Daily Archives: October 24, 2020

Rebecca Movie Review

Rebecca is one of those books that readers come back to time and again. There is a reason that Daphne du Maurier‘s novel of love, jealousy, and secrets is considered to be a classic.

The Netflix reboot starring Lily James, Armie Hammer, and Kristin Scott Thomas premiered earlier in the week. The unnamed narrator and future Mrs. de Winter (James) is introduced as a paid companion to a wealthy woman who is eager is climb the social ladder. In Monte Carlo, she meets Maxim de Winter (Hammer). Maxim is a widower and the owner of Manderley, a sprawling estate on the English coast. Swept off her feet, she says yes to his marriage proposal.

But upon arrival at her new home, she discovers that all is not what it seems. Her husband’s deceased wife, Rebecca still haunts her former home. The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Scott Thomas), takes pleasure in tormenting the new Mrs. de Winter via the memory of the previous Mrs. de Winter.

I wish I could say that I loved this adaptation. The truth is that it was not what it could have been. There is a certain something in the novel that raises the hair on the back of the neck. That feeling is missing from the movie. The other issue that I had is that as good an actor that Lily James is, she is not quite right for the part.

Her performance was stronger when her character began to realize the truth. As a viewer, I couldn’t wrap my head around her youth and naivete in the beginning of the story. Among the main actors, Kristin Scott Thomas was the best part of the film. She was both creepy and charming, if that combination is ever possible.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Rebecca is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Filed under Books, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things Book Review

If one were to poll Jane Austen fans to determine which of the six completed novels is their favorite, Mansfield Park is likely to be found at the bottom of the list. Similarly, the book’s heroine, Fanny Price is also likely to be found in the same position in a comparable list of Austen’s leading ladies.

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things, written by Jacqueline Firkins, was published last year. Edith “Edie” Price has been in the foster care system since her mother’s recent passing. Her father left when she was a baby. Just a few months shy of her eighteenth birthday, Edie is temporarily taken in by her wealthy aunt and uncle.

Though she has two cousins, Maria and Julia who are close to her in age, Edie has nothing in common with them. They are determined to give her a makeover and find her a boyfriend. But Edie is more concerned with making sure that she can stand on her own two feet after high school.

As she tries to stay afloat until graduation, two boys enter the picture. The first is Sebastian, Edie’s first and love and childhood bestie. He is everything she could want in a boyfriend. But Sebastian is taken. The second is Henry, the bad boy who Edie swears to stay away from. That is easier said than done.

Edie knows that she has to choose one of them. The question is, will her heart be broken in the process?

I loved this book. Edie has the soul of her 19th century predecessor, while being a normal teenage girl in the 21st century. Among the JAFF (Jane Austen fanfiction) books that I have read, this is one of the better ones.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

The Debate on Thursday Did Not Change My Mind

As we get ever close the November 3rd, the question of who wins the election looms ever larger. As early voting has begun, the debate on Thursday was aimed at the voter who has not yet entered the ballot box and/or remains undecided.

I can say that as one who voted today, my mind has not changed. Though you know who made some semi-decent arguments, their power was diminished. Biden owning up to his imperfect past took some of the air out of the accusations. Unlike you know who, he is both willing and able to be a man and admit that in hindsight, some decisions were not wise.

If there was anything that stood out to me, it was the way both candidates spoke. Biden spoke to the camera and to the American people. It was not about him and what he has or has not done. It was about us and what he would do for us as President.

You know who made more than enough “I” statements. If he was not whining about the supposed mistreatment he has received, he boasted about his “accomplishments”.

The one thing that made me laugh was his comment about his “beloved” NYC. Though he left in a huff last year, he now claims that he loves the city.

My hope (and my fervent prayer) is that in January, this country starts on the path to a state of semi-normalcy. That path can only be created when Joe Biden is President.

#BidenHarris2020

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Filed under National News, New York City, Politics, Television

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Review

If nothing else, history is cyclical. The experience of one generation is often repeated time and again.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 premiered last weekend on Netflix. The movie tells the story of seven men who are accused of inciting a riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Among the defendants are Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), and Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). One of the lawyers they hired to represent them is William Kunstler (Mark Rylance).

On the other side is Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a lawyer for the government whose job is to ensure that a guilty verdict is obtained. On the judge’s bench is Julius Hoffman (Frank Langella). Judge Hoffman is more than eager to see the men thrown in jail.

Though the movie takes place in the late 1960’s, the comparisons to 2020 are too obvious to ignore. The cultural and political divisions back then were as rigid as they are today. If nothing else, it is reminder that there are some things in this world that are constant. The details may change, but the basic frame is unchanged.

Narratively speaking, the tension goes a bit slack in the middle of the film. But other than that, the movie is well done and worth watching.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix, Politics