics Consensus: The Nightingale definitely isn’t for all tastes, but writer-director Jennifer Kent taps into a rich vein of palpable rage to tell a war story that leaves a bruising impact.
19. The Nightingale
Director: Jennifer Kent
If you’re feeling at all fragile, do not watch this movie. Perhaps the worst hangover film you could possibly choose, The Nightingale revolves around the most shocking sequence you’ll see on screen this year. Without spoiling what happens too much, rape, murder and infanticide all feature. Later, the victim of these crimes, a young Irish convict woman called Clare (Aisling Franciosi), treks across the 19th Century Tasmanian wilderness in pursuit of her tormentor – a British Army officer (Sam Claflin) with the meanest of mean streaks. Definitely the most divisive film on this list, The Nightingale won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but stick with it and there’s a gripping historical revenge thriller to be discovered.
Best moment: The scene where Hawkins (Claflin) takes his anger out on Clare isn’t enjoyable, but it’s certainly memorable. Some won’t be able to watch, but if you do, the images will be seared onto your brain for days afterwards. AF
Like this, try this: The Babadook, Revenge
03. The Nightingale
It’s little wonder people stormed out of The Nightingale: the first 20 minutes of Jennifer Kent’s colonial-era revenge tale are among the most harrowing you will ever see on screen, featuring degradation, rape and murder. Not that it’s exactly sunny after that, with Irish convict Clare (Aisling Franciosi) setting out to track the perpetrators of this violence with the aid of a reluctant Aboriginal tracker (Baykali Ganambarr). Set in 1825 Tasmania, this is an utterly unflinching look at white Australia’s origin story, in which dispossession, violence and class provide the parchment on which the myth of the lucky country is writ. Yes it’s hard to watch, but it’s the most honest and important Australian film in years – and a cracking thriller to boot. KQ
13. The Nightingale
Australian director Jennifer Kent’s brutal story of revenge set in a 19th-century Tasmanian penal colony — in which a female Irish indentured servant and an Aboriginal man track down her English “owner” who killed both her husband and child and raped her — is not an easy watch, especially in its first half-hour. But Kent’s mastery of cinematic craft and storytelling (which she had showed off previously with “The Babadook”) doesn’t allow her to just wallow in gore. It doesn’t end as well as it starts but it’s still a gut-punch.
16. The Nightingale
Much like Eggers coming off THE WITCH and into THE LIGHTHOUSE, a lot of eyes were on Jennifer Kent for her post-BABADOOK feature, THE NIGHTENGALE. Tackling a horror of a very different sort, her new movie is set in 1825 and centers on a young woman, Clare, (Aisling Franciosi) who is sexually assaulted and made to watch her husband and baby killed. Soon after, she picks herself back up and heads onto the road to hunt down the men who took away everything from her (Sam Claflin, Damon Herriman). Showing and addressing rape in the way Kent does is no easy maneuver, but unlike exploitation movies of the past, she doesn’t revel in the horror, but uses it as a springboard to tell a story of revenge and discovering what kind of person you really are after a tragedy occurs. Laced in is an examination of social and racial issues prevalent in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) at the time, with an Aboriginal man named “Billy” (Baykali Ganambarr) helping her track them down. Long, dour, violent, difficult to watch but emotionally rewarding in the end, THE NIGHTENGALE finds Kent pushing herself through challenging material that will no doubt put many at an unease they may never get over, but she comes out the other end an even more mature director. Fransciosi should also be in awards talk for her role, giving a powerhouse performance that puts her through unbelievable ringers. Ganambarr, Claflin, and Herriman are also great in the movie, which no doubt thanks to the subject matter didn’t even make $1 million by the end of its limited theatrical run, despite positive buzz out of Sundance. It’s a rough movie, to be sure, but by the end, the sheer emotional power of it rises well above the harder material.
06. The Nightingale
The Babadook’s Jennifer Kent showed her versatility outside the horror genre with this weighty, unwavering story of revenge for a truly heinous crime in 19th century Tasmania. Aisling Franciosi is riveting in the lead role and Sam Claflin dares to be truly repugnant, but it’s Baykali Ganambarr as Aboriginal tracker Billy who is the heart of the film.