Between script pitches and camera setups, Julie hosts a film-school cohort party where she meets a mysterious man named Anthony. A few days later, Anthony invites Julie to a grand hotel and asks to stay with her for a few days. Thus begins Julie’s first serious love affair. Ignoring her friends and borrowing large amounts of money from her parents, Julie surrenders to the relationship and prioritizes Anthony’s needs.
Set in the ’80s and based on writer/director Joanna Hogg’s real-life experiences, The Souvenir elegantly elevates quotidian moments into a story of unforgettable love. The intensely naturalistic dialogue hints at the characters’ disquietude and vulnerability as they slowly unravel. Though the film features an outstanding supporting cast—including Tilda Swinton and Richard Ayoade—it’s Honor Swinton-Byrne’s breakout performance as Julie that embodies the film’s core: a woman grappling with separating fact from fiction as her ambitions are jeopardized by her first real romance.