Daily Archives: May 11, 2014

The Mother Of All Mother’s Day Movies

Our mother are often our  best friends, our worst enemies or sometimes a mixture of both. In their reflection, we see our best selves and our worst fears.

Fanny Hurst’s 1933 novel, Imitation Of Life mingles the idea of motherhood, friendship, identity and growing up.

There were two movie adaptations of this book. The first, adapted from the page to the screen a year after the book’s initial publishing, starred Claudette Colbert.  The second film adaptation, premiered in 1959. Granted, the screenwriters changed several facets of the story from the novel and the first adaptation, but the heart and the emotions are still there. The 1959 adaptation also hits home because it came out at the start of the civil rights movement.

The 1959 film starts with two single mothers, one white, one black, meeting at the beach. Lora Meredith (Lana Turner) is a struggling actress.  Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore) needs a home for her and her daughter. In return for a home, Annie will be Lora’s housekeeper and take care of the children.  Lora becomes a successful actress and is able to give her daughter, Susie (Sandra Dee) now a teenager a comfortable life. Annie stays with Lora, still keeping her position as housekeeper, but the relationship has evolved from employer/employee to becoming friends and confidants. Annie’s daughter, Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner), also now a teenager is light skinned. She refuses to accept that she is black and runs from her mother.

One of the reasons that this movie hits home is because of the equality and friendship between Lora and Annie. The Civil Rights Act was made law 9 years after the 1959 movie and 25 years after the 1934 movie. Many African-American characters in movies at this time, with the exception of a rare few, were either in the background or in a subservient position. While it is true that Annie is Lora’s employee, Annie is very relevant to the story.

This movie will induce tears, especially the final scene. And it will make you want to call your mother.

I highly recommend this movie.

 

 

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers in the world, especially my mother.

Being a mother is the hardest job any woman could take on. It is a 24/7, 365 day a year job, regardless of their children’s age.

They carry us for 9 months,  bring us into the world and raise us. They feed us, clothe us, get us to school on time and make sure we complete our homework.

Their wants and needs are put aside for ours.

I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without my mother.

Happy mother’s day Mom. I love you and thank you for everything.

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Chains Around The Grass: The Ups and Downs Of Life

Life is never smooth, nor is it predictable. Sometimes the moment when we think we have hit the lowest moment in our lives, that is actually the moment that we have begun to pick up the pieces of our lives.

Naomi Ragen’s 2002 novel, Chains Around The Grass, is about just this.  In the early 1950s, six year old Sara has just lost her father.  Her mother, Ruth, is left to raise three young children by herself.  Ruth must find the courage and strength within herself to raise her children without her husband.

I enjoyed the novel. Ms. Ragen takes the reader in quickly to the world of this family. The loss of their father and husband is potent to the reader.  My only criticism is in the description of the novel, Sara is named as the main character. When in reality, if there is a main character, it is Sara’s  father whose absence creates a hole in the hearts of his family members that can never be truly filled.

I recommend this novel.

 

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Fanboys: A Satire For All

In 2009, the perfect fan satire movie was introduced: Fanboys.

In 1998, months before the premiere of Star Wars, Episode I, a group of friends go on a road trip. Their mission is to sneak into George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch and steal the rough cut of the movie.

This movie is hilarious. It’s not only a satire of the Star Wars Fandom, but of the science fiction fandom as a whole. The characters are what an outsider might see as a science fiction fan: a nerdy guy or girl who lives with their parents, whose sole focus in life is their fandom. As a Star Wars fan, I knew who these characters were without cringing, I was able to laugh at them. I understood their obsession. I was able to quote the movies along with them. And I loved the cameos, especially the ones from Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams.

Unlike other fan satire (Austenland, I’m looking at you), Fanboys is one of funniest movies in the past five years. Underneath the stereotypes of the scifi fan, there is heart to these characters and a solid friendship that keeps the story going.

This is a must see.

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Ida: The Best Movie I Have Seen This Year (So Far)

Sometimes, the best movies are simplest. They are the best because the filmmakers focus on the story and characters.

Ida, is one of these movies and the best one I have seen so far this year.

In early 1960’s Poland, Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is a young novice, is on the verge of taking her vows. She is told by the mother superior that she has to visit a previously unknown aunt (Agata Kulesza) before she can take her vows. Anna discovers that her name is not Anna, but Ida Lebenstein. Traveling with her aunt to discover what happened to her family, they pick up a young male musician (Dawid Orgodnik) on the way. It’s a story of identity and the journey to discover that identity.

This movie is in black and white with English subtitles. It’s stark and simple and very well done.  This is what movie making and story telling is about.

This is a must see movie.

 

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My Own Backyard

In the day to day, that is life, I think we sometimes forget what we have.

Living in New York City, it’s easy to forget the wonders this city still offers, even to it’s natives.

Today, I had the opportunity to walk through Central Park.

Central Park 1

This was taken from the top of Belvedere Castle. The view was amazing.

 

Central Park 2

If I didn’t know that I was in the middle of Central Park, I might think that I was on an aristocratic estate in England.

Central Park 3

In the middle of the busiest and one of the most crowded cities in the world, this waterfall exists.

I love this town.

 

 

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