Daily Archives: September 6, 2021

Worth Movie Review

What is a human life worth? Is it the emotions we create in others? Is it the experiences that define our lives? Or is it in a check that is given to our loved ones when we are gone?

The new Netflix movie, Worth, follows the story of real life lawyer Kenneth Feinberg (Michael Keaton) as he tries to help the victims of 9/11. He has been assigned to help the survivors and the families of the nearly 3000 people who died that day. His job is to lead the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, but it will not be easy. With the help of associate Camille Biros (Amy Ryan), he and his team must determine what each person was worth.

Challenging Kenneth are two surviving spouses. Charles Wolf (Stanley Tucci) lost his wife when the Twin Towers fell. A community organizer, he is continually nipping at the team’s feet, pushing them to think with their heart and not with their calculators. Karen Donato (Laura Benanti) is torn between her needs and what she is hearing from her brother-in-law.

Kenneth knows that the task he has ahead of him will be grueling, in every sense of the word. Money can never replace the ones we love. Whatever happens, he knows that he must succeed, even with the difficulties that lay before him.

This movie is riveting and powerful. Based on a true story, it is a reminder that the souls who died that day were not just names on a spreadsheet. They were human beings whose loss represent a black hole that can never be filled. It also a reminder that there is still hope in this world. Kenneth starts the film as the typical cynical bureaucrat who is just doing his job. By the end of the film, he understands the grief and heartache of those who he is trying to help.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Worth is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix, New York City

The Gilded Years: A Novel Book Review

Education is the one thing that should make us all equal in terms of future opportunities. But for that to happen, the type of schooling one receives should not be dependent on skin color or zip code.

In 2016, The Gilded Years: A Novel, by Karin Tanabe, hit bookshelves. In 1897, Anita Hemmings was a senior at Vassar College. She is popular, well liked, and on an academic track to do well post graduation. But Anita has a secret. She is African-American. Though she is light skinned enough to pass as Caucasian, there is the ever present danger of being outed for who she really is.

Her new roommate is Louise “Lottie” Taylor, the daughter of a wealthy and prominent New York family. The mask that Anita has been wearing for the last three years begins to crack as the girls become friends. Trouble, as it often does, comes in the form of romance and the opposite sex. Lottie starts crushing on Anita’s younger brother Frederick, who is as light skinned as his sister. In addition, Anita is spending her free time with a handsome and well to do white Harvard student.

With the end of the school year and her degree in sight, Anita’s secret is too close to be revealed. If it is, her entire future is possibly ruined before it has even started.

The narrative, based on a true story, is an interesting cross between School Ties (1992) and Imitation of Life (1959). It takes place in an era in which the idea of women being educated was only starting to become normalized. Add in race and you have a heady mix of social issues and the question of who is worthy of receiving an education. The book is like a powder keg, waiting to explode. It is only a question of when and what the damage will be.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History