The ancient world has always been fascinating. The mixture of mythology, history, and curiosity about life back then has piqued the interest of modern people for centuries.
The new MCU/DisneyPlus series, Moon Knight, premiered last Wednesday. Steven Grant/Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) is a former member of the US Marines. Living in London and working at a museum gift shop, Steven/Marc has a figurative weight attached to his ankle via dissociative identity disorder. Blacking out and then having vivid dreams of another life, he encounters Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke). Arthur is an enemy from one of Steven/Marc’s other life. To say that he is dangerous is an understatement.
He soon finds out that he has the powers of an Egyptian Mood G-d. Though the powers appear to be a windfall, there is a downside that he quickly discovers.
I walked into this series completely blind. This is the first time I’ve heard of Moon Knight. Knowing nothing about what I was about to watch was a good thing. I had no expectations, therefore I cannot be disappointed by any changes that have been made from the original text.
I liked the inclusion of mental illness. It is one more step away from stigma and one step closer to acceptance. My problem is that I was confused. Maybe it’s the plot or maybe it’s because I am totally new to this world. Either way, the jumping back and forth was a bit confusing. What did make me want to at least watch the next episode was when he turned into his superhero alter-ego.
Life is messy. So is romance. Some movies portray both with a sentimental view or via rose-colored glasses.
The new film, Maudie, portrays the real life mess of both. Based on the life of artist Maud Lewis, the film starts in 1930’s Nova Scotia. Maud (Sally Hawkins) has lived with juvenile arthritis her entire life. Needing to escape the emotional confines of her family, she takes a job as a housekeeper for Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke). A gruff loner, Everett is expects things a certain way. Maud surprises him with her art, her outlook on life and her tenacity. Their marriage is something of a surprise, but somehow, they stay married until Maud’s death in 1970.
This movie is nothing short of a revelation. Directed by Aisling Walsh, the film could have been taken in the direction of sentimental mush with the predictable messages of love conquering all and dreams can come true. But thankfully, the film is not sentimental mush with the predictable messages. It’s a movie about how hard life is and how hard relationships are. Everett is an a**hole at points in the film. He is not the romantic hero by any stretch of the imagination. Neither is Maud the predictable romantic heroine. That was one of the things about the film that struck me, neither the narrative or the lead characters are what the audience would expect for a film that is essentially a romantic drama. That quality alone makes the film stand out for me.
Life immediately after college is often very confusing. The expectation is to get a job, eventually settle down, maybe a have a kid or two and lead a generally quiet life But what happens when this expectation does not meet reality?
In the 1994 film, Reality Bites , Lelaina (Winona Ryder) creates a mockumentary of her post college experience. Her best friend, Troy (Ethan Hawke) is a musician who has lost several minimum wage jobs. Her other friends, Vickie (Janeane Garofalo) and Sammy (Steve Zahn) are grappling with their own issues. Vickie is anticipating the results of an AIDS test while Sammy is in the closet. Then, along comes Michael (Ben Stiller), who offers Lelaina a career making opportunity. Now she must choose not only the life she wants, but the man she wants in her life.
I have two thoughts on this movie. The first is that the feelings and experiences of the characters feel very universal. Those of us who do complete college most often come out of it with a question what to do with our lives. Without the structure we have had for the last two decades, our life feels incomplete. But on the other hand, this movie is very Gen-X specific and it does feel a little dated.