One of the beauties of a literary classic is that we can come back to it time and again and still find something new within its pages.
Last week, the latest adaptation of Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, premiered on Hulu/F/X. Pip (Fionn Whitehead) is a young man from a lower-class family. Living with his sister and brother-in-law, he is invited to be a companion of sorts to Estella (Shalome Brune-Franklin). Estella is the adopted daughter of Miss Havisham (Olivia Coleman), a wealthy recluse. When Pip receives a financial windfall from an unknown benefactor, the doors to the higher classes open for him.
Coleman was born to play this role. She is both compelling and repellant (if that is possible). As the viewer, I could feel and smell the decades-long grief and anger that she clings to like a liferaft. Whitehead’s Pip starts off as a boy who is curious, intelligent, and eager to spread his wings beyond what is expected of him. I feel for Brune-Franklin’s Estella. She is more than a sharp tongue, a quick-witted young woman who she initially appears to be. Like all of us, she wants to please her mother, but at what cost to herself?
It’s been decades since I read this book. I love the color-blind casting and the opportunity to look at text with fresh eyes. Since watching the first two episodes, I have a new appreciation for Great Expectations and its timeless coming-of-age narrative.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The first three episodes of Great Expectations are available for watching on Hulu. The nextepisode will be released on Sunday, March 9th.
This season is amazing. Among the main cast, Staunton and Debicki are the standouts. Staunton perfectly follows in the footsteps of her predecessors, Claire Foy and Olivia Coleman. Debicki’s performance as Diana is award-worthy. If I close my eyes and just listen to her, I almost expect that it is the real person, not an actor playing a part.
The only thing that we have to remember is that this is not a documentary. The show is fiction. Some of what we are watching has been made up and not based on actual events.
When we go to the zoo, we only see the animals for a short time. Therefore the narrative we learn is different than the keepers, whose job it is to take care of the zoo’s inhabitants.
The Secret Life of the Zoo has aired on Animal Planet since 2016. Filmed at the Chester Zoo in England, the series was initially narrated by Olivia Coleman, who was then replaced by Tamsin Greig. The viewer is given a glimpse into the lives and actions of the animals when they are not in front of the public. On top of that, the employees give their perspective of what their working lives are like when they are tending to their charges.
I don’t watch this show often, but when I do, I find it to be interesting. I like going beyond the five or ten minutes that you usually spend with each animal or species. For me at least, I can appreciate and understand the work it takes for something that zoo visitor doesn’t normally consider.
In addition to the internal family drama, there is political and economic upheaval beyond the walls of Buckingham Palace.
I binge watched a good chunk of the new season last night. It is nothing short of fantastic. I loved the new additions to the cast. Corrin brings a humanity to her role and adds to the mystique of the real woman behind the character.
If there is one actor among the main players who deserves an award for her work, it is Gillian Anderson. I am the first to admit that my knowledge of Thatcher’s work as Prime Minister is limited. But I know enough to know that then and now, she is a polarizing figure. As the character, Anderson plays a ball busting, glass ceiling shattering woman who is as formidable as the Queen.
The thing I really enjoyed so far is the complete 180 of how Charles is viewed. Last season, he was a young man trying to out who he was as a human being while dealing with burden of responsibility placed upon his shoulders. This season, he still draws empathy, but not as much as did during season 3.
2018 has been an interesting year for movies. Below is my list of the top ten movies of 2018
Widows: Women in action movies are at best the romantic significant other and at worst, the damsel in distress. Widows flips the genre and the expected narrative on its head and tells the story of four women who take fate into their own hands after the deaths of their criminal husbands.
The Wife: Based on a book by Meg Wolitzer, Glenn Close plays a woman who questions her life choices as her husband reaches the peak of his career.
The Favourite: Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) may sit on the throne of England, but she is not the one who is really leading country. Two women in her court vie to be her favorite and to gain power that only comes from being close to Queen.
A Star Is Born: A Star Is Born is the 3rd reboot of a narrative that audiences have seen since the 1930’s. Unknown Ally (Lady Gaga) sees her career dreams turn into reality while her mentor/lover’s career flails due to addiction issues.
Crazy Rich Asians: Based on a book by Kevin Kwan, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) travels from New York City to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time. The visit is a bit more turbulent than Rachel expects.
Aquaman: Based on the comic book of the same name, Jason Mamoa plays Arthur Reed, a man who is born of two worlds and must choose where he belongs.
This will be my last post of 2018. Thank you so much for visiting and reading my blog, your support means the world. Wherever you are this New Years Eve, have a safe and happy one. I will see you in 2019.
Politics can sometimes be construed as a game of one upmanship.
The new movie, The Favourite takes place in England in the early 18th century. Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) is on the throne, but she is not the one who is running the country. Emotionally unstable and in bad health, she relies heavily on her friend, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), who unofficially rules in the Queen’s stead. Enter Abigail (Emma Stone), a cousin of Sarah’s whose family has fallen from their aristocratic roots. Abigail is looking for a job and soon climbs up the ladder as Sarah’s maid. As Sarah becomes more involved with the war with France, Abigail takes her place as the Queen’s emotional support system. Seeing that power is within her grasp, Abigail takes it and challenges anyone who would dare threaten her new-found power.
This movie is very interesting. The dirty game of politics is usually confined to men. But in this film, the women play dirty, pull no punches and do what they have to do to gain or stay in power. Couched in the language and imagery of a BPD (British Period Drama), but adding layers of politics, feminism and history, this film is a must see.
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