Thanks to generations of brave and hardworking women, we have achieved rights and privileges that were once upon a time, a dream. But that does not mean that the fight is over.
The Handmaid’s Tale (based on the books by Margaret Atwood) premiered on Hulu back in 2017. In a world not too distant from ours, climate change and the low numbers of births opened the door to a second Civil War. When the dust settles, the United States as it existed is a thing of the past. The Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime, is now in control. The once archaic gender roles of the past are now the law of the land.
The women who are still able carry and bear children are slaves. Among them is Offred (Elisabeth Moss). She is given to a childless couple, Commander and Mrs. Waterford (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski) and has one job: give them a child. Offred’s only form of survival is to hang onto the past and remember the life, the name, and the family she had before everything changed.
Though I could not get into the book, I am part way though the first season and thoroughly hooked. What makes this story palpable and scary is not a dystopian future that is impossible to imagine as reality. Given our present predicament, it wouldn’t take much for this work of fiction to become something more.
It is for me, a reminder that in some countries (Saudia Arabia, for one), the daily experiences of women are not too far off from the women in this book. It is also a throwback to a not so far away time when we had to fight for even the most basic of rights.
If nothing else, it is stark reminder that our democracy and freedoms are not guaranteed. We must continue to do everything we can to ensure that they are protected.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The Handmaid’s Tale is available for streaming on Hulu.
World on Fire (PBS): This PBS/Masterpiece follows a group of individuals as World War II is on the horizon.
Mrs. America (F/X/Hulu): In the 1970’s, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was close to becoming the law of the land. A tug of war begins between one group of women that is for it and another that is against it.
Sanditon (PBS): Based off the unfinished book of the same name by Jane Austen, we follow Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), a young woman who leaves her family for the seaside resort town of Sanditon.
Soul: Though it is marketed as a kids movie, the subtext of appreciating life feels appropriate and potent this year.
Mulan: The live-action reboot of the 1998 animated film Mulan rises above its predecessor, making it fresh and relevant.
Emma.: Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Jane Austen‘s eponymous heroine, Emma Woodhouse, introduced as clever, rich, and handsome. Directed by Autumn de Wilde, this adaption is entertaining, funny, and a lovely addition to the list of Austen adaptations.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire: This LBGTQ historical romance between a young woman and the female artist hired to paint her portrait is sweet, romantic, and powerful. It proves once more that love is love is love.
Ordinary Love: Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) are your average middle-aged couple. When she is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, they both must deal with the rough road ahead.
The Assistant: Jane (Julia Garner) is an assistant to a Harvey Weinstein-esque powerful movie producer. She starts to notice things that don’t sit right with her.
I am Greta: This documentary follows teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as she advocates for the world to pay serious attention to climate change.
#AnneFrank-Parallel Lives: Narrated by Helen Mirren, this documentary tells not just Anne’s story. It follows other young women who survived the Holocaust. Parallel to the stories of the past, the viewer is traveling with another young woman as she visits different countries in present-day Europe.
Though sex and sexuality is part and parcel of human nature, it is often viewed as something dangerous and wrong.
For decades, Dr. Ruth Westheimer (aka Dr. Ruth), has been America’s sex therapist. The 2019 Hulu documentary movie, Ask Dr. Ruth, tells her story. Born in 1928 to an Orthodox Jewish family in Germany, everything was normal for the first ten years of her life. When it became clear that being a Jew in Germany was dangerous, Ruth (then known by her first name, Karola) was sent to Switzerland on the Kindertransport.
At the age of 17, she emigrated to what was then British controlled Palestine (pre-Independence Israel) and joined the Haganah. Years later, she again emigrated to the United States. Living in New York City, she married, raised her two children and became the woman we know her to be today.
The thing I love about her is that at nearly 100 years old, she has the energy of a woman half her age. She represents hope, life, change, and that a woman can never be limited to what she can do because she is “female”. Her presence first on the radio and then on television, helped to open the door to long overdue conversations about sex and sexuality.
There are some television programs from our childhood that are impossible to not watch as adults.
The 2020 reboot of 1990’s television series Animaniacs (1993-1998) premiered yesterday on Hulu. Following the same format and using the same characters, it is simply a modern reboot of the classic animated series.
I’ve only see three episodes. It is as funny as I remember it to be. The cultural and political jabs are on point as they ever were. It is a perfect way to end a long and hard week.
The former American President Barack Obama once said the following:
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
In 2018, the Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg was an unassuming young woman who decided to tackle climate change on her own. Every Friday, she would cut school and sit near the parliament building in Stockholm to protest the lack of action by the government. What started out as one young girl’s attempt to change the world grew into a movement. The new documentary, I Am Greta follows her journey from 2018 to the present.
Entitled #FridaysForFuture, the movement grew to include hundreds of thousands of people around the world following Greta’s lead. She soon garnered the attention of the media and politicians around the world. But while she inspired millions to make climate change their issue, she was attacked and ignored by some (mostly adults) for her unending commitment to the cause.
This girl is nothing short of inspiring. Given the pressure around Greta and the diagnosis of Asperger syndrome that creates a tunnel vision like devotion, it would have been easy for her to back down. But she has stayed strong and has yet to waver from the cause.
When Covid-19 first appeared on the scene at the beginning of the year, no one knew what to make this virus that seemed to come out of nowhere. Looking back, we know now that a little common sense would have saved lives and saved the economy. But there is no going back.
Totally Under Control premiered last month on Hulu. This 2 hour documentary tells the story of how mismanagement and partisanship led to the mess that we are currently in. The film also compares the response of the United States to that of South Korea.
I couldn’t help but get angry as I watched the movie. There were so many opportunities to control the outbreak, but due to a number of circumstances, those opportunities were not taken. The lost opportunities and the missteps created opened the door for the destruction of our economy and the loss of 225,000 Americans.
If nothing else, this is a warning and a lesson learned in a painful way. There will be another virus in the future with the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people. If we do not take logical and non-partisan steps to control it, we will only repeat the same mistakes that has led to our current predicament.
I absolutely recommend it.
Totally Under Control is available for streaming on Hulu.
The core of any legitimate democracy is the right to vote. On the surface, voting is a simple act. But if one were to dig a little deeper, they would see that voting is much more than simply casting your ballot on election day.
Today is the 100 anniversary of the 19th Amendment. In the span of history, 100 years is not a long time. But in the history of the fight for female equality in the United States and around the world, 100 years means the difference between being chattel and beating treated as a full human being.
The women of that generation saw voting as only the first step. They understood then, as we do now, that gaining the vote was only the first step in a long path ahead of them.
Given our breathtaking progress in the past century, there is a part of me that is bursting with pride. But another part of me knows that legislation cannot wash away centuries of sexism and double standards. That requires education and changing of hearts and minds.
Though there are many issues that must be dealt with (including the fact that women of color are still fighting for their rights), the fact that we have come as far as we have is nothing to sneeze at.
Ladies, we know that today is a celebration. But we also know that there much more work to be done. Today, we take a breath and a moment to enjoy the progress that has been made. But tomorrow, the work begins anew.
To be a woman in the public eye (especially in the political world) is akin to walking a tight rope. You must appear to be feminine and live within the confines of what is acceptably “female”. But, if you are emotional, critics will make the accusation that your emotions are taking over. On the other hand, if you are are so called “bossy”, you are labelled as aggressive and a b*tch.
Hillary premiered on Hulu earlier this year. This four part documentary series followed the lives and career of former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Telling Mrs. Clinton’s story, the creative team wove in interviews, news clips and images to give the viewer a perspective on it’s subject that few have had up this point.
I enjoyed the documentary. In pulling back the curtain, the viewer is introduced the whole person, not just the image presented in the media. If there is one thing I admire about Mrs. Clinton is that she keeps going. Given the number of times that she has been knocked down, it would have been easier to stay down. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, she has become an icon, a hero, and a role model for women for generations to come.
When one transcends from ordinary human to legend, we forget that this person is still a human being.
Fosse/Verdon premiered last year on F/X. Stepping in the gigantic shoes of the late Broadway legends that are Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon are Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams. Told over the course of multiple decades, the series follows the professional and personal ups and downs of the main characters.
Though they separated (but never legally divorced) in 1971, Gwen and Bob were joined at the hip. She stayed by his side as he cheated on her with multiple women, dealt with addiction issues, and never truly faced his demons. On his end, he relied on her as a respected professional collaborator who understood his unique way of working.
This is one of the best miniseries that I’ve seen in a long time. Both Rockwell and Williams are flawless in their roles, humanizing these giants of the entertainment industry.
This hobby blog is dedicated to movie nerdom, nostalgia, and the occasional escape. In the late 90s, I worked at Blockbuster Video where they let me take home two free movies a day. I caught up on the classics and wrote movie reviews for Denver 'burbs newspapers and magazines. Today, I continue to revisit the old and discover the new on the screen. Comments and dialogue are highly encouraged. This year, I'm excited to collaborate with other writers via SLICETHELIFE in which we will share our movie genre favorites in our 2021 Movie Draft!