Tag Archives: Once Upon A Time

Belfast Movie Review

In theory, childhood should be a time of innocence, fun, and protection from the grey areas that we experience as adults. But as much as our parents and grandparents would like to shield us from the wider world, it will still find its way in.

The new movie, Belfast, takes place in a working-class neighborhood in the Northern Ireland city of Belfast in 1969. Shot in black and white, the film opens on an ordinary afternoon. Children are playing while adults do their errands and go about their business. When a Protestant mob takes over the street and starts destroying the homes and property of Catholic residents, the life of a young man named Buddy (Jude Hill) is forever changed. His father (Jamie Dornan) works in England in construction and comes home on weekends. His mother (Caitriona Balfe) is doing the best she can to raise Buddy and his older brother Will (Lewis McAskie) on a limited income. When Buddy is not at home or at school, he is in the company of his grandfather (Ciaran Hinds) and his grandmother (Dame Judi Dench).

With the political and religious tension ratcheting up, the family has to make a choice. Do they stay and find a way to live as normally as possible? Or do they take a chance elsewhere?

Written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, the praise is well deserved. Hill’s performance is equally innocent and charming. When we talk about war and prejudice, it is often seen through the eyes of one who is no longer a child. But when it is seen through the eyes of a young person, the perspective is completely different. There is still hope, even when it is tinged by fear or anxiety.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Belfast is presently in theaters.

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Movies, Once Upon A Time

Happy 10th Birthday, Once Upon a Time

Fairy tales are part of our childhood. Stories of heroes and villains, princes and princesses, witches, wizards, dragons, etc. fill our young minds with images of faraway places where magic, true love, and happily ever after are the norm.

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Once Upon a Time. The show starts as many narratives of this ilk start. Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) is racing to awaken his beloved, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) from the sleeping curse placed upon by The Evil Queen (Lana Parilla). As with the traditional tale of Snow White, she is awaked by true love’s kiss. It appears that their life together will be long and happy. But the Queen is not done with her stepdaughter. She places an ever greater curse on the land, taking away their memories and tearing loved ones apart.

But there is a light in the darkness. A savior will arise, break the spell and give the Queen what is coming to her.

The beauty of this series is that it took the basic characters that we have come to expect and flipped them on their heads. Everyone within this world is human, and complicated. The female characters are empowered, capable, and not even close to their damsel-in-distress predecessors. The baddies are not just evil for evils sake. They have made choices, for better or for worse, that have led them to become considered evil by others. The stories we think we know have new layers, jagged edges, and twists created seven seasons of some of the best television I have ever seen.

Happy 10th birthday, Once Upon a Time!

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Feminism, Once Upon A Time, Television

Ordinary Joe Review

When we graduate college, it is both the end of one experience and the beginning of another experience.

The new NBC series, Ordinary Joe, explores this question. Joe Kimbreau (James Wolk) has just received his BA in 2011. There are three literal and physical life paths before him. The narrative then flashes forward to 2021. Fate had led him down three different life choices. In the first, he is a rock star. In the second, he is a nurse, In the third, he is a police officer. Supporting him is his childhood best friend Charlie (Eric Payne), his college bff/secret love interest Jenny, (Elizabeth Lail) and new crush Amy (Natalie Martinez). Each narrative swirls and gets tangled up in one another until they momentarily mingle, coming together to ask the question of which life he will live.

I really like the series so far. The premise is unique and the format does not feel convoluted or complicated. One thing that I noticed was each scenario has its own color scheme and the representation of where the program could go with three physical paths seen on campus early in the first episode.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Ordinary Joe airs on NBC on Monday night at 10PM.

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Filed under Once Upon A Time, Television, TV Review

Throwback Thursday: Desperate Romantics (2009)

Art is forever changing. For every artist that creates work based on the standard of the era, there are other artists who are willing to take risks and try something new.

Desperate Romantics was a television miniseries that aired back in 2009. Starring Aidan Turner (Poldark), Amy Manson (Once Upon a Time), and Rafe Spall (Wide Sargasso Sea, a prequel to Jane Eyre), the program tells the story of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Set in Victorian era England, the viewers follow the story of four artists who set out to create a new way of seeing the world through painting.

When I originally heard about this series, it seemed to be right up my alley. It had all of the elements of a BPD (British Period Drama) that usually grab me as a viewer pretty quickly.

But, I am sorry to say that I couldn’t get into the series. There was something about it that just didn’t click.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Filed under Books, Charlotte Bronte, History, Jane Eyre, Once Upon A Time, Poldark, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

I Love My Red Hair

When you’re a kid, you want to fit in. The last thing you want is to stick out like a sore thumb. When you’re a redhead, you stick out whether you like it or not.

Though I am proud of my red hair now, there were many times as a kid that I wished that my hair was another color. It took many years and a lot of work, but at nearly 40, I have come to love my hair.

Today is National Redhead Day. Thanks to this day, How to be a Redhead and three of the characters below (which is a short version of a very long list), I appreciate my hair in ways that I did not in the past.

Zelena-Once Upon a Time (Rebecca Mader)

Zelena is a redheaded badass because she knows what she wants and she goes after it. Though she may not (at least in the beginning) care that she is hurting others, it is her confidence and her one-liners that makes me proud to be a redhead.

MeraAquaman (Amber Heard)

Mera is a queen in every sense of the word. But instead of being the standard female royal who waits for things to happen (i.e. rescued from the big bad), Mera takes charge of her own life. She is also unafraid to stand up for what is right, even if that means going into battle.

Demelza PoldarkPoldark (Eleanor Tomlinson)

It takes a strong woman to be true to herself in an era when a woman is supposed to be meek, mild and subservient to her husband. Demelza Poldark (nee Carne) may have been born a miner’s daughter, but she has not forgotten who she is. Though she is a member of the upper class through her marriage, Demelza is still a tough as nails working-class girl who is intelligent and more than capable of standing on her own two feet.

I am going to end this post with a quote for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. It’s time to not care what others think and embrace who we are.

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”-Dr. Seuss

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Filed under Mental Health, Movies, Once Upon A Time, Poldark, Television

Pardon Me, My Depression Has Spoken For me

There are some illnesses that are obvious via physical symptoms. The various forms of mental illness are very often referred to as invisible illness because symptoms are not always obvious to the naked eye.

I have lived with depression for years. It often speaks for me when I cannot. The problem is that when it speaks for me, it does not speak the truth.

Courtesy of fanpop.

It speaks of my anxieties, my insecurities. It reveals that in spite of all I have worked for and achieved, I am still worth nothing. The people in my life are lying to me. I am worth nothing and the only place I should be is the grave.

If we have a conversation and my depression decides to speak for me, please pardon me. It is not me who is speaking, but one who has taken over my tongue and my thoughts. It is my depression.

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Filed under Beauty and the Beast, Mental Health, Music, Once Upon A Time

As With All Good Things, Once Upon A Time Must End

Today, it was announced that this season will be the last for Once Upon A Time.

I have two gut reactions to this announcement. Logically, I know that seven years of being on television is pretty good. Many shows don’t make it past the first season, much less seven seasons. It has had a good run. Perhaps in fifteen or twenty years there will be a nostalgia for the show and it will be brought back just as many of popular television shows from the late 1990’s/early 2000’s are successfully being rebooted for today’s audience.

My other reaction is sadness, to be honest. The genius of this program is to take the very basic fairy tale characters/narratives and twist them into characters/narratives that the audience has not seen before. When it premiered in 2011, it was different, exciting and felt new and old at the same time. I’ve been a fan since the pilot and have not missed an episode.

We have until the end of the season to say goodbye. I have a feeling there will be quite a few tears shed before, during and after the series finale.

To ease my tears and yours, I give you the last minute of the end of last season. It never fails to bring a smile to my face.

 

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Once Upon A Time, Television

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Emma Swan

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Every story starts with a hero/ protagonist. In Once Upon A Time, that hero is Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison). At the beginning of the series, Emma has been on her own for as long as she can remember. Orphaned at a young age, she works as a bail bonds woman. On her 28th birthday, there is a knock on her door.

Opening the door, she finds a young man on the other side. His name is Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore) and he tells Emma that he is the baby she gave up for adoption ten years before. Henry also tells Emma that the book of fairy tales in his bag are not works of fiction, but true stories. Emma is not an orphan, but the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). Her parents and the rest of the citizens of Storybrooke are cursed by The Evil Queen (Lana Parilla), they do not know that they are fairy tale characters. It is up to Emma to break the curse and restore their memories.

When the audience meets Emma, she is smart and independent but also very cynical around the world around her. She reluctantly takes Henry home, expecting to immediately turn around and return to her life as if nothing has happened. Emma does not know that she is about to go on a hero’s journey that will forever change the course of her life.

To sum it up: The hero and their hero’s journey is the core of any story. When a writer has done their job, the reader or the audience member is easily able to go along with the hero on their journey. Emma Swan is the perfect hero because not only does she go on a hero’s journey that no one would have ever predicted, but also she comes into the world of Storybrooke as an outsider and leaves as the Savior.

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Filed under Character Review, Fairy Tales, Feminism, Once Upon A Time, Television

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Captain Hook

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the classic story of Peter Pan, Captain Hook is the antithesis of the youthful hero. Hook, a pirate by trade, would like nothing more than to finally defeat Peter Pan once and for all. An older man who wears a long dark wig, Hook is the stand in for being a certain age.

Once Upon A Time decided to change-up the character. Instead of the old man wearing the wig, Captain Hook, aka Killian Jones (Colin O’Donoghue) is a rock and roll version of the character. Wearing leather and still sporting the  traditional metal hook, Hook’s initial enemy is not Peter Pan, but Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle).  Hook’s other half at the time is Milah (Rachel Shelley), Rumple’s estranged wife.

Though Hook starts off as a villain, he becomes a hero and the significant other of Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison). Emma is initially skeptical of Hook, his charm and smooth talk are not exactly turns ons in the beginning. But underneath that charm and smooth talk is a man who has conviction, heart and fights for who and what is important to him.

To sum it up: Taking a classic character and rewriting them while keeping the known characteristics is like walking a fine line. On one hand, the writer is tasked with the very difficult job of not simply copying what has been done before. But on the other hand, find a way to combine the new version of the character with the characteristics and narrative that the audience has come to know and love or hate is an equally difficult task.

When it comes to OUAT’s version of Captain Hook, the writers found a way to balance what was known about Captain Hook with a new narrative and new character arc. A  good writer knows which characteristics, narrative elements and character arc fits their version of their character while declining to use other elements that don’t fit in with their story. It’s a challenge that many a writer has faced, but if it is done properly, the writer is able to blend the old with the new and create a character that both fits in with the older image while creating a brand new image of the character.

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Filed under Character Review, Once Upon A Time, Television

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Henry Mills

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

At the center of every fairy tale is hope and a belief that things will work out for the best. Without either of those elements, a fairy tale is simply not a fairy tale. In Once Upon A Time, hope and belief is personified in the character of Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore). Henry is the natural son of Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), the adopted son of Regina Mills (Lana Parilla) and the center of a very complicated family tree.

It is Henry who finds Emma at the beginning of the first season and convinces her to come with him to Storybrooke.  Throughout the course of the first six seasons, Henry holds onto his beliefs, even when it appears that hope is dead and happy endings only occur in books.

To sum it up:  We all need hope in our lives. Hope is the one thing that pulls us through when nothing else can. The world can be a very dark place. When we are writing our stories and sculpting both the narrative and the character arcs, hope is an important element of the foundation of the hero’s journey. Hope helps the hero through their toughest task, as it does in real life when we feel like the obstacles are insurmountable.

One of the wisest women I know of, Jane Austen, wrote about hope in the following manner in Sense and Sensibility:

Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience-or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.

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Filed under Books, Character Review, Fairy Tales, Jane Austen, Once Upon A Time, Sense and Sensibility, Television