IT WAS AT A FAMILY (NOT MINE) GATHERING where I first saw how people judge others based on the work they do. Maybe this happens more than I am aware of because the individuals I was in contact with were not so blatant about it. With this family, they had no problem showing their disapproval; I could see and hear it. We were mingling together in the living/dining area of my friend’s parents’ house. I knew the family well, so I was included on the guest list. My friend’s parents were throwing a graduation party for their youngest child. It was a casual affair where most of the food items were finger foods. Everyone my friend introduced me to was pleasant. I do not want this to come out as judgmental; but let me just say some of the guests were impeccably dressed. Everything seemed to be going smoothly as far as I could tell. At some point one of my friend’s sisters walked into the house with her boyfriend. They had only been dating a few months and this was I found out, the first time the family was meeting this new man. I thought all was going well until one of the relatives asked the boyfriend what he did for a living. When he told them he was an electrician, you could see everyone’s smiling veneer melt away. The tone of voice the relatives were now using were filled with disdain; I was stunned. WHAT WAS THE MATTER WITH BEING an electrician, I wondered? You would have thought the boyfriend said he was a mass murderer; it was the oddest thing to see. As if on cue, the relatives nearby him slowly moved further away. I swear it looked as if the relatives had just come upon a grizzly bear in the forest and were quietly and slowly backing away, so as not to disturb it. I was not the only one to have witnessed this; my friend saw what was going on and decided to, at that moment, introduce me to the sister and boyfriend. He was a nice guy as far as I could tell, and it seemed as if he had a good sense of humor. Personally, I never care who my friends and family are dating; all that matters to me is that the person is good to them and loves them. Whether they are a stock trader, a sanitation worker or a zookeeper; none of that matters to me. If my friend or relative loves them and feels good about it, then I will support them always. I think that is one of the reasons I found it challenging to connect to the characters in this dramatic, comedy satire. BORN INTO WEALTH AND BELIEVING SHE was better than most Emma Woodhouse, played by Anya Taylor-Joy (Morgan, The Witch), felt she could not find her equal in love. At least, not in her small town. With Johnny Flynn (Clouds of Sils Maria, Beast) as George Knightley, Bill Nighy (Sometimes Always Never, About Time) as Mr. Woodhouse, Mia Goth (A Cure for Wellness, Everest) as Harriet Smith and Myra McFadyen (Mamma Mia! franchise, Rob Roy) as Mrs. Bates; this movie based on Jane Austen’s novel was hard for me to get into in the beginning. The costumes and scenery were immaculate which helped me pass the time. I also thought Bill Nighy was perfect in his role. Set in England during the 1800’s, it was not until the 2ndhalf of the film where I felt things were better connected. My guess is fans of Jane Austen will enjoy this picture immensely. I on the other hand felt it really had nowhere to go; it was somewhat predictable. And for some reason, I could not connect at all with the main actress’ character; what a surprise based on what I mentioned earlier in this review.
2 ½ stars
THERE WAS ONLY ONE WAY TO describe him and that would be surly. You hear that word and imagine it refers to some gruff, mean-spirited man. I know it could also be a woman but I mostly have heard males being described this way. In any case, who I am referring to is a little boy. I know what you are thinking; how could a young child act like this already? Well I really do not have an answer for you. The only thing I could come up with is the child has a defiant personality. You may be familiar with such a child; whatever you ask or tell them they always will do the opposite. The boy I described earlier was such a child. No matter what you wanted him to do he would always do the opposite. If you asked him to tie his shoe, he would say no. If you asked him to smile for a photo, he would look away or stare blankly at the camera. It was quite annoying to say the least. At some point the child’s parents started saying the opposite thing they wanted to happen, so the boy would essentially do want they originally wanted him to do. I agree it was a bit twisted. SO YOU SEE THIS IS WHY I said there has to be some type of defiant issue a/k/a child/parent dynamics. Now I was not privy to the details about what took place behind closed doors; but I had to assume there had to be in some form an issue of dominance. Speaking about my childhood years, predominantly the teenage years, I kept my hair long for years just because I was constantly being told to cut my hair. I liked my hair but the reason being used for me to cut my hair was that it would look better; better for who I would reply. Maybe everyone goes through a stage growing up where they want to start to exert some independence. I totally understand it; but at some point, when do these remarks or should I say suggestions begin to be a power struggle? Can you imagine being told at say 30 years of age to wear your hair differently or change your makeup because the person would prefer you do it that way? I feel it is a test of dominance and if you want to see what I mean, then get ready to watch it in action in this film festival nominated drama. LIVING AT HOME AND FEELING like she was being taken for granted laid the groundwork for Moll, played by Jessie Buckley (War & Peace-TV mini-series, Rosamund Pilcher’s Shades of Love-TV series), to quickly become enamored with the recent stranger who came to town, who the citizens thought was a murderer. With Johnny Flynn (Clouds of Sils Maria, Crusade of Jeans) as Pascal Renouf, Geraldine James (Sherlock Holmes franchise, Calendar Girls) as Hilary Huntington, Trystan Gravelle (Anonymous, One Chance) as Clifford and Shannon Tarbet (A Promise, Virtuoso-TV movie) as Polly; the story took a little time to sink in with me. I will say I thought the acting was excellent in an intense way. Jessie and Geraldine really stood out for me. The story was this twisted suspense that drew me in by its uneasy feeling script. There were unexpected twists in the story that just made me enjoy this movie more. I also thought the writer did an excellent job of creating an atmosphere of doubt; both in the characters and viewers. One would be hard pressed not to place themselves in such a situation. This really was a fresh, thrill ride of a picture that was worth watching even if someone told you not to go see it.
Some people learn about someone from looking through their medicine cabinet. Who knows, you may discover they suffer from acid reflux, wear contact lenses or have sensitive teeth. Now I will admit if the door to the medicine cabinet is ajar, I will peek at what is visible without touching anything; so there will not be any fingerprints. So yes, I may know what type of hair shampoo a person likes or they are on an antibiotic; however, this does not reveal a true picture about the individual. If you really want to get to know someone, take a look at their music library. Based on the type of music they listen to can tell you a variety of things, such as they are an old-fashioned romantic or they must have had a relationship that had a bad breakup. I know if someone were to go through my music they would figure out I like to move because of the abundance of dance music in my library. Another aspect of music is its healing properties. How many of us have played a particular song over and over to heal a sad, heavy heart? Music has a way of providing us many gifts. AFTER a horrific accident Franny, played by Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises, Bride Wars), flew home after being away for several years, to be there for her brother Henry, played by Ben Rosenfield (A Most Violent Year, Boardwalk Empire-TV), and her estranged mother Karen, played by Mary Steenburgen (Last Vegas, The Help). Listening to her brother’s music, Franny sought out her brother’s favorite places to listen to his favorite artists so she could get to know him. This film festival nominee had a gentle story despite its tragic event. Anne was well suited for the role and I enjoyed her performance as I did Mary and Johnny Flynn (Something in the Air, Lotus Eaters) as James Forester. The music score was full of indie folk songs; at least that is how I would describe them. They were sweet but nothing memorable. The idea for this drama was admirable; I thought it was an interesting take on a familiar theme. The issue I had with this movie was it did not go far enough to be unique. There were times I felt I had already seen parts of it before. In addition, it was pretty easy to figure out how the story would play out. Despite these shortcomings I did not mind sitting through this drama; granted the main attraction for me was the music. On a final note, this film may have hit a few sour notes but it did prove again the power of music.
1 3/4 stars