The Sunday Movie Review – this movie caught me right out of left field. When I saw that The Father was released on Netflix starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman (The Crown), I couldn’t wait to watch it. I’ll also add that I had to put on my big girl pants to watch this heart grabbing story, but felt compelled to watch it, accompanied by a box of tissues.
A masterful performance by Anthony Hopkins in a heartwrenching role of The Father of Anne, played by Olivia Coleman.
My 5 Star Review:
This powerful story takes place in London where Anne has already taken in her father after realizing he shouldn’t be living on his own any longer, despite his stubborness. But Anthony (real name and movie name) still comes across as witty and intelligent – until he drifts into a lost person.
This is a heartbreaking character study movie, so don’t be looking for big plots and action. The premise is real and frightening and Hopkins gives the performance of his lifetime portraying a father with dementia. We get an internal look as we stand outside this box of grief and fear. The grief is what we feel from what we witness as this man continues to go back and forth from reality to his lost world of dementia and the grief we feel for his daughter Anne who remains compassionate, despite her moments of wanting to throw up her hands.
We take in the moments where Anthony’s fits of anger strike because his confusion annoys even himself. His verbal distaste for going into a home when suggested by Anne so she can take her opportunity to move to Paris, will have you, tugging at your own heartstrings.
The movie contains mostly dialogue and will have us the viewers just as confused as Anthony at some points as he trys to decipher the reality from his own dementia. The ending will rip what’s left of your heart out with Anthony’s vulnerability.
This movie portrays the brutal and raw realism of dementia, how one lives within himself with it and how those who are the caregivers live a living grief.
Most heartwrenching quote by Hopkins as he questions his own sanity:
Having just scared off his recent caregiver, Anthony, an ailing, octogenarian Londoner gradually succumbing to dementia, feels abandoned when concerned Anne, his daughter, tells him she’s moving to Paris. Confused and upset, against the backdrop of a warped perspective and his rapid, heart-rending mental decline, Anthony is starting to lose his grip on reality, struggling to navigate the opaque landscape of present and past. Now, as faded memories and glimpses of lucidity trigger sudden mood swings, dear ones, Anthony’s surroundings, and even time itself become distorted. Why has his younger daughter stopped visiting? Who are the strangers that burst in on Anthony?—Nick Riganas
A fantastic half hour interview with Sir Anthony Hopkins on the making of this film, how he felt in the role and how he prepared for it. Note: He played a man his own age of 84.
Sunday Movie Review – Nomadland with Frances McDormand.
I often watch movies or series that deal with the human condition. This movie was a perfect study specimen. Frances McDormand plays Fern, a woman whose life has been uprooted after the death of her husband and the loss of her home due to the Great Recession. Strength of character is what captures my attention, and in this movie, McDormand proves she’s worthy of all the accolades this film received.
A somewhat melancholy and disturbing movie, but a good educational watch. Frances McDormand as Fern is just one of the ‘victims’ caught up in the carnage in 2011 after the financial crash when many Americans lost their homes. Fern becomes a van-dwelling woman in her 60s who leaves her town of Empire, Nevada, where her and her husband had lived and worked. He died, and the plant shut down. And with no insurance and not enough income to live on, she was a senior, forced to leave the home she could no longer afford to keep.
Fern ventured out of her company town in rural Nevada in her van to explore a life outside of conventional society – a modern day nomad. As it turned out, many other seniors did the same thing after that crisis. Fern packed all she could into her white van and traveled cross country to various RV parks on her journey across America to discover where she should plant herself and call home. Along the way she does various odd jobs to make a paycheck, quite a few of them as temporary warehouse worker for Amazon, and makes friends like herself along the way. It’s the stories told by some of these people that will take us in.
This movie features real people portraying themselves as some of the nomads in the film. And their real names were listed in the credits. Three people in particular became Fern’s mentors, as they knew the lifestyle well – Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells were Fern’s mentors and comrades through her exploration driving through the American West. Besides McDormand playing Fern and David Strathairn playing Dave, most of the cast were real RVers.
Quote from Bob: “One of the things I love most about this life is that there’s no final goodbye. You know, I’ve met hundreds of people out here and I don’t ever say a final goodbye. I always just say, I’ll see you down the road. And I do. And whether it’s a month, or a year, or sometimes years, I see them again.”
Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells were Fern’s mentors (and essentially, Frances McDormand’s) and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.” The IMDB movie reviewer sight quotes the movie’s description, ” A woman in her sixties, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.”
The inspiration for Chloé Zhao’s celebrated film starring Frances McDormand, winner of the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress
March and April pick for the PBS Newshour-New York Times “Now Read This” Book Club
New York Times bestseller
“People who thought the 2008 financial collapse was over a long time ago need to meet the people Jessica Bruder got to know in this scorching, beautifully written, vivid, disturbing (and occasionally wryly funny) book.” —Rebecca Solnit
The movie is dubbed as ‘Surviving America in the 21st century’.
After movie credits stated: ‘Dedicated to those who had to depart.’
The movie won a few academy awards, three of which were to McDormand’s credit – Best Actor, Best Producer (McDormand also produced it), and Best Picture.
Other awards the movie took:
American Film Institute Awards February 26, 2021. Won.
American Film Institute Awards February 26, 2021. Won.
The Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival
People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival
The original book was written as an investigative look at what happened after the carnage of the 2008 financial crisis, by Jessica Bruder, garnering almost 7000 reviews. It’s now on my reading list:
From the beet fields of North Dakota to the National Forest campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that social security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, forming a growing community of nomads.
On frequently traveled routes between seasonal jobs, Jessica Bruder meets people from all walks of life: a former professor, a McDonald’s vice president, a minister, a college administrator, and a motorcycle cop, among many others—including her irrepressible protagonist, a onetime cocktail waitress, Home Depot clerk, and general contractor named Linda May.
In a secondhand vehicle she christens “Van Halen,” Bruder hits the road to get to know her subjects more intimately. Accompanying Linda May and others from campground toilet cleaning to warehouse product scanning to desert reunions, then moving on to the dangerous work of beet harvesting, Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy—one that foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, she celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these quintessential Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive. Like Linda May, who dreams of finding land on which to build her own sustainable “Earthship” home, they have not given up hope.
Has anyone here seen the movie or read the book yet? What did you think?
Welcome to my Sunday Movie Review. I thought I’d share this movie because despite the ‘war’ content, which I always cover my eyes when I see violence or blood, like a gag reflex, I loved the message and the compassion of Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, whom I’ve never heard of, but wow, this guy can steal your empathy in Hacksaw Ridge. He almost reminds me of a young Sean Penn?? I had this review in draft for when I didn’t have a book review to share, and I managed a few stolen moments to edit and post here for your enjoyment.
A WWII true story about the unlikeliest hero, Desmond Doss who enlisted to save lives, not kill them.
This movie from 2016, was a based on a true story about a man who enlisted himself to join the fight in WWII. He grew up in Virginia under the belt of his abusive father and God-loving mother. But Doss is a compassionate soul who when he had the chance to kill his father after near beating his mother to death, he couldn’t. The story is about a man who wanted to do something for his country but would not participate in violence and only wanted to be a medic – who turned into a hero.
Desmond Doss grew up and was known as a ‘conscientious objector‘ who desperately wanted to serve in WWII as a medic. The problem was he refused to carry or even touch a gun. He was abused by the court martial sentence, but he stood his ground. He made clear he wanted to serve his country by saving lives, not killing them.
His life in the army was tough as at first he took a lot of teasing for his stance. There’s a beautiful love story in this movie too, despite the fact that much of the movie was war footage in the battle at Okinawa, which of course was the main theme of the story about how Doss came to be a respected medic and eventually receiving a gold medal of honor for saving 75 lives in that gruesome battle. Too be honest, despite the gore and the pain I feel when I see the injured, and despite the fact that the theme was about the ugly war, this guy had me swallowing my heart through his rescues that I had to peel my hands away from my eyes to make sure he lived. Being that it was a true story and all I’d read was he’d received the gold medal for his heroic rescues, I wasn’t sure if he received the medal as a survivor or posthumously. And there, I will leave you hanging to find out for yourselves.
Check out this gripping trailer. It pretty much highlights what I highlighted in my review. Lol, maybe I’m in the wrong business? I love reviewing movies, especially the ones that grab my heart and require Kleenex.
I always like to look at book reviews for a movie after I’ve watched, to see what people got from the book to discover which was better. Most times, the book is better because, after all, it was good enough to make into a movie but then gets rewritten in script form where time is taken into consideration, so naturally, some things are left out. But I have seen some fine movies in my time that the book somewhat disappointed.
I dug around Amazon to look for this book and I saw a few. But I was searching for the original author’s book and I came across this comment in a review for a book version that is an abridged version,
“Redemption at Hacksaw Ridge (hardback) is a much expanded, reedited edition of the original The Unlikeliest Hero, which went out of print in 1967. The new edition contains nearly three times as many pictures, a new Foreword, and Epilogue.”
I found the book on Amazon:
Have any of you seen this movie or read the book? If you like hero stories about survival, standing your ground for your beliefs, you will surely love this movie.
My Sunday Movie Review is for The Celestine Prophecy. This was a book recommended to me by a friend more than ten years ago, and I still never got to it. James Redfield wrote both, the book and the screenplay for this New Age fictional story about synchronocities that lead us to where we need to be and to the people we meet throughout life for reasons.
“Look not from the mind, but from the soul. For the life that is coming, is already before us, waiting to open the world. Just look more closely.” ~ from The First Insight
Disillusioned and temporarily rudderless, John Woodson is about to experience a dramatic and profound metamorphosis. Through a mysterious set of coincidences, he finds himself on an adventure to Peru in search of ancient scrolls, known as the Celestine Prophecy. The prophecy and its nine key insights, predict a new awakening that redefines human life and provides a glimpse into a completely spiritual culture on earth. Resistant at first, skeptical and unsure, John finds that each step he takes, each person he encounters leads him to a new awakening. It is only in this letting go that he finds his destiny and comes to understand the meaning that had escaped him when his adventure began.
“This film reminds me how to take care of my energy and be aware of others energies and the importance of being around places and people that are good for our souls. ”
“If for no other reason watching this movie can show how people can improve their lives by just how they treat each other.”
Blurb for the book:
The #1 bestselling phenomenon with millions of copies sold around the world — now with a guide to creating your own Celestine Prophecy experience.
You have never read a book like this before–a book that comes along once in a lifetime to change lives forever.
In the rain forests of Peru, an ancient manuscript has been discovered. Within its pages are 9 key insights into life itself — insights each human being is predicted to grasp sequentially; one insight, then another, as we move toward a completely spiritual culture on Earth.
Drawing on ancient wisdom, it tells you how to make connections among the events happening in your life right now and lets you see what is going to happen to you in the years to come. The story it tells is a gripping one of adventure and discovery, but it is also a guidebook that has the power to crystallize your perceptions of why you are where you are in life and to direct your steps with a new energy and optimism as you head into tomorrow.
Praise for The Celestine Prophecy “A gripping adventure story filled with intrigue, suspense, and spiritual revelations.” – Commonwealth Journal
“A spiritual classic…a book to read and reread, to cherish, and to give to friends.” – Joan Borysenko, PhD, author of Fire in the Soul
“In his inimitable style of great storytelling, Redfield opens us up to a world of insight, inspiration, synchronicity, and power.” – Deepak Chopra
My 5 Star Review:
This book was originally written in 1993 and revised in 2006. John goes off to Peru and learns the way of the world from an ancient manuscript rumored to reveal the future of mankind. The energies we exchange with each other are the catalysts of what transforms human society.
Chaos in the world will change us and have us look at everything differently – a prediction for our modern times. John, newly fired from his teaching job, learns about the secret scrolls of Peru, and in a quest for knowledge, he goes there in search of a priest who knows about the scrolls, which have been stolen. There are many messages interwoven in this spiritual, fictional story. An insightful tale told through story encompassing, coincidence, how people we meet, even for an instant, seem to play an integral part of foreshadowing us into another event of life. Other insights on how opening ourselves enables us to receive, our purpose for being, staying alert to signs, how giving connects us in ways we never realized, and that things are not always as they seem.
This movie is inspirational and I think if everyone watched it, the world would be a better place.
Welcome to the Sunday Movie Review. I’d recently read a fantastic review for the book, The Hate U Give, by an author friend and had added the book to my TBR, but as it turned out, I found the movie on HBO and was compelled to watch it. The book was published in 2017 and with the escalating systemic racism in the US, the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality protests that have ballooned even louder since then make this book a compelling read.
Below, I’ve shared the book and blurb, but for those interested in watching and don’t subscribe to HBO, this movie is also available on Amazon Prime.
8 starred reviews ∙ Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best ∙ William C. Morris Award Winner ∙ National Book Award Longlist ∙ Printz Honor Book ∙ Coretta Scott King Honor Book ∙ #1 New York Times Bestseller!
“Absolutely riveting!” —Jason Reynolds
“Stunning.” —John Green
“This story is necessary. This story is important.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“A marvel of verisimilitude.” —Booklist (starred review)
“A powerful, in-your-face novel.” —Horn Book (starred review)
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
My 5 Star Review:
With almost 7000 reviews and a full 5-star rating, it isn’t difficult to think how powerful this story is. With the current climate in the US and racial inequality, the story of the wrongful murder of Khalil takes us into the world of what it’s like to be a black person living in these volatile times. I will note, I’ve read several reviews about this story before writing my review and was stunned to actually see some 1 star reviews, which tells me a lot about how racism is alive and well.
This story is a powerful telling by the central teenage character – Starr Carter. The movie begins with Starr and her two younger brothers sitting at the kitchen table with their parents and her father giving a lecture to his young children, educating them on how to behave in society – mainly, when faced with police in possible confrontations. Father demonstrates as he tells his children – if you are stopped by police, always remember to show your hands, as he presses his own hands firmly on the table for demonstration.
Starr grows up in a poor black neighborhood, and through the movie as she narrates, informs us that where she lives everyone is poor, offering no opportunity for work, explaining why so many turn to drug-dealing and crime, for many the only way to survive. Starr struggles with where she fits in society as her parents sent her to a better off preppy high school rather than the hometown high school where Starr tells us there’s nothing in those high schools for advancement other than a life leading to crime and getting pregnant.
Starr struggles with her black identity in a mostly white school and with a white boyfriend. At first she’s embarrassed to let her boyfriend Chris know where she lives, but as the movie progresses, that all changes once Khalil, Starr’s best friend from childhood, is murdered by a policeman right in front of her. Chris must first face acceptance by Starr’s dad, Maverick, and as Chris proves himself worthy of Maverick’s daughter, we can’t help but love his character.
Starr struggles with her blackness and her white world. At school she’s always leery of others the way they judge her as she struggles with fitting in and questioning if her best white girlfriend is really a racist. At the same time, when Starr goes home from school, she’s back in a world where her own roots are strong, creating confusion and uncertainty about where she fits in. Until one day when one of her black friends invites her to a party and her longtime old friend Khalil, who she hasn’t seen in years walks in and they are catching up with each other when a brawl breaks out and shots are fired. Khalil grabs Starr and they flee through the commotion to Khalil’s car and he drives Starr home. As they reminisce about their childhoods and Khalil declares his love for Starr, the sirens approach and Khalil is pulled over on a dark empty street for failing to signal when changing lanes. The instilled instruction that Starr’s father drilled into her as a kid kicks in as Starr immediately places her hands on the dashboard and urges Khalil to do the same. But Khalil is pissed off when the officer asks him to step out of the car and when told to stand there while the officer checks out his I.D. While standing there, Khalil ducks his head inside his car window to listen to what Starr is telling him to do to comply and not ask for trouble, and when he stands back up as the cop approaches the car, it’s pitch dark out and Khalil’s resistance to the situation has the cop shooting Khalil as Starr witnesses the whole event.
Starr is at first hesitant to speak about the crime as she’s traumatized by the witnessing of her best friend’s murder and the tragedy of how black people are treated by society. But she is finally determined to speak out about police brutality and goes live on air to tell the public everything that transpired leading to Khalil’s murder. She goes on to explain how black people don’t stand a fighting chance and why so many are forced to lead a life of crime just to survive. And King, the local druglord was not happy about her talking about that on air, decides to take revenge on Starr’s family for doing so.
I’m not going to let spoilers out what happens after, but suffice it to say, this is a powerful story with so many societal problems and struggles the black population endures, for some on a daily basis. The humanity in this story is astounding, and each character in this story have compelling personalities. Aptly titled – The Hate U Give, as Starr explains stands for THUG – Thuglife. My personal opinion, is this book and/or movie should be required reading/watching in all junior high level classes.There is much to discuss from this movie. Some low-rating reviewers defend the police, stating that they risk their lives when they don’t know if a pullover has a weapon. But humanity has to ask, how does one take a fifty-fifty gamble that there is or isn’t a weapon, so let’s just kill them just in case, dismissing the cost of a human life? I shed many tears throughout this movie so would highly recommend a box of Kleenex by your side when reading or watching.
Today’s Sunday Movie Review is for Best Picture – Oscar winning movie Green Book. As many of my readers here know, besides the books I prefer to read for light entertainment and escape, my favorite books and movies all have the components of the human spirit and condition based story lines. This is a factual based story of classical American jazz pianist, Dr. Don Shirley on his roadtrip tour with a most unlikely character – Italian, mob-like Tony the Lip as his hired driver who drives Shirley around on tour in the deep south in 1962, at a time where blacks were being segregated. After watching this movie, it’s isn’t difficult to see why it won for best picture.
In 1962, Tony “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, a tough bouncer, is looking for work when his nightclub is closed for renovations. The most promising offer turns out to be the driver for the African-American classical pianist Don Shirley for a concert tour into the Deep South states. Although hardly enthused at working for a black man, Tony accepts the job and they begin their trek armed with The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for safe travel through America’s racial segregation. Together, the snobbishly erudite pianist and the crudely practical bouncer can barely get along with their clashing attitudes to life and ideals. However, as the disparate pair witness and endure America’s appalling injustices on the road, they find a newfound respect for each other’s talents and start to face them together. In doing so, they would nurture a friendship and understanding that would change both their lives.
My 5 Star Review:
New York city, 1962, the Copa nightclub where Tony Lip’s job as ‘bouncer’ comes to a halt because of renovations to the club, leaving him looking for odd jobs to fill in his time and paycheck until the renovations are finished. At the same time, Afro-American classical pianist, Dr. Don Shirley is in search of a driver who can safely drive him throughout the deep south for his road tour.
Tony, as we are first introduced to him would seem the most unlikely character Shirley would pick for the task, but ultimately, Tony becomes the best pick Shirley could have hoped for as demonstrated through the story line. Tony is given the ‘Green Book’ to help him navigate the journey, which includes maps and offers ‘places to stay for black people’ while traveling.
Tony’s low-class, loud mouthed, uncultured, racketeering persona is very off-putting for esteemed Dr. Shirley, yet, as the movie progresses, the two form a bond of friendship, and a learning and acceptance for one another’s plight in life. Tony’s terrible use of language and mobster styled behavior eventually brings the snobbish Doc down a few pegs after spending much time alone together, and after realizing that it was those very unbecoming features of his driver that would help save the life of the good doctor.
As their friendship grows and Tony is faced with defending Doc many times through the journey – getting him out of a lot of racist jams, Tony also learns to appreciate the music of the prodigy doctor. A wonderful movie about friendship and loyalty despite the ugliness of racism.
The story behind the story:
The movie was written by ‘Tony the Lip’s’ son, Nick Vallelonga, who was 5 years old at the time Tony set out for his first tour with Shirley. When he returned and shared many of the road stories about some of the terrible things they encountered on the road of racism, young Nick vowed to make a movie about it someday – and he did. Dr. Shirley made him promise that he wouldn’t share the story publicly until he would die. Shirley died in 2013. You can read more about this true story of blind faith and friendship here, from the Smithsonianmag.
It’s Sunday Book Review time, and once again, I’m sneaking in a movie I recently watched – Ladies in Black, written by Madeline St. John. This movie is a story that takes place in the 1959 era, where women’s jobs consisted mostly of being a secretary or working in retail sales. The movie depicts the lives of 4 women who work in Goode’s Department store in Sydney, Australia at a time where European migration changes the landscape of Australia with cultural changes, a mixing of class structure, and the rise of Women’s Liberation. Lisa is a shy teen and aspiring writer who takes a part-time Christmas job at Goode’s, and befriends 3 women who open up a whole new world to her from her sheltered life at home. Once the movie began, I could totally understand the appropriate title chosen, but if you didn’t delve further than the title, one would have no idea what the movie is about.
“The book I most often give as a gift to cheer people up.” —Hilary Mantel
An irresistibly charming debut novel set in a department store in Sydney in the 1950s.
The women in black, so named for the black frocks they wear while working at an upscale department store called Goode’s, are run off their feet selling ladies’ cocktail dresses during the busy season. But in Sydney in the 1950s, there’s always time to pursue other goals…
Patty, in her mid-thirties, has been working at Goode’s for years. She’s married to Frank, who eats a steak for dinner every night, watches a few minutes of TV, and then turns in, leaving Patty to her own thoughts. She wants a baby, but Frank is always too tired for that kind of thing. Sweet Fay, wants to settle down with a nice man, but somehow nice men don’t see her as marriage material.
The glamorous Magda runs the high-end gowns department. A Slovenian émigré who met her Hungarian husband in a refugee camp, Magda is clever and cultured. She finds the Australians to be unfashionable, and dreams of opening her own boutique one day.
Lisa, a teenager awaiting the results of her final exams, takes a job at Goode’s for the holidays. She wants to go to university and secretly dreams of being a poet, but her father objects to both notions. Magda takes Lisa under her wing, and by the time the last marked-down dress has been sold, all of their lives will be forever changed.
Perfect for fans of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, this delightful and uplifting novel portrays the roles of women in the 1950s and the timeless importance of female friendship.
My 5 Star Review:
Sixteen year old Lisa takes a Christmas job in a fancy department store in Sydney, Australia, working with the ‘ladies in black’. The women wore black cocktail dresses as their work uniforms behind the counters of the women’s dress department. Lisa comes from a sheltered life background and holds aspirations to one day become a poet – or a an actress. Simple life experiences the ‘glam’ life. She befriends the two ladies she works with – Patty and Fay, who both have their own aspirations, and Lisa sometimes gets transferred to the ‘fancy, high fashion’ department where she is taken in under the wing of Magda, played by Julia Ormond, a Slovenian emigrant in charge of that department.
Lisa learns world politics and culture from Magda and her Hungarian husband Stefan who both migrated to Australia after meeting in a prisoner camp when escaping the war in Europe. Lisa’s parents have a difficult time of letting their daughter grow up, and as LIsa awaits her acceptance to university, her father disapproves. As we watch the relationship grow between Magda and Lisa, we learn that Magda’s strong affection for Lisa develops because Magda is preparing Lisa for the outside world that Magda says she missed out on.
Meanwhile, Lisa’s new friends at the counter, Pat and Fay have struggles of their own, Pat feels as though she’s in a stagnant marriage and wants a baby, and Fay seems to meet the ‘wrong guy’ all the time – that’s until she’s introduced to Magda’s nephew, Rudy.
I thought this was a most wonderful feel good movie involving the lives of these 4 women, a lovely mix of relationships, friendships. character growth, and underlying reference to politics of the times. The landscape footage is just exquisite and a treat for someone like me who has never been to Australia. This is definitely a movie that inspires me to read the book.
Best quote: “Nobody understands men, and they don’t understand themselves.”
Today’s Sunday Book Review is a little different. Today I’m reviewing a movie I only recently watched – The Wife. The movie – taken from the book by Meg Wolitzer, left me with lots to think about – especially since the main characters – husband and wife, are both writers – only the storyline depicts the husband as the worthy literary master.
I’m typically, not a ‘watch the movie first and then read the book kind of gal’, rather, quite the opposite. If I’ve already read a book and loved it, I will absolutely see the movie, and of course scrutinize the writing as I watch, (bad habit), and hope the movie will do a good book justice. I’m sure we’ve all encountered a box office let down after waiting in anticipation for the movie version only to be disappointed. So, being as I missed out reading the book before the movie came to my movie channel, starring Glenn Close, I had to watch it.
Now a major motion picture starring Glenn Close in her Golden Globe–winning role!
One of bestselling author Meg Wolitzer’s most beloved books—an “acerbically funny” (Entertainment Weekly) and “intelligent…portrait of deception” (The New York Times).
The Wife is the story of the long and stormy marriage between a world-famous novelist, Joe Castleman, and his wife Joan, and the secret they’ve kept for decades. The novel opens just as Joe is about to receive a prestigious international award, The Helsinki Prize, to honor his career as one of America’s preeminent novelists. Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, finally decides to stop.
Important and ambitious, The Wife is a sharp-eyed and compulsively readable story about a woman forced to confront the sacrifices she’s made in order to achieve the life she thought she wanted. “A rollicking, perfectly pitched triumph…Wolitzer’s talent for comedy of manners reaches a heady high” (Los Angeles Times), in this wise and candid look at the choices all men and women make—in marriage, work, and life.
My 5 Star Review:
I can only imagine how good this book must be because the movie was so well done with Glenn Close playing an amazing and emotional role and winning the Golden Globe Award for that role as ‘the wife’.
How long can a sham go on?
I love a good movie with deep characters and stories that make me question how I’d react if what I was watching had happened to me – especially when it involves writers. The movie was engaging from the get-go and the plot thickened at a comfortable pace leading to the deep-seated issue and question: What would you do if you spent a lifetime helping your spouse be praised in the literary community, when YOU are the actual one doing THEIR writing for them and the day comes that a literary award is bestowed to your spouse for your writing. It certainly made me stop and think as a writer.
Yes, it’s a fictional movie, but certainly gives us pause. And no, I personally couldn’t do it, writing under the shadow of someone else to give them the credit for – spouse or no spouse. I should think if Joan chose to be a ghostwriter, there would be no story. But this is a story.
The story begins with the seemingly happy middle-aged couple – Joan and Joe, elated after just receiving the news that Joe has been selected as the next winner of the International Helsinki Award to honor his work as a novelist. The story progresses along inviting us into the personal lives of the couple, the friction between Joe and his son who is also a writer desperately seeking his father’s approval, and the glamorous travel and dinner parties that come along with Joe’s new elevated fame, leaving Joan feeling slighted by Joe’s escalation to fame and the rising anger within that Joan struggles with because of.
Earlier in the movie, Joan holds back her hurt and accompanies her husband to all the limelight events in his honor, but her face and actions clearly demonstrate she’s not as happy for Joe as she earlier on led us to believe. We are made to think perhaps she’s jealous of the attention he’s getting, and we don’t find out till midway through the movie what is really irking Joan.
Resentment trumps love when we discover through Joan’s flashbacks, Joan’s earlier life, taking us back to Joan’s college days in English class where she fell in love with her professor – Joe. We learn that Joan had all the makings of a literary scholar, but she was young and enamored by Joe, and somehow fell into becoming the writer of Joe’s books because she was ultimately, the better writer and wanted to help her now husband succeed. The years turned into decades with this undercover operation, until Joe receives this award, which becomes the final blow to what Joan can no longer accept.
I’ll end the review there, as I don’t want to give away the end. But I put myself in Joan’s shoes as a writer and couldn’t conceive myself putting out a lifetime of my work under the name of anybody else. Could you?