Rebeccais 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.
After terrorists storm the hotel, staff and guests must come together to somehow get out of the hotel alive. Head chef Oberoi (Anupam Kher) and waiter Arjun (Dev Patel) are two of the surviving staff who are simply trying to keep the surviving guests alive. Married couple David (Armie Hammer) and Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi) have to make a tough decision. They can either stay together or split up and find a way to get to their nanny, Sally (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) and infant son.
I have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, it’s a true and riveting story about human beings who have no choice, but to find a way to work together in the face of life or death circumstances. In this film, it would have been easy to create a 2D carte blanche villain. But the creative team fleshed out the villains in a way that makes them human, even if their actions are despicable. But on the other hand, the film teetered on boring at moments.
Sometimes, when we fight against an injustice, we change the world.
The new movie, On The Basis of Sex, starts in the mid 1950’s. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) is a first year law student at Harvard Law School, one of only a handful of female students among a sea of male classmates. In addition to her schoolwork, she is juggling motherhood and marriage to Marty Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), who himself is second year law student at the same university. Though she is smart and tough, she has to deal with the prejudice and rejection that comes with being a woman in a man’s world in an era where men and women lived in totally different worlds.
The film then flashes forward to the early 1970’s. Ruth is a Law Professor who is given a case to review by Marty. Charles Moritz (Chris Mulkey) is a middle-aged man caring his elderly mother. He is denied the right to deduct the cost of caring for his mother from his taxes because he is a man. Knowing that this case is the opening she is looking for, Ruth takes it on. The question is, will she win and open the door for American women or will they lose the case and set the American feminist movement back decades?
I loved this movie. I loved it because it is not the average bio-pic. Many bio-pics adhere to the “cradle to the grave” narrative. While that works for some movies within the genre, it would not have worked for this film. Focusing on these two very specific periods of time allows the audience to know the woman behind the title of RBG and appreciate her contribution to American history.
When it comes to social reforms, there are two avenues: protest and amending the law.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a young lawyer, the second wave of the feminist movement was at its height. While many saw the path to equality via protest, the future Justice Ginsburg understood that amending the law was just as important as public protest.
Her experience in this period of her life is documented in the upcoming film On The Basis Of Sex. Starring Felicity Jones as RBG and Armie Hammer as her late husband Martin Ginsburg, the film tells the story of the court case that would put RBG on the legal map and on the road to joining the Supreme Court decades later.
The problem with some biopics is that regardless of whether the subject is alive or dead, the facts don’t always make it to the final cut of the film. My hope (especially because RBG is still alive and kicking), is that the film (and Felicity Jones by extension) portrays RBG as she ought to be portrayed on the big screen.
On The Basis Of Sex hits theaters on December 25th.
We never forget our first love, especially when we are young. No matter how old we get or who we fall in love with later in life, our first love always stays with us.
In the new film Call Me By Your Name, (based upon the book by Andre Aciman of the same name), 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) is spending the summer of 1983 at his family’s Italian chalet. His father, Mr. Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a professor of Greco-Roman history and takes on a graduate student as a research assistant every summer. His mother, Annella Perlman (Amira Casar) is a linguist. The graduate student who will be living with them and studying with Elio’s father that particular summer is a young man named Oliver (Armie Hammer). Elio thinks he knows about love, but the summer and his relationship with Oliver will forever change his view of love.
What I absolutely loved about this movie was that it was about first love and how one is forever changed by that first love. While some might object to the film because the two romantic leads are men, I think that is exactly why this film must be seen. We live in a political and social climate where judgments are made about us based upon the labels we give ourselves and the labels others give us. If anything, this film teaches the audience that love is love is love. It doesn’t matter if the partners are heterosexual or homosexual.
Disney’s latest foray into the action/adventure moviedom is The Lone Ranger, a reboot of the classic TV series of the same title.
Armie Hammer plays the title role of the Lone Ranger/John Reid and Johnny Depp is Tonto, his Native American partner in crime. Joining Hammer and Depp is Ruth Wilson as Rebecca, John’s sister in law/love interest, William Fitchner as Butch Cavendish, the film’s villian, Tom Wilkinson as Cole, a questionable politician and Helena Bonham Carter as Red Carrington, the town Madam.
Other reviewers have reffered to this movie as bloated and misshapen. I would add predictable and trite.
Armie Hammer’s approach to the character is one dimensional, the only actor that held my interest throughout the movie was Johnny Depp. Ruth Wilson, whose portrayl of in the title role of Jane Eyre in 2006 is one of my favorite Jane Eyre’s, is completely wasted in this part. Despite any press stating that Rebecca is not the typical love interest/damsel in distress, I disagree that outside of a few moments in the film, the character does not move beyond the stereotypical female role. The supporting cast of Tom Wilkinson, William Fitchner and Helena Bonham Carter are also wasted as actors.
This movie clocks in at 2 hours and 40 minutes. Frankly, the screen writers seem have lifted parts of plot from 1998 film The Mask Of Zorro. If I could gotten those two hours and forty minutes back of my life, I would. But instead, I warn anyone who is considering seeing this movie, do not see this movie. If Much Ado About Nothing was the best movie I have seen so far this year, this movie is the worst.
Words, words, words... well said Hamlet! A little blog to go off on tangents within the worlds of history and literature that interest me. From the Tudors to Tom Hardy's Tess, or from the Wars of the Roses to Wuthering Heights, feel free to browse through my musings to pick up extra ideas and points for discussion!