The Reel Review


This found footage drama is about two sisters in World War II-era England who make a home video of themselves inventing a machine that intercepts radio and television broadcasts from the future. At first, they are amused by their discoveries of modern-day pop culture, but with Nazi Germany approaching, they decide to use their invention, named LOLA, to change the course of history – with disastrous results. Emma Appleton (Traitors, The Witcher) and Stefanie Martini (Prime Suspect: Tennison) star in this period sci-fi/war thriller.

Emma Appleton and Stefanie Martini in LOLA

While the age-old paradox of time travel is still at the heart of this inventive film debut from writer/director Andrew Legge, his intriguing take on the found footage aspect of it is a clever one, effectively incorporating period black and white “home videos” with actual war-era footage to create a seamless, and compelling premise. Seeing the WWII-era sisters – political polar opposites – discover David Bowie, Bob Dylan and The Kinks is pretty trippy. The subsequent erasure of one of them from history due to the sisters’ well-intended efforts is horrifying.

Stefanie Martini and Emma Appleton in LOLA

The problem with LOLA is an overly complicated story that crashes under the weight of its twisty movie within a movie format. Even with a runtime of just 79 minutes, LOLA still feels frustratingly and tediously long, with a jarring tonal shift between its two halves. LOLA is an incredibly clever idea that fails to fully explore its heady premise, ultimately falling flat.


LOLA writer/director Andrew Legge at the October 2022 55th Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival in Sitges, Spain.

• Irish writer/director Andrew Legge says he based the two sisters in his film on the aristocratic, self-educated Mitford sisters, whose ideological persuasions in the early 1900s ranged wildly from fascism/Nazism to communism and socialism. One sister, Unity Mitford, shot herself in the head in 1938 in a failed suicide attempt after she lost Adolf Hilter to Eva Braun.

LOLA was shot in Ireland on 16mm and 35mm film during the COVID-19 pandemic using antique cameras and period lenses to give the film its dated appearance. Much of the film was home processed using a Soviet-era 16mm developing tank.

• Actress Stefanie Martini actually shot the home video scenes that were filmed by her character, captured from her character’s perspective.


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