Tag Archives: Sally Hawkins

Maudie Film Review

Life is messy. So is romance. Some movies portray both with a sentimental view or via rose-colored glasses.

The new film, Maudie, portrays the real life mess of both. Based on the life of artist Maud Lewis, the film starts in 1930’s Nova Scotia. Maud (Sally Hawkins) has lived with juvenile arthritis her entire life. Needing to escape the emotional confines of her family, she takes a job as a housekeeper for Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke). A gruff loner, Everett is expects things a certain way. Maud surprises him with her art, her outlook on life and her tenacity. Their marriage is something of a surprise, but somehow, they stay married until Maud’s death in 1970.

This movie is nothing short of a revelation. Directed by Aisling Walsh, the film could have been taken in the direction of sentimental mush with the predictable messages of love conquering all and dreams can come true. But thankfully, the film is not sentimental mush with the predictable messages. It’s a movie about how hard life is and how hard relationships are. Everett is an a**hole at points in the film. He is not the romantic hero by any stretch of the imagination. Neither is Maud the predictable romantic heroine. That was one of the things about the film that struck me, neither the narrative or the lead characters are what the audience would expect for a film that is essentially a romantic drama. That quality alone makes the film stand out for me.

I absolutely recommend it.

Maudie is presently in theaters.

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Favorite Austen Letter

*-Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. If you are in the middle of reading either book and you have found my post, the story will be spoiled.

Letter writing seems to be a dying form.

Technology allows us to receive information in an instant. But letter writing in it’s older forms, creates a sense of excitement when receiving a letter.

In Jane Austen’s time, letter writing was both an art and a basic form of written communication.

Her novels are full of letters.

But there are two letters that are crucial to the plots of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.

The plot of Pride and Prejudice revolves around the unlikely courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

The crucial letter in Pride and Prejudice is exactly in the middle of the book and is a turning point in the story. Elizabeth Bennet has just turned down the very unexpected marriage proposal from Fitzwilliam Darcy.  Up until that point she has only spent time with him in limited social situations and finds him to be, well, a snob. The letter changes everything.

I’m going to let Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen take it from there.

The lead couple in Persuasion is Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. Eight years before the novel starts, they were briefly engaged.  Anne broke off the engagement  at the recommendation of her godmother, Lady Russell. In the beginning of the novel, the relationship between Anne and Frederick is naturally strained.   It appears that the Captain is ready to marry Louisa Musgrove, the sister of Anne’s brother in law. Then Anne gets a letter that totally changes everything.

Enough with my words, I’m going to let Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones finish the story for you.

Being that I cannot choose which letter I prefer, I will let you decide.

 

 

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Made In Dagenham-A Movie For All Women

Change is not easy, whether it is on a personal level or on an overall society level. It  takes courage and conviction to fight for what you believe in, even when your told that your wrong.

The 2010 movie, Made In Dagenham, is based up on the 1968 strike at  Ford Motor Company Dagenham plant in London. The strikers were the female workers, whose pay was about to the downgraded. Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins) is the reluctant leader and voice of the strikers. Albert Passingham (the late Bob Hoskins) is her adviser. Her husband Eddie (Daniel Mays) tries to be supportive, but when Rita’s personal life is put aside for the strike, her marriage appears to be on shaky ground.

I thoroughly enjoy this movie. Rita is not a politician nor she does not have any ulterior motives. She just wants to earn the same salary that her male colleagues earn so she can raise her children and pay her bills. It’s not such a hard concept to understand. I’ve been a fan of Sally Hawkins for a few years , she is incredibly talented as a performer. The supporting cast is perfect.

What I love about this movie is that it shows how far we have come and how far we need to go.  After the strike was over, the Equal Pay Act of 1970 was made into a law. The last time I checked, American women are still being paid less then their male colleagues, even if their education and professional experience goes beyond that of said male colleagues.

I recommend this movie.

It is being made into a musical. I’m not a fan of taking an existing book or movie and making it into a musical.  On one hand, it is a known quantity with a fan base that will hopefully bring in theatergoers. But on the other hand, new writers with new stories may not have the change to see their work on stage. But I love this movie and I would very curious as to how it is translated from film to stage.

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Persuasion 1995 Vs. Persuasion 2007

Persuasion is Jane Austen’s final novel, published posthumously with Northanger Abbey.  It is her most mature novel. There is sadness and a sweetness to the novel. The question of what if pervades the novel. What if we had a second chance at true love? What if the love of your life, the one that got away, came back? Do you take the chance at happiness or do you let it slip through your fingers once more?

As I have done with the comparisons of Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice, I will be comparing the 1995 Persuasion and 2007 Persuasion.

1995 Persuasion

Cast: Anne Elliot (Amanda Root), Captain Frederick Wentworth (Ciaran Hinds), Sir Walter Elliot (Corin Redgrave)

  • Pro’s: This adaptation is beautiful and spot on to the text of the novel. Every actor is perfect for his or her part.  Redgrave as Sir Walter is Austen’s metro sexual, is cringe worthy as Anne’s only surviving parent. Root, as Anne is brilliant. Shy and retiring at first, but slowly coming into her own and learning to trust her instincts. Hinds, as Captain Wenworth, is stubborn and angry, but slowly looses his anger and starts to remember why he and Anne fell in love in the first place.
  • Cons: None.

2007 Persuasion 

Cast: Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins), Captain Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones), Sir Walter Elliot (Anthony Stewart Head)

  • Pro’s: Hawkins and Penry Jones were well cast in their parts and age appropriate. Stewart Head (Giles to my fellow Buffy The Vampire Slayer Fans) is as cringe worthy as his predecessor.
  • Cons: As with some adaptations, some aspects of the story line or some characters are edited or removed completely.  As much as I love the scene where Anne runs through Bath after receiving the letter, it would have not been appropriate for a well bred young lady to run as she did.

And the winner is…the 1995 Persuasion, but not by much.

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Blue Jasmine- Certainly Blue, But Interesting- A Blue Jasmine Review

Woody’s Allen latest film venture is Blue Jasmine, a film about a woman trying to rebuilt her life while living with her sister in San Fransisco.

Jasmine’s (Cate Blanchett) husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) appeared to be wealthy and spoiled his wife endlessly. That is until his less than legitimate business practices are revealed and Hal is arrested and put into jail, ending the life to which Jasmine was accustomed to living.

Jasmine’s only assistance comes in the form of her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), presently living in San Fransisco with her two sons. Sally is divorced from Augie (Andrew Dice Clay) and dating Chili (Bobby Cannavale), neither man has met Jasmine’s approval.

Jasmine’s potential re-emergence into her former life comes by way of Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), but she knows that her past may come back to haunt her.

While this is not my favorite Woody Allen film, its certainly an interesting one. Jasmine is a very complicated character living a very complicated life, Blanchett is the perfect actress for this part. This movie is almost feels like Streetcar Named Desire, with a main character who has a complicated past while conflicting with her present and the only family members that will take her in. Hawkins, as Ginger, with her ex husband and boyfriend makes for an interesting dichotomy between the two sisters. Sarsgaard as Dwight, comes in late into the film, but gives the audience a glimmer of hope that Jasmine will be able to return to her previous life.

It’s a little long, but its an enjoyable movie, which I think will generate nominations come award season.

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