Flashback Friday: Defiance (2008)

During World War II, it is easy to assume that the millions of people whom the Nazis murdered went quietly to their deaths. While some may have just gone along with the occupiers, hoping they would survive, others took their lives and fates into their own hands.

The 2008 movie, Defiance, is the story of the Bielski Partisans. When their parents and youngest brother, along with the other Jewish residents of Novogrudok are rounded up and massacred, the surviving Bielski brothers know that the only option is to hide. Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber), Asael (Jamie Bell), and Aron (George McKay) flee into the forest. What starts out as a small group of partisans grows into thousands, many of whom are unable to fight. Knowing that they could be found at any moment, the only option they have is to fight for their surivival.

I loved this film. I was glued to the screen. My heart did not stop pounding until the end credits rolled. By the end of the movie, I was both heartbroken and cheering. My heart broke for those who were killed just for being who they were. I was cheering for those who stood up for themselves and lived, knowing that the inspiration they created will last for generations.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Rocketman Movie Review

A good biopic more than tells the story of the film’s subject. It reveals their humanity.

The new film Rocketman tells story of legendary musician Elton John (Taron Egerton).

Born Reggie Dwight in 1947, his early years were not exactly sunshine and roses. His parents, Sheila (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Stanley (Steven Mackintosh) don’t have an easy relationship. The ruptures in their marriage extend to the relationship with their son. Stanley is cold and demanding. Sheila is slightly more maternal, but I wouldn’t describe her as the ideal mother. The only person who genuinely loves and supports the future rock star is his grandmother Ivy (Gemma Jones).

As a young man, Reggie starts to build a career as a musician. That career becomes a reality when he meets Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell). But as often happens, success gets to Elton’s head. While his career thrives, so does his relationship with John Reid (Richard Madden). Adding to all of this is his growing addiction to alcohol and drugs.

This movie is interesting, especially in the sub-genre of music biopics. The narrative can be described as musical-like, with the songs driving the narrative. Instead of lip syncing to pre-recorded songs sung by the real life Elton John, Egerton does his own singing and is surprisingly good.

What strikes me is that the narrative underneath the music is the story of a man who is fighting lifelong demons of mental health and self esteem. His story, regardless of one’s sexuality, is a reminder that one can overcome one’s demons and live a full life.

I recommend it.

Rocketman is presently in theaters.

%d bloggers like this: