Curses are a funny thing. What we think of as curses can often be blessing in disguises.
In Penelope (2006), the title character, played by Christina Ricci was born into a wealthy family. But money, as the Beatles said, cannot buy me love.
Penelope is cursed. As with all fairy tales, the curse is only broken by true love. Penelope’s parents (Catherine O’Hara & Richard E. Grant) invite several young men to their isolated estate to break the curse, but the curse still holds. A tabloid editor, Lemon (Peter Dinklage) sends a down on his luck gambler, Max (James McAvoy) to find out the secret for Penelope’s disappearance from the world. But Max’s job becomes difficult when he realizes that his feelings for Penelope have become real.
What I like about this movie is that is more than the standard fairy tale with the standard happy ending. There is an aspect of self love and appreciating yourself before anyone else can. The message of self esteem and self worth is an important one, regardless of who we are or what we believe.
I recommend it.
Ian McEwan’s 2003 novel, Atonement, opens with the following quote from Northanger Abbey:
“If I understand you rightly, you had formed a surmise of such horror as I have hardly words to—Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from? Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable, your own observation of what is passing around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open? Dearest Miss Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?”
In the summer of 1935, 13 year old Briony Tallis is a budding writer with a vivid imagination. A vivid imagination that works for her writing, but does not work in real life. She witnesses an act between her elder sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant who was also childhood friends with Cecilia. Not understanding what has transpired between Cecilia and Robbie, she accuses him of rape.
Flashing forward to World War II, Briony is now a young woman. She has begun to comprehend the mistake of accusing Robbie of rape and the effect it has on everyone around her. A third flash forward reveals Briony as an older woman, using her literary gifts to give Cecilia and Robbie the life that she stole from them.
In 2007, this book was turned into a movie with Saoirse Ronan as Briony at age 13, Romola Garai as Briony at age 18 and Vanessa Redgrave as the elderly Briony. Keira Knightley and James McAvoy played the separated lovers, Cecilia and Robbie.
I recommend both the book and the movie. The book is well written. The movie keeps close to the plot of the book and has a very nice cast.
There are often two sides to any story. There are also two perspectives in life, one of youth and one of maturity.
Jane Austen is a remarkable author. Her books are still read and performed 200 years later. Despite all that we know about her life, there is still a myth about the woman and her writing.
In 2007, Becoming Jane introduced movie goers to a young, pre publishing and pre-fame Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway). She hopes to write for a living, but knows that the only way to support herself and her family is to marry. She is approached with a marriage proposal by Mr. Wisley (Laurence Fox), the nephew of Lady Gresham (Dame Maggie Smith). But she is attracted to Tom LeFroy (James McAvoy).
This movie is decent. Having no conclusive evidence that there was a romance between Jane Austen and Tom LeFroy, the writers relied on what is known of her life, combined with a little fictionalized romance based upon her books. It’s always interesting to see the young writer living their life and developing the idea(s) that will one day become their stories.
A year later, Miss Austen Regrets premiered. Approaching her 40th birthday Jane Austen (Olivia Williams) is visited her brother, Edward Austen Knight (Pip Torrens). His oldest daughter, Fanny Knight (Imogen Poots) is of a marriageable age and has been in the company of John Plumptre (Tom Hiddleston). She is looking to her aunt for guidance in regards to the potential marriage to Mr. Plumptre. At the same time, she is getting sick while an old suitor Rev Brook Bridges (Hugh Bonneville) returns to her life.
We don’t know much about Jane’s personal life. Her sister Cassandra burned many of her sister’s letters after her passing. This TV movie shows us the older Jane. Still in the prime of her life and churning out stories, but as we all know, she died far too soon at the age of 41. I recommend this movie.