*This review is based solely on the movie. I have never read thebook or heard of it until I saw the film.
A good love story is supposed to grip the audience by the throat. You want to feel the anxiety, not knowing if the potential lovers will be together by the end. It should be a heart stopping, blood pumping through your brain experience.
The new Netflix movie, The Last Letter from Your Lover, is based on the Jojo Moyesbook of the same name. In 1965, the marriage between Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley) and her husband Lawrence (Joe Alwyn) is on the rocks. She starts seeing Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner) on the side. It quickly blossoms into a full blown love affair. They write to each other, trying to keep the romantic flame alive while Jennifer maintains the façade of a happy marriage.
In our time, Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones) is journalist whose newest assignment is to uncover the secrets behind the newly discovered letters. Working with colleague Rory McCallan (Nabhaan Rizwan), they start to fall for one another as the decades old truth begins to slowly reveal itself.
Just like anyone, I like a good love story. But it cannot be a romance just for romance’s sake. There has to be a legit reason as to why certain characters walk into the sunset together. While the 1960’s narrative was reasonably compelling, the modern narrative felt forced. Whatever it is that brings two people together, there was nothing that made me believe that Ellie and Rory would work as a couple. It felt forced and dragged down the movie as a whole. I would have preferred that they remained colleagues without crossing the line into a relationship.
Do I recommend it? Not really.
The Last Letter from Your Lover is available for streaming on Netflix.
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.
Filling in the gap between Revenge Of The Sith (2005) and A New Hope (1977), Rogue One takes place just as the empire is tightening its grip on the universe. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is the daughter of a scientist, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) who has appeared to turn his back on rebels. She is raised by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) after her mother’s death and her father’s abdication to the dark side. We meet Jyn when she in imprisoned by the Empire. After being rescued by rebel forces, she joins the fight against the empire. Joining a team of rebels that includes Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang), Jyn is not only fighting to free the universe from the empire’s grasp, but is also seeking to find her father.
I’ve heard this movie being compared to The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. While both films are the best of the best of within the Star Wars series, this film certainly comes close. The two qualities of the film that I especially appreciated and loved was not only how badass Jyn was, but also the film talks about the true cost of freedom and the cost of rebelling against tyranny to attain that freedom. And for me, as a Janeite, the cherry on the top of the cake was knowing that I first was introduced to Felicity Jones when she played Catherine Moreland in the 2007 Northanger Abbey.
This film is a must see and one of the best of 2016 for me.
Stephen Hawking lived through extraordinary circumstances. In the early 1960’s, he was a young Phd candidate studying at Oxford University with a bright future. Diagnosed with ALS in his early 20’s, he was given 2 years to live. Instead he wrote several books on physics and became famous for his research.
The Theory Of Everything follows Stephen Hawking’s (Eddie Redmayne) life from his years at Oxford before the diagnosis. The film follows Stephen and his then wife Jane (Felicity Jones) through his years of struggling with the disease and then ends with his success as respected and world renowned physicist.
This movie is fantastic. If I were a betting woman, would bet that this movie is a surefire nominee come awards season. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones have fantastic chemistry. Redmayne is completely believable as Hawking. His mannerisms, the way he contorts his body is breathtaking. Jones as Stephen’s loving, but overworked wife is subtle, nuanced and powerful on screen.
I absolutely recommend this movie, especially to those of us who are down on our luck. Stephen Hawking proves that any obstacle can be overcome with heart, humor and most of all, hope.
Northanger Abbey is Jane Austen’s first completed novel, published posthumously with Persuasion after her death in 1817. The plot of Northanger Abbey becomes the blueprint for her next five novels. While Pride and Prejudice and Emma are the books that producers will turn to most often to adapt for the screen, Northanger Abbey has only been adapted a handful of times.
Catherine Moreland (Felicity Jones) is the sheltered teenage daughter of a country clergymen and his wife. The fourth of ten children, she has developed a dream like penchant for gothic novels. Mr. and Mrs. Allen, childless neighbors of the Morlands, offer to take Catherine to Bath. In her mind, Bath represents the adventure that has up to that point, only existed in her books.
Two very different sets of siblings will come into her life and provide in the adventure that she is hoping for. Mrs. Allen’s former classmate, Mrs. Thorpe, has several daughters. The eldest Thorpe daughter, Isabella (Carey Mulligan) becomes friends with Catherine while Isabella’s older brother, John (William Beck) tries to impress Catherine to point of expecting that she accept his marriage proposal.
Henry Tilney (JJ Feild) and Eleanor Tilney (Catherine Walker) make the greater impression on Catherine. They are without guile, open and amiable. When Catherine is invited to Northanger Abbey, the Tilney’s ancestral home, she immediately accepts the invitation. But Catherine, by way of her favorite novels, imagines that is a secret or two behind the gates of Northanger Abbey.
I genuinely like this adaptation. It’s well done, the screenplay closely mirrors the plot of the book and the cast is well chosen.