Tag Archives: Helen Hunt

The Windemere Children/World on Fire Review

For some, World War II and the Holocaust may seem like it was ancient history. Those in the know would say that that period was not so long ago and continues to have an affect on us, 80 years later.

Last night, PBS aired two different programs: The Windemere Children and World on Fire.

The Windmere Children, a television movie, takes place just after World War II. Britain has taken in 1000 child survivors of the Holocaust. 300 of these children are taken to an estate in England to recover. They are traumatized, both physically and emotionally. They are also most likely the only survivors from their families. It is up to the adults around them to help them become children again. Played by Romola Garai, Iain Glenn, and Thomas Kretschmann, the therapists and teachers are doing everything they can to help their charges begin to heal.

World on Fire is a miniseries that tells the story of ordinary people whose lives are turned upside down by the war. Starring Helen Hunt, Jonah Hauer-King, and Sean Bean, this miniseries follows a group of individuals from various countries as they face the dangerous realities of war. Hauer-King’s character is a young man from Britain in love with two women. Hunt plays an American journalist trying to do her job in Europe as the shadow of war grows ever closer. Bean’s character is a working-class father doing the best he can to take care of his children.

I loved both. The Windemere Children is both heartbreaking and uplifting. World on Fire stands out because it tells the stories of ordinary people who must do extraordinary things to survive.

I recommend both.

World on Fire airs on PBS Sunday nights at 9.

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Throwback Thursday-What Women Want (2000)

It is often said that you can never truly understand another person until you walk in their shoes. Or perhaps, if you cannot walk in a mile in their shoes, perhaps reading their thoughts might be a good place to start.

In the 2000 romantic comedy, What Women Want, Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson) can be described in one word: sexist.  Then, somehow, a fluke accident allows Nick to hear the internal thoughts of the women around him. At first, Nick believes himself to be cursed. But, then he is convinced that it is actually a blessing in disguise.

Perturbed that he lost a major promotion to Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt), Nick decided to take advantage of his new abilities. The plan is to get back at Darcy by using her thoughts against her, but when the relationship begins to turn from professional to romantic, Nick may want to re-think his plan.

While the idea for the plot is interesting, it is just another romantic comedy. It’s not the best within the genre, but it is not the worst either.

Do I recommend it? I say maybe, but someone else may say yes.

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Throwback Thursday- Bette Midler Double Feature-The First Wives Club (1996) & Then She Found Me (2007)

Actors try to stay away from being type cast in certain types of characters. Bette Midler has played many female character that are brash, bossy and outspoken. That is perfectly fine with me.

In The First Wives Club (1996), she was part of a trio of middle aged women that included Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton. They were best friends in college, but life, as it does, took them in different directions. Then a friend commits suicide when her husband left her for a younger woman. Brought together by the fact that all three of their husbands have dumped them for younger wives, they want one thing: revenge.

I am also including the video for the classic Lesley Gore song “You Don’t Own Me” because it is just so cool and is a perfect addition to this movie.

The story of the younger woman and the older man has been told time and again throughout history. But we rarely hear of the older woman who was with the man during their youth and has recently been shoved aside for a younger and prettier model. It is even rarer for that woman to become powerful in her own right and stand on her own two feet.

In Then She Found Me (2007) April Epner (Helen Hunt) is not having an easy life. Her husband (Matthew Broderick) has just left her as soon as she finds out that they are expecting. Her adopted mother Trudy (Lynn Cohen), is disappointed that April has not achieved more in life. Add in a flirtation with Frank (Colin Firth), who is the father of one of April’s students and Bernice (Bette Midler), the birth mother that suddenly returns to her life.

What I like about this movie that it feels real. The reality is that sometimes the floor falls down on us and everything comes down with the floor.  April’s journey is inspiring and a case of art imitating life.

I recommend both.

 

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