In 2018, we have much to be grateful for. That includes (for the most part), the open acceptance of those who are part of the LGBTQ community.
But it wasn’t so long ago that being gay not only considered to be immoral, it was also illegal.
The TV movie Man in an Orange Shirt is the story of two men fighting against their own inner nature to fit in with the rest of the world. In post World War II Britain, Michael (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and Thomas (James McArdle) are very much in love. But because they are two men, their love can never be publicly accepted. Michael marries Flora (Joanna Vanderham) and lives like any heterosexual married man. But Flora finds out about Thomas and her marriage is never the same.
Years later, a much older Flora (Vanessa Redgrave) is now a widow and living with her grandson, Adam (Julian Morris). On the surface, Adam appears to be ok. But he to is fighting his own sexuality and trying to shame himself via meaningless sexual encounters with strange men. Then Steve (David Gyasi) enters his life and Adam must not only face his demons, but learn to accept who he is. While her grandson is facing down his own demons, Flora is still dealing with decades old open emotional wounds that have not healed.
I think this is one of the more interesting and thought-provoking TV movies that I have seen in a long time. It’s addresses head on the pain that comes with hiding your true self, even if you live in a world that is tolerant of those who are different.
I recommend it.
Some might say that Romeo and Juliet is William Shakespeare’s most romantic play.
In the film, Letters to Juliet (2010) Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) wants to be a writer. On vacation in Verona, Italy with her boyfriend Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), Sophie discovers the “Secretaries Of Juliet”. These women have taken it upon themselves to read the thousands of letters that visitors leave to the fictional Juliet.
One of the letters stands out. When she was a young woman, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) briefly dated an Italian boy. While the relationship ended decades ago, Claire has not yet given up on the Italian boy she fell in love with. Roped into the journey of finding Claire’s teenage sweetheart is her reluctant grandson, Charlie (Christopher Egan).
I liked this movie. What this movie proves is that romantic love is not just the exclusive property of the young. It also proves that an older female performer has bring in an audience as much as her younger counterpart can. This movie is sweet and romantic without being too sappy or predictable.
I recommend it.
Ian McEwan’s 2003 novel, Atonement, opens with the following quote from Northanger Abbey:
“If I understand you rightly, you had formed a surmise of such horror as I have hardly words to—Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from? Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable, your own observation of what is passing around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open? Dearest Miss Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?”
In the summer of 1935, 13 year old Briony Tallis is a budding writer with a vivid imagination. A vivid imagination that works for her writing, but does not work in real life. She witnesses an act between her elder sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant who was also childhood friends with Cecilia. Not understanding what has transpired between Cecilia and Robbie, she accuses him of rape.
Flashing forward to World War II, Briony is now a young woman. She has begun to comprehend the mistake of accusing Robbie of rape and the effect it has on everyone around her. A third flash forward reveals Briony as an older woman, using her literary gifts to give Cecilia and Robbie the life that she stole from them.
In 2007, this book was turned into a movie with Saoirse Ronan as Briony at age 13, Romola Garai as Briony at age 18 and Vanessa Redgrave as the elderly Briony. Keira Knightley and James McAvoy played the separated lovers, Cecilia and Robbie.
I recommend both the book and the movie. The book is well written. The movie keeps close to the plot of the book and has a very nice cast.