It takes a creative mind to take an old story and retell in a new and different way.
Quentin Tarantino‘s new movie, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, has just hit theaters. Set in Los Angeles in the late 1960’s, Rick Dalton’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) career was once red hot. But that limelight has faded. His best friend/assistant/former stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is always by his side. While Rick and Cliff try to revive their careers, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is Hollywood’s latest it-girl. But there is danger lurking behind the bright lights and glittering facade. The Manson family is out to commit murder.
This is not the first time that Tarantino has played fast and loose with history. His 2009 film, Inglorious Basterdsalso played fast and loose with history. What I liked about this movie is that both Rick and Cliff are flawed and likable characters. They just want to return to the success they once had. As Sharon Tate, Margot Robbie tells the story of the real life woman, not the murder victim that we think of today.
If I had to name my favorite aspect of this film, it was the chilling effect of the scenes with the Manson family. Though we know now what plans they had in store, the general public knew nothing about the murders until it was headline news.
I recommend it.
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is presently in theaters.
Seeing a woman in the halls of power is relatively new in the course of human history. At best, in the past, women have been help-meets, wives and servants. At worst, they are disposable to relegated the background of history.
The new movie, Mary Queen of Scots (based on the book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy) takes place in the 16th century, when two women ruled England and Scotland concurrently. Elizabeth I of England (Margot Robbie) has successfully ruled England without questions of her legitimacy to the throne. The only issue that she is without a husband and a child. Her cousin, Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) has recently taken her place as Queen of Scotland after the passing of her first husband. She knows that she has to marry and bring a male heir into the world, but she is not willing to marry for the sake of politics.
Both Mary and Elizabeth wish for peace between their kingdoms, but the men who council both Queens are not content to bow before women, nor are they willing to let two women maintain a political friendship. Around them, the seeds of discord are being sewn. Will Mary and Elizabeth rule their respective countries in peace or will the interference of the men around them result in upheaval and violence?
It takes a certain kind of BPD (British Period Drama) to appeal to a wide range of audience members. While Mary Queen Of Scots falls squarely within the BPD genre, it has a specific message that appeals to a certain kind of audience member. While I very much appreciate the timely message of women in power and how we react/treat them, this film is a bit on the heavy side when it comes to the narrative.
*Warning: this review contains minor spoilers. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the film.
Winnie The Pooh is one of those childhood books that we all cherish. Written by A.A. Milne in the 1920’s, the world of Winnie The Pooh and the characters who inhabit that world have lasted generations.
The new movie, Goodbye Christopher Robin, is not only the story of how Mr. Milne came to the idea of Winnie The Pooh, but also the eventual toll it took on his son, Christopher Robin Milne. Domhnall Gleason plays A.A. Milne and Margot Robbie plays his wife, Daphne. Their son is played by Will Tiltson at age 8 and Alex Lawther at age 18. Kelly Macdonald plays Olive, the nanny who is like a second mother to Christopher Robin.
While the narrative went a little overboard on the drama at certain points, I really enjoyed the film. I enjoyed it because the characters were alive, flawed and thoroughly human. The marriage between Mr. and Mrs. Milne was not all sunshine and roses and Christopher Robin, known to his family as Billy Moon, did not escape the fame came with his father’s success unscathed. I also appreciated that the filmmakers focused on the PTSD that affected Mr. Milne after he returned from World War I. It added another layer of humanity to the character and the narrative.
I recommend it.
Goodbye Christopher Robin is presently in theaters.