I had to research this post by checking in WP admin because everything in my mind is one gigantic blur. This probably has more to do with my age and general spaciness than the plague though…
Anyway, Dr Tanya, here are 5 movies/shows I enjoyed this year. Mostly I am copypasta-ing from prior posts. 🤩
1. The Duchess. This British drama starring Kiera Knightly and Ralph Fiennes is directed by Saul Dibb. It’s based on the married life of a real person, Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire. Amanda Foreman wrote the biography upon which the movie is based. Michael O’Connor won the Academy Award for Best Costume ~ and the costumes are stunning. This is not a romance novel come to life, though it appears to begin as one. As time goes on, I keep hoping for happily ever after for the Duchess, but happiness seems to elude her at every turn. She has a wealthy and protected life, with every whim indulged, and we don’t dive into the problems of ordinary Englishmen in this film… one ought to be aware. But it is also true, and this is brought home to us a few times, that Georgiana’s life of luxury could be taken away at any point because her husband holds the key to everything. He gets to have a lover (as many as he pleases) when bored with marriage; she does not. Etc. There is criticism that the film is slow-moving, which I suppose it is, but I enjoyed it very much.
But if I want a story about a duke who is not only handsome and powerful but also a good lover/husband, I will have to read a Regency…
2. Curb Your Enthusiasm. Completely forgot that S10 had come on, yayyy! Oh, this is a treat. Larry is back in top neurotic, cranky form, and each episode is hilarious in and of itself, yet they’re all loosely connected too. What I love about Curb is they aren’t afraid to be absolutely outrageous to the extreme. You simply can’t predict the ridiculousness that will saturate the writing and dialogue. My favorite may have been Adolph the dog, but it’s really hard to choose. I highly recommend this to anyone with a sense of the absurd (and if you don’t mind liberal use of the F-word).
3. Life Itself. This movie killed me. I cried all the way through ~ I don’t mean a single elegant tear rolled down my cheek… no, I literally sobbed. Maybe I should have saved it for a less fragile time when my nerves weren’t so jangled up already. But too late! What’s weird is that some days, for hours and hours, I feel almost numb from this isolation. I just freaking persevere. Hey, it’s mid-April. We’re doing it. We’re getting through it. Maybe things, for most of us, will be all right. I don’t know. Yet, I started watching this film and… blammo!
It’s hard to begin talking about Life Itself without giving anything away. The whole thing is about plot twists. It’s a writer’s movie, which explains why critics hated it. They always scorn writers’ movies. They despised Alex & Emma, which was clever and charming. Life Itself is primarily about unreliable narration. How do you know what really happened? The story is as only as true as the memory of the storyteller. When Will is telling Abby’s story to Cait, we aren’t sure what to believe. Can we trust Will when we know he’s mentally ill? Even if he is relaying the story accurately, what about Abby? How do we know she told the truth to Will? I find these sorts of dilemmas fascinating.
Life Itself is about stories layered within stories and on top of stories ~ it is a tragic yet beautiful layer cake of stories. It’s full of despair, yet love shines through too. You think you can’t bear any more and then… it’s good again. I loved this movie so much I wanted to stay up forever and write my own stories. That’s how I feel when I watch or read something that resonates with me on a deep emotional level.
Mmm, I love layers…
4. Of course I watched Chicago again this year! It’s one of my all-time faves. I adore Catherine Zeta Jones in anything, and this whole movie is just so freaking excellent. Who knew Richard Gere could sing? Right? What’s interesting is I can’t stand Renee Zellweger in anything else. Nothing. She’s so annoying. But this I love. And Queen Latifah knocks it out of the park. Stellar casting! 🤩
5. Mamma Mia (1 and 2… cheating lol). Love these two musicals! So much fun. The fact that they made two movies out of ABBA songs is amazing. They should do this with other bands I like, such as Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles. Anyway, the first one is about 20 year old Sophie trying to figure out which one of 3 men is her bio-dad. She feels the need to do this before she gets married. Her mom Donna (Meryl Streep!) is not a fan of the plan, especially when Sophie invites all three possibilities to Donna’s hotel right before the wedding. Hijinks ensue!
The second movie is Donna’s backstory of how she, an English girl, ended up owning a hotel on this obscure little Greek island. Young Donna is played by Lily James who is so great. We meet everyone else’s younger selves too and it’s all totally hilarious. If you like pure silliness, I highly recommend both.
And that’s a wrap!
PS: I also enjoyed Vivarium, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (have seen it multiple times), Dear Viola, Last Christmas, That Thing You Do, etc.
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